2017 Mercedes-benz GLC300 Christian Seabaugh
“The GLC300’S infotainment display is high-resolution and easy to read with just a glance while driving down the road.”
Like it or not, how we interact with a car nowadays is increasingly defined not just by the behind-thewheel experience but also by how we work with its electronic systems.
I really like our 2017 GLC’S COMAND infotainment system. Part of our tester’s multimedia package, Comand-equipped GLCS get a larger 8.4-inch screen mounted on top of the center stack, a touchpad controller mounted above the traditional scroll wheel/knob control in the center console, and features such as navigation with traffic alerts, satellite radio, and voice control.
With the addition of the touchpad controller— that weird palmrest-looking thing you see in pictures of the center console—there are effectively two ways to navigate COMAND: the touchpad or the scroll wheel/knob. More often than not I find myself using the knob to navigate the various infotainment functions. I prefer the tactile feedback of the knob versus the touchpad, especially while on the move.
I also appreciate how easy it is to navigate Mercedes’ instrument cluster display. Mercedes makes it easy to quickly check the GLC’S fuel economy, range, service needs, and even the last time you took a break, all controlled at the tip of your left thumb on the left side of the wheel. It’s the latter system, dubbed Attention Assist, that
I like least.
The system uses a variety of onboard sensors to determine if you’re too tired to keep driving. If it thinks you’re tired, it’ll set off a loud chime and display a coffee cup on the dash.
Studies have shown the risks of drowsy driving are as high as drunk driving, but this system is inconsistent. For example, after around five hours of straight driving on California’s charmless I-5 in the middle of a sunny afternoon, I found myself struggling to stay alert. I checked the Attention Assist monitor, and it showed I was highly alert. Compare this to a few days later, when in a wellrested (and highly caffeinated) state, I hit the road around 3 a.m. to catch a flight. Within an hour and a half of driving, the system had gone off twice, scaring me in the process, even though I didn’t feel I was experiencing any symptoms of drowsiness.
It might sound like I’m nitpicking—and to a certain extent I am—but the single most important factor for any vehicle safety system is that it’s consistent. A driver has to be able to rely on safety systems, whether it’s Attention Assist or forward collision alert, because any doubt could wind up being the difference between life and death.