Small and midsize luxury crossovers are red-hot right now, so it’s only natural Mercedes-Benz has been investing in these segments with vehicles like the GLC. For those keeping tabs on all of the name changes at Benz, the GLC is the replacement for the former GLK-Class in the SUV hierarchy. As the name implies, the GLC is based on the new C-Class sedan, which basically endows this SUV with fantastic handling and a stunning interior.
The GLC is unquestionably a major departure from the boxy GLK from a design perspective, which is a good thing. The GLK was attempting to look like the poor man’s G-Class, whereas the new GLC looks more luxury crossover than off-roader knock-off. Given the GLC is basically a crossover version of the C-Class sedan, it’s probably fitting that it essentially looks just that: a a really tall C-Class.
Similarities with the C-Class do not end outside, either. The GLC recently ranked on Wards top 10 best interiors list, and it’s clear why it earned the accolades. Bumming most of its design and layout from the C-Class, the GLC interior is nothing short of stunning for the price-point. The design is highly attractive with material quality that really makes passengers feel like they’re riding in a vehicle that easily exceeds $75,000.
Mercedes has also clearly taken the time to maximize space inside the GLC. The dash design is short, leaving more room for passengers without sacrificing ergonomics. Likewise, the front seats are slim, allowing for additional legroom in back. The small details certainly make the GLC interior feel roomy for the overall footprint it occupies, though the cargo area is considerably smaller than the competition.
Like all new Merc’s, the GLC features Command, the brand’s infotainment system. The entire system is controlled via an optional touchpad or dial. Unquestionably the system has a learning curve for newbies, however once familiar with it, it begins making a lot of sense. That said, the GLC could benefit from more screen real estate versus the seven-inch unit it has.
The GLC is limited to only one engine choice, a turbocharged 2.0-liter that generates 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. At first glance this doesn’t seem like an impressive setup for a decent-sized luxury crossover, but perceptions tend to get you in trouble. The little turbo actually moves this crossover quite swiftly; actually, it can do zero to 60 mph in about 5.9 seconds.
Part of the GLC’s quickness stems from a standard nine-speed automatic transmission. The quick-shifting unit behaves well with the turbo power plant. With so many gears, the GLC manages to keep the engine right at or close enough to the mid-range power where it pulls the hardest. We noted a few quirky downshifts, but those could be related to the fact the tester only had 18 miles on it.
At speed the GLC’s C-Class roots really shine. This is a crossover that drives like a luxury sedan. It’s poised and dynamically very competent in the corners. Adaptive suspension is standard on the GLC with five drive modes. Each mode changes the suspension, steering and throttle response. Quite surprisingly, the Sport+ mode was really not as aggressive as we would have preferred. We also noted that the brakes lacked any kind of major grip.
Given the GLC shares so much with the new C-Class, it is really no surprise that this luxury crossover checks nearly all the boxes. It’s a few quirks from being one of the most attractive propositions in the segment.