By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.5
In a field filled with midsize-luxury SUVs like the Audi Q5 and BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz’s 2017 GLC-Class is a formidable player. Its sleek body is a departure from the angular Mercedes SUVs of the past, and its interior sets a new standard for design and execution. In its most demure form, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 241 horsepower. Connected to a 9-speed automatic, this engine delivers both power and economy worthy of the 3-pointed star. However, if that’s not good enough, there’s the new AMG GLC43 that cranks out 362 horsepower. Need something a bit more personal? The GLC Coupe has a more rounded silhouette while retaining the convenience of having four doors.
If you’re looking for a sleek modern midsize-luxury SUV, but can’t sacrifice function for form, the 2017 MB GLC-Class may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Mercedes-Benz’s best safety features are all here, as is its reputation for strong resale and reliability.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class gains a new, high-performance AMG GLC43 trim as well as a GLC Coupe featuring a more rakish rear end. A modest rearranging of the standard and optional equipment lists rounds out the changes.
From behind the wheel, it’s not hard to feel a big dose of the C-Class in the GLC300’s ride and handling characteristics. Acceleration is strong and steady, if not swift,...
... and the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine has plenty of reserve for passing and climbing. We were pleased with the seamless way in which the 9-speed transmission handled its job, although when the Dynamic Select Mode was set to Sport or Sport+, those same shifts became much more noticeable. On the highway, Mercedes-Benz’s 2017 GLC won praise for its smooth ride and ease of maneuvering, but there was some wind buffeting around the side mirrors. One area of concern is the fuel-saving stop/start system, which we felt was too noticeable for a system that is supposed to be invisible. As for the AMG GLC43 version, it's just as good, but quicker, sharper, and more aggressive. For a smoother ride, skip the optional 20-inch wheels and stick with the standard 18-inchers.
AIR BODY CONTROL
With the air-suspension setup in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class luxury SUV, you’ll get a softer ride, the ability to raise or lower the vehicle’s ride height via the Dynamic Select Mode and even have the ability make the GLC “kneel” for easier loading of cargo or pets.
Luxury used to be defined by leather seats and power windows, but not anymore. If you truly want your 2017 GLC to stand out in a crowd, the Designo interior option weds leather, color and quilted seat patterns to create an interior that is truly sumptuous, not to mention expensive.
The 2017 GLC is about two inches wider and five inches longer than the old GLK it replaced last year, 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’ GLC-Class for 2017 is bigger than it looks, 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 Mercedes’ previous crisp-edge styling language. 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 2017 GLC300 offers a solid array of standard equipment. Beyond the power driver's seat with memory, automatic climate control, power-folding mirrors, a power tailgate and rearview camera, the GLC-Class comes with things like the Mercedes-Benz touch pad for using the infotainment system. There's 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. The GLC Coupe adds 4Matic all-wheel drive and a power sunroof, while the AMG trim gains a twin-turbo V6, Keyless-Go and an AMG-tuned suspension.
Mercedes-Benz doesn't skimp on the options for its latest midsize-luxury SUV, with plentiful option packages that let you 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 the Premium 2 package that adds COMAND navigation, a Sport package that gives the GLC300 an AMG-inspired look, and a driver-assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control, active blind-spot and lane-keeping assist and steering assist. On top of it all, there's the high-spirited AMG GLC43 model.
While diesel and hybrid models are planned, currently there are only two engines available for the GLC-Class. In the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder produces a healthy 241 horsepower and can be had with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD). 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. The GLC300 Coupe comes standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive, while the AMG GLC43 ups the ante with a 362-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 teamed with 4Matic.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GLC300, Coupe)
241 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (RWD), 21/28 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (AMG GLC43)
362 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
384 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
A rear-wheel-drive 2017 GLC300 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $40,000, while AWD adds $2,000 to the total. 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 $1,830 Premium Package. Start adding in Designo upholstery and paint, and you're well on your way to $65,000. However, more judicious option selection can keep the price right around $50,000, and still retain leather seats, adaptive cruise control and navigation. The AMG GLC43 starts around $56,000. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid. As for resale, the GLC300 holds its value well, slightly better than the Audi Q5, much better than the BMW X5 but still well behind the Lexus RX350.