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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class may look like a chiseled and chunky SUV, but it's actually the perfect size for small urban spaces. Based on the previous-generation C-Class, the compact GLK crossover comes equipped with either a powerful gasoline V6 or an efficient 4-cylinder turbodiesel under the hood, and its carlike suspension makes it a pleasure to drive. Available 4MATIC all-wheel drive provides year-round traction, and there's plenty of luxury on tap in the well-constructed cabin.

If there's a knock against the GLK, it's that the interior is too compact, with limited space for rear passengers and cargo. For those who carry either on a regular basis, a larger rival may make more sense. But if you like the idea of a muscular-looking yet manageably sized luxury crossover with features galore, the 2015 GLK-Class is hard to beat.

What's New for 2015?

The GLK is essentially unchanged this year.

What We Like

Distinctive styling; high-quality interior; strong standard V6; fuel-efficient clean diesel option

What We Don't

Tight back seat; modest cargo capacity

How Much?

$38,825-$40,325

Fuel Economy

The gasoline-fueled GLK350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 302 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it should return 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with rear-wheel drive, or 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with the optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.

The diesel-fueled GLK250 BlueTEC gets its motivation from a 2.1-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 200 hp and a dizzying 369 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is included, and fuel economy is EPA-rated at a laudable 24 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

A 7-speed automatic transmission is standard on every GLK model.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is available in two trim levels that are primarily differentiated by engine: the GLK350 and GLK250 BlueTEC.

The GLK350 ($38,825) comes with the gas V6 and rear-wheel drive by default, with 4MATIC all-wheel drive available for an additional $2,000. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, LED running lights and taillights, fog lights, roof rails, power front seats with driver memory functions, MB-Tex synthetic leather upholstery, Bluetooth, the COMAND infotainment system and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Premium 1 package adds a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, satellite radio, a rear power outlet and a USB port. The Multimedia package includes a rearview camera, voice-control functionality, a navigation system, a larger COMAND display and digital music storage. Additional options include adaptive xenon headlights, keyless entry/start, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a self-parking system with a surround-view camera.

The GLK250 BlueTEC ($40,325) is similarly equipped but comes standard with the diesel engine and all-wheel drive.

Safety

The 2015 GLK comes standard with anti-lock brakes, active front head restraints, stability control and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side-curtain). A drowsiness monitor is also standard. Notable options include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.

In crash tests, the 2015 GLK-Class earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) top rating of Good in all categories.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we found the GLK to be conservative but well built, in time-honored Mercedes fashion. The dashboard design isn't particularly memorable, but it's likely to age well, and material quality is excellent. The COMAND system gives you plenty of technology without shoving it down your throat, while the available self-parking system takes the stress out of parallel parking. We'd only ask for more back seat and cargo space. Regarding the latter, the GLK tops out at around 55 cu ft. with the rear seatbacks flipped forward, making it more of a hatchback-plus than a true SUV.

The gas-powered GLK350's broad power band gives it satisfyingly strong acceleration as required. But don't let images of black-smoke-spewing diesels keep the GLK250 BlueTEC off your shopping list. This diesel variant is remarkably quiet, quick and clean, meeting tough emissions standards in the strictest state in the nation, California. The biggest issue is that you might end up refilling with a greasy truck-stop pump handle on occasion.

On the road, the GLK feels substantial, secure and surefooted, whether you're on pockmarked pavement or winding country roads. It's even a little sporty at times, with well-controlled body roll and precise steering. The highway ride could be a touch quieter, but in general, the GLK lives up to its luxury-brand billing. And when it's time to park, the GLK's compact dimensions make tight spots a cinch.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Audi Q5 -- Audi's venerable crossover offers both a supercharged gas V6 and a much stronger turbodiesel model.

2015 BMW X3 -- Consider yourself a serious driver? Then you'll want to check out the X3, which offers strong performance by class standards.

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque -- The Evoque is a clear style leader in the segment, though its turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine is a bit weak.

Used Mercedes-Benz G500 -- If you prefer the old-fashioned SUV that inspired the GLK's squared-off styling, look for an awesome used G-Wagen with the 5.0-liter V8 engine for GLK money.

AutoTrader's Advice

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is technically a generation behind, since it's based on the previous C-Class. But don't let that stop you from considering it. The GLK is an excellent product, and Mercedes has successfully kept it fresh over the years.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader