Test drive: Mercedes GLC 220d: the fuel-sipping SUV in sportswear gear

Compared to the previous generation GLC, the new one is very close to it on the outside, but features a completely revised interior. And it’s enough to give a new lease of life to Mercedes best-selling SUV in the face of an ever increasing competition. It must be said that this segment is a crucial one for car manufacturers as it generates huge profits.

On the outside, it is not easy to set the new GLC apart from the previous one. It might even seem appropriate as the GLC targets a rather conservative customer base. Perhaps Mercedes design reached the end of a cycle ? Will the next generation use a new design language ? We like the brand’s current design as it’s simple and elegant, unlike some competitors’, which is not as cohesive and restrained. Nevertheless, the Mark II GLC is lower (-4 mm height) and longer (+60 mm) than its forebear, making it better footed on the road. The front bumper gets the latest aerodynamic trickery already seen elsewhere on the brand’s latest products. There are two different grille designs : one for the Avantgarde trim and the other for the AMG one. The body sides display the taut but unadorned surfaces that have made the current Mercedes range so successfull. AMG versions can even get contrasting wheel arches to enhance their sportiness even more.

I like it

The 2022 GLC uses the (MRA2) C-Class platform and gets a similar dashboard to the saloon’s and all the better for it. The three-spoke steering wheel and its tactile switches (which are not always easy to use while driving), is similar to the C Class one too, as well as the 12.3-inch high-resolution LCD screen in front of the driver and the 11.9-inch tablet that rises seamlessly from the centre console. Like the instrument panel, the screen is slightly oriented towards the driver. Navigating through the various menus is quite easy. The younger generation will be fond of the night-time ambient multicolor lighting !

Quite clever

If someone had told me ten years ago that, one day, I would see the use of a diesel engine as a bonus, I wouldn’t have never believed it. And yet ? What a joy it is to be to cover long distances swifltly without seeing the fuel gauge needle going down too quickly. In this case, the 197 HP 2.0 engine is backed up by a starter-alternator that provides an additional 23 HP. Torque is a massive 440 Nm, which is more than enough to cross Europe in the best comfort !

I don’t like it

While the front passengers are pampered, the back ones will be less thrilled :  the rear seat is rather firm and too flat, while the backrest is too straight up to make it as comfortable as the front ones.

Why I buy it

The GLC retains a manageable size, which will please the anti-SUV crowd. It looks distinctive in AMG trim and the high quality interior features up to the minute technology. Fit and finish is impressive. Its comfortable seats and the ergonomically sound driver environment make it an ideal travel companion. Its engine just sips diesel : we averaged just 5.3 l/100km at the end of our 560 km test. Its 4 wheel drive chassis is a bonus, making it even more serene in all situations. We attende dits international launch and believe us, it can even prove to be as efficient as real off-roaders in rough situations !

Why I don’t buy it

Our AMG trim test model is the range’s most expensive one but many customers seem to like it a lot nevertheless. It starts from €65,461 but as usual, adding a few extras will make it even more expensive. As ever with Mercedes, it’s the first one you buy that is the most expensive ! The second generation GLC is a particularly well-sorted Mercedes. The high quality fit and finish as well as its fine ergonomics mean it’s a big leap forward compared to the previous generation, also known as Type 253. The standard equipment list features loads of up to the minute technologies but obviously it can still be completed… It even seems easier to do now, as there are fewer packages to choose from. No matter which driving mode is selected (Dynamic, comfort or more efficiency-oriented), this SUV will always react smoothly and perfectly. Quite unusually and unexpectedely,  such a polished SUV can also hold its own against many 4x4s on steep terrain ! (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)

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