AT A GLANCE
IT WAS inevitable that Mercedes-Benz would produce an SUV version of its top-selling C-Class. Now buyers face a difficult choice between the sedan, the wagon or this impressive medium-size luxury SUV — which packs all the donor car’s good gear in a more practical and functional body. Getting hold of a GLC could be problematic as demand outstrips supply. The GLC is at the upper end of the segment in size and the roomy cabin reflects this. It fits five and provides plenty of space for luggage space and other storage.
Benz uses aluminium extensively to save weight. The new chassis and body is lighter and stronger than the earlier (Europe only) GLK, which the GLC replaces
Externally, the GLC is true to current Benz design and is a pretty thing to look at, with prominent nose and grille, multifaceted LED headlights and overall muscular flanks.
The interior also follows current family design. Three large air vents dominate the dash and there are the cockpitstyle driver’s pod and large tablet-style touchscreen in the middle. The air of quality in the cabin replicates the C-Class and it’s right up to the minute in safety, connectivity, comfort and efficiency. Our stint in the GLC 250 showed it to be an excellent town vehicle, the ideal size for parking in small spaces, carrying five adults out and about, ferrying the kids to sport and school and whipping down to the mall for retail therapy. The dog even liked getting in the back.
Particularly useful is the hands-free tailgate operation (on the 250 only). Wave a foot under the bumper and up it goes.
The engine has plenty of pep off the mark and cruises with the minimum of fuss. With nine ratios to select from, there’s always a gear for any given driving requirement. Gear changes are subtle and the engine is barely audible.
Around town and not driving for thrift, we returned in the range of 8.5L/100km — pretty good for a petrol turbo weighing nearly 1800kg. From behind the wheel, this vehicle belies its classification as an SUV because — if you choose to — it goes like a sporty wagon with dynamics to match.
Move to Comfort on the Drive Select dial and the GLC wafts along on a cushion. Dial it up to Sport+ and it sits flat through fast turns with not a hint of pushing wide.
The GLC 250 maintains a WHAT IT’S GOT WHAT IT HASN’T OWNERSHIP WHAT WE LIKED. WHAT WE DIDN’T high level of passenger comfort with minimal noise intrusion. The tyres provide plenty of grip on wet or dry surfaces but would be challenged somewhat off-road.
The 2.0-litre turbo (155kW/ 350Nm) appears in plenty of other Benz models in differing states of turn and is all you really need for normal driving.
Steering, brakes and all- wheel drive enhance its feeling of solidity and safety. Its torque vectoring function sends drive to the wheels with most grip.
Less endearing is the way some driver select functions default to “nanna” mode when you switch off the engine. After each restart, these have to be selected again. This is arguably one of the best all-rounders, with tantalising combinations of style and safety, function and performance, practicality and luxury. No wonder there’s a waiting list.