The Mercedes GLC is essentially the C-Class executive saloon that’s morphed into an SUV. This premium SUV looks the part and brings the tech and driving appeal that families, commuters and professionals crave. It’s just at home parked outside a holiday chalet in the Swiss Alps as it is filled with bags at the supermarket.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC is available as a Coupé, with a raked roofline, or a regular SUV. Both have five doors, with the Coupé having the more purposeful stance. Both versions’ faces are dominated by a large, three-pointed Mercedes badge in the middle of a prominent grille, with one horizontal bar for AMG Line trim and two for Sport trim.
As with its Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 rivals, every GLC gets alloy wheels and chrome highlights as standard. Some versions come with an Off-Road pack that brings underbody protection and a higher ride height.
The GLC was facelifted in 2019 – the changes brought new tech and new engines, as well as revisions to the front and rear lights.
The GLC was facelifted in 2019 – the changes brought new tech and new engines.
What’s it like to drive?
The Mercedes GLC is refined and comfortable, and it won’t take the driver long to find a good position, thanks to electric seat adjustment found on most examples.
The GLC is not an out-and-out sports SUV (unless you opt for the GLC 43 or GLC 63), so you’ll experience a bit of body lean on country roads. If you want something that’s going to glide over poor road surfaces and not get upset by potholes, the GLC is the SUV for you.
All of the petrol and diesel engines send power to all four wheels via an automatic gearbox and they’re powerful enough, even when the family and its luggage is on-board.
If you want something that’s going to glide over poor road surfaces and not get upset by potholes, the GLC is the SUV for you.
The GLC shares much of its dashboard with the C-Class, which is a good thing. Analogue or digital dials sit in front of the driver, while there’s an entertainment touchscreen attached high up on the dashboard, tablet-style, which is also controlled via a touchpad between the front seats. The rest of the dash is nicely laid-out, with circular vents and a few switches – everything is very intuitive and there’s a good mixture of leather, metal and soft-touch plastics. Premium, in other words.
As standard, all GLCs come with a digital radio, climate control, auto lights and wipers, reversing camera, powered boot lid and tinted rear windows. Move up from SE (pre-facelift cars) to Sport trim and you get sat-nav, heated front seats and Park Assist, which steers the vehicle to get you into a space. AMG Line adds man-made leather and sports suspension. Air suspension is fitted to AMG Line Premium Plus Ultimate trim, for an even better ride.
The MBUX entertainment system has good sound quality as standard. Some cars have an upgraded system made by hi-fi specialists Burmester – and it’s very impressive indeed.
There’s plenty of space offer up front and in the back in both the regular SUV and Coupé. You might think that the latter’s sloping roof harms rear headroom - it doesn’t.
Like Mercedes’ larger SUVs, there’s room for your odds and sods in the GLC – the glovebox and cubby under the central armrest are large, the front and rear door bins are spacious and coffee fans can rest easy knowing their drinks are secure.
The rear seats slide to maximise leg or boot space, and with them in use you’ll be able to get a few suitcases, or at least a couple of kids’ buggies and some food shopping in there. Fold the seat backs down (they’re split 40:20:40) and all of your IKEA Billy bookcase dreams can come true. The Coupé’s boot is a little smaller than the SUV’s because it’s shallower, so if load-lugging capacity is important, opt for the larger GLC.
Running costs and reliability
The most popular diesel is also the most economical: the 220d averages up to 47.9mpg, according to the latest, more accurate WLTP measurements. Petrol engines are comparatively rare in used GLCs. Expect an average of 34.5mpg from the GLC 250 and an average of 24.1mpg for the GLC 63 S, which is the most powerful model in the range.
There are also petrol and diesel plug-in hybrid engines, which promise amazing economy if you can keep them topped up with electricity.
What we love
"We love the way the GLC looks, both inside and out. Mercedes seems to have got the balance just about right, which isn’t easy when you consider that SUVs are lofty things. Its C-Class-derived cabin looks the part and while it’s still not as good as an Audi Q5’s, it feels special – and should be able to stand up to the rigours of family life."
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The Mercedes GLC excels at providing a premium, comfortable ownership experience for those who want their SUV with a dash of luxury. Choose one of the diesel engines and running costs will be lower than you’d think, while everyone will be happy with the amount of equipment on offer in every version.
This review was