Driving the facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLC

Mercedes’ mid-range SUV gets a mid-life makeover, with new tech and engines

On the face of it, the updated GLC isn’t too different from the previous model. It’s kept fresh, however, with new LED headlights, chrome detailing and a larger infotainment screen inside.

The main change comes in the new range of engines, which’ll bring improved performance and fuel economy according to the German manufacturer.

From launch, there are two versions of the 2.0-litre diesel available – the 220d and the 300d (that we’re testing here), and they’ll be followed by a 300-badged 2.0-litre petrol variant soon.

Those wanting real performance will look at the GLC 63, powered by a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo petrol V8.

Updated without losing its predecessor’s appeal

The model it replaces was a good-looking car, and this facelift hasn’t affected that. Mercedes’ design traits lend themselves well to the larger models, offering a premium appearance that belongs at the top end of the class.

It’s imposing and looks larger than it actually is, with muscular body panels that give the impression of something that isn’t afraid to go off road.

That being said, this is a 4x4 that’s been created to look good on the streets rather than muddy trails.

Equally handsome, and practical, inside

The GLC’s interior was starting to age, so this refresh is welcome. There’s a new digital instrument cluster and MBUX infotainment screen that’s operated by touch and by using a new trackpad.

Although it’s largely unchanged on the previous model, it’s still a premium cabin with high-quality materials and enough digital bits to bring it up to speed.

And sitting between the compact GLA and larger GLE, there’s enough space to comfortably fit a family of four and boot full.

To drive

Based on the C-Class Saloon, it feels more like a high-riding version of that model than it does a large SUV.

The GLC's upgraded interior is just as nice as you'd expect from the German brand

It handles well too, considering its size – driving down narrow city streets is no more daunting than it would be in the saloon it’s derived from.

Although the 19-inch alloys on our model made for a fairly rough ride through town, it was as smooth as you’d like on the motorway. Wind and road noise are also obvious, but again, not to a degree that affects the enjoyment of driving a GLC.

There’ll be no complaints on power either. The 300d that we drove packs 242bhp and a 0-60 time of little over six seconds – far from sluggish, especially for a car of this size.

What does it cost?

Even in entry-level form, the GLC 220d has quite an impressive list of standard equipment.

For a bit under £40k, you get the new MBUX infotainment setup with voice recognition, parking assistance, heated seats and 18-inch rims.

Choose the 300d AMG Line and that’ll jump to around £47k, with 19-inchers, AMG styling, panoramic sunroof, and Burmester speaker system to name only a few additions.

A solid option

The GLC is high enough and large enough to give the safety and practicality that make SUVs so appealing, while having the pace and manoeuvrability of something smaller.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC from behind, travelling along a coastal route

It looks great, inside and out, and also comes with a range of engines that should have something for most prospective drivers.

BMW’s like-for-like X3 still holds the top spot in this class, but this update will shorten the gap. If you’re after a stylish motor with usability to match, you can’t go far wrong with the new Mercedes-Benz GLC.

 

For more on the Mercedes-Benz GLC, head to www.lookers.co.uk/mercedes-benz/new-cars/glc-class

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