The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Road Test - PE­TER BARN­WELL

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.

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