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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

The 2015 GLK is Mercedes-Benz's classy and competent entrant in the compact-luxury SUV segment, where it competes with rivals like the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and the new Lincoln MKC. Where it stands out from nearly every competitor is with its angular design that clearly indicates its status as the little brother of the M-Class and GL-Class luxury SUVs. Until this year, the GLK was the smallest and youngest crossover SUV in the Mercedes family, but that changes with the arrival of the subcompact GLA. The 2015 GLK doesn't necessarily stand out for one trait, but it is above average in just about every facet. The BlueTEC diesel version, for example, earns up to 33 mpg, while standard and available safety systems are highly advanced.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seeking a 5-passenger compact-luxury SUV with Mercedes' cachet, decent practicality and understated elegance, the 2015 GLK is easy proof that you've arrived – and know exactly where you're going. Fans of efficiency, meanwhile, have plenty to like in the GLK250 BlueTEC clean diesel.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a bargain-luxury SUV, it probably won't be the Mercedes GLK, which starts at just under $39,000 before options. Less expensive alternatives include the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50, Volvo XC60 and Lincoln MKC. Buyers seeking a more fun-to-drive compact SUV should try the BMW X3.

What's New for 2015

Still fresh off a recent revamp that updated the GLK's design and added the choice of diesel power, Mercedes' 2-row compact-luxury SUV returns with no major changes for 2015.

Driving the GLK-Class
Driving Impressions

Mercedes-Benz sedans are regarded for their solid chassis and suspension setups that would make Goldilocks happy with their balance of tautness and comfort. So it goes with the GLK crossover...

... SUV. At freeway speeds, this premium hauler glides over expansion joints and uneven road surfaces. When the road changes to twists and turns, the GLK’s precise steering and big wheel/tire combo help it round curves with confidence. The well-insulated cabin quells most wind and road noise, although it can get a little rowdy with the optional panoramic sunroof open. The GLK350 comes with Mercedes’ 3.5-liter gasoline V6, which delivers great power for passing and merging. But the model we recommend is the GLK250. Powered by a small but mighty 2.1-liter turbodiesel engine, the GLK250 is a tick slower than the V6 version but returns greater fuel economy: up to 33 mpg on the highway, vs. 24 mpg for a similar gasoline model.

BLUETEC ENGINE
Not that long ago a compact diesel SUV was forbidden fruit for Americans. But now we can cherish what Europeans have for decades: the power and efficiency that are trademarks of turbodiesels. Knowing it's still a dirty word for many Americans, Mercedes dubs its clean diesels "BlueTEC." We just call them wonderful.

DRIVER ASSISTANCE PACKAGE
In these days of driver distraction and freeway frustration, it's easy to miss a fast-approaching car in your blind spot or drift lanes while adjusting the radio. This $2,950 option helps prevent both situations and includes radar-based cruise control and the ability for the GLK to brake itself to mitigate a crash.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Details
Interior

The 2015 GLK features two rows of seats and seating for up to five passengers. Despite its lower price point, the GLK compact-luxury SUV has superb fit and finish and high-quality, soft-touch materials. Genuine leather seating costs extra, but the standard MB-Tex upholstery does a good job imitating the real stuff. The GLK features a 60/40-split rear seat and 54.7 cubic feet of cargo space with seats folded. While the front seats are not quite as comfortable as those in a Lexus RX or Audi Q5, they can be tailored to a variety of bodies, especially the 14-way power driver's seat.

Exterior
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class photo

Whereas most of its rivals favor softer, rounded shapes, the Mercedes-Benz GLK stands out by standing upright with a more angular, blocky shape. It's not exactly the military-derived G-Class, but the GLK's stout and aggressive stance gives it an air of toughness. Practically speaking, large windows combined with slender structural pillars provide exceptional outward views. The available AMG Styling Package adds aluminum roof rails and LED daytime running lights and replaces the standard 19-inch wheels with massive 20-inch twin-5-spoke wheels. Despite its tall appearance, the 2014 GLK is as easy to step in and out of as a traditional sedan.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Spend the least on a 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and you'll still get treated to an SUV boasting more than just cachet. Among the features are dual-zone automatic climate control, Burl Walnut interior trim, power front seats and Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity and audio streaming. Standard audio is brought to you by a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system with HD Radio and USB input. Safety features include nine airbags, Neck Pro front headrests to help reduce the severity of whiplash injuries, hill-start assist to prevent unintended rollback on steep inclines and an Automatic Brake Drying system for improved braking in damp conditions.

Optional Equipment

From a dual-monitor rear-seat entertainment system to ambient lighting, a panoramic roof and parking-assist feature, a wide range of packages and individual options is available to make the Mercedes GLK fit your needs. Other offerings include all-wheel drive, which Mercedes dubs "4Matic" (it is standard on the diesel-powered GLK250), leather interior, navigation system, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist. Audio enthusiasts will appreciate the 11-speaker harman/kardon surround-sound system, while shopping enthusiasts will do the same for the power-operated liftgate. Surprisingly, a rearview camera is still considered optional.

Under the Hood

Two engines are offered in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK. The GLK350 model uses a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 that makes a hearty 302 horsepower, while the GLK250 employs a 2.1-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder that offers up a stump-pulling 369 lb-ft of torque. Both models use a 7-speed automatic transmission and are rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds. GLK350 models come in rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), while the diesel GLK250 is AWD only. The GLK350 is the quicker of the pair from 0-60 mph – 6.5 seconds – while the GLK250's 0-60-mph time is pegged at 7.8 seconds. But for the fuel-savings afforded from the diesel, the compromise seems worth the difference.

3.5-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg (RWD), 19/24 mpg (AWD)

2.1-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
200 horsepower @ 3,800 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-1,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg

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