By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 9.6
Replacing the GLK, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class challenges the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and other midsize-luxury SUVs with its style, features, luxury and the kind of driving experience the enormous 3-point star on the nose suggests. It's powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to a new 9-speed automatic transmission, sending 241 horsepower to either the rear or all four wheels. Standard high-tech features include collision avoidance, crosswind assist, keyless ignition and a Dynamic Select control that lets the driver switch between various drive modes. But beyond that, the new GLC is bigger in every dimension, to give more space for passengers, driver and cargo, but also to put more space between it and last year's new addition, the GLA-Class subcompact-luxury SUV.
If you wanted something bigger than the GLK, and a little more Mercedes-like in feel, then your patience is rewarded with the 2016 GLC-Class. Alternatively, if you're just in the market for a nice-driving, good-looking, comfortable and nicely equipped midsize-luxury SUV, check it out.
Those looking for more immediate oomph might want to look at the 6-cylinder power available in the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Also know that features like spacious passenger and cargo room and adaptive cruise control are available from mainstream brands for a fraction of the price.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is an all-new midsize-luxury SUV that replaces last year's GLK-Class. Bigger, more comfortable and better-looking inside and out, it's more than able to fill that little SUV's shoes.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLC feels a lot like the new C-Class from behind the wheel, and that's a good thing. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and 9-speed automatic...
... accelerate the 2016 GLC quickly, even if it's not rocket-like, and there was plenty in reserve for passing on narrow 2-lane mountain roads. The transmission downshifted quickly enough when the gas pedal was pushed to the floor, but shifts became much more noticeable when the Dynamic Select was in Sport or Sport+ modes. The highway ride was comfortable and mostly quiet, with just a bit of wind ruffle around the outside mirrors as the Distronic Plus took care of many of the cruise-control and lane-keeping duties. In town, engine restarts with the automatic stop-start system were pretty harsh, and the 20-inch wheels and tires on our test car made sharper bumps quite noticeable. City drivers should stick with the standard 18-inchers.
AIR BODY CONTROL
The new air suspension on the 2016 GLC-Class promises a lot. For example, a smoother ride, adjustable ride height when using Sport or Sport+ Dynamic Select modes, and even a "kneeling" feature that will allow you to lower the rear of the GLC to make it easier to load cargo.
If you have a high bar for a Mercedes-Benz interior – and plenty of money to make it happen – then the available Designo interior on the 2016 GLC is just what you need. Premium leather stitched in a quilt pattern, and even matte-paint finishes are available.
The 2016 GLC is about two inches wider and five inches longer than the GLK, translating to more shoulder room, and an extra 2.2 inches of rear legroom. Cargo room increases by 17 percent, with an easy-to-reach load floor and plenty of storage under the cargo floor, since there's no spare tire taking up room (the GLC uses run-flat tires). There's also a lot more storage space, with a bigger glove box, bigger center console bin and bigger door pockets. The C-Class-inspired dash looks great and is easy to use, and comfortable seating awaits every passenger.
Mercedes’ new GLC-Class is noticeably larger than the GLK, but in a good way. Rather than looking ponderous or unwieldy, it looks substantial and solid, although the smooth curves and soft lines are a little less distinctive than the GLK's sharp creases. Still, there's no arguing that the Mercedes-Benz design aesthetic that debuted on the S-Class translates nicely to this midsize-luxury SUV, and Mercedes-Benz arguably has the best-looking SUV lineup among the big three European luxury brands. Wheel sizes vary from the standard 18 inch to 20 inch, and if you like matte-paint finishes, Designo has you covered.
The 2016 GLC300 offers a solid array of standard equipment. Beyond things like power driver's seat with memory, automatic climate control, power-folding mirrors, a power tailgate and rearview camera, the new GLC-Class comes with things like the Mercedes-Benz touch pad for using the infotainment system. There's also a solid set of safety systems, featuring Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Pre-Safe, which help prevent and mitigate the effects of collisions. Crosswind Assist helps keep the GLC from being blown around by winds. There's also the standard Dynamic Select, which gives drivers driving modes from Eco through Sport+, tailoring throttle and transmission response.
Mercedes-Benz doesn't skimp on the options for its new midsize-luxury SUV, and thanks to various option packages and individual options, you can equip your GLC pretty much any way you want. There's the high-end Designo interior and exterior, of course, but there's also available leather, upgraded wood trims, and a variety of interior colors to choose from. Option packages include a Multimedia package that adds COMAND navigation, a Sport package that gives the GLC an AMG-inspired look, and a driver-assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control, active blind spot and lane-keeping assist and steering assist.
While a diesel and
hybrid model are planned, currently the only engine available in the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Its 241 horsepower is less than the V6 from the GLK it replaces, but with the same 273 lb-ft of torque, a 9-speed automatic transmission, and 200 fewer pounds to deal with, the 2016 GLC300 offers up acceleration that's on par with its predecessor. Rear- and all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD) are both available, and Mercedes-Benz says the GLC is fully off-road capable, although we'd still recommend taking it easy, as die-hard off-roaders will immediately note the lack of a low-speed transfer case.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
241 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
A rear-wheel-drive 2016 GLC300 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) under $40,000, while AWD adds $2,000 to the total. That's more than the GLK, but the GLC also adds a considerable amount of standard equipment, making it something of a wash. Options add up quickly though, with some packages – such as the $2,500 interior package with leather upholstery – requiring other packages, in this case, the $1,850 Premium Package. Start adding in Designo upholstery and paint, and you're well on your way to $65,000 for your new GLC-Class. However, more judicious option selection can keep the price right around $50,000, and still retain leather seats, adaptive cruise control and navigation. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid. Also, the GLK is a Best Resale Value award winner, and we'd expect the GLC to similarly hold its value.