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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The Mercedes-Benz GLK is gone. It's been replaced with an all-new, totally redesigned model dubbed the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, which features more than just a new name: There's also a new look, new features, new powertrains and a thoroughly overhauled interior.

It's just in time too, because the compact-luxury-crossover segment is rapidly expanding, with new additions from Lexus and Lincoln, along with recently updated models from BMW, Acura and Infiniti. Can the GLC hold its own against this ever-changing group of contenders?

We think so. The GLC's redesign is impressive in its thoroughness, addressing virtually all our concerns about the GLK without creating any new ones. We like the design, the interior, the equipment and the driving experience -- and with the GLC, we think Mercedes-Benz has a huge hit on its hands.

What's New for 2016?

The GLC is fully redesigned for 2016 to replace the GLK. It offers a new design, new features, new powertrains and a new interior, sharing virtually nothing with the GLK except its sizing and the "GL" at the start of its name.

What We Like

Handsome look; excellent driving experience; fuel-efficient powertrain; dramatically updated interior

What We Don't

Only one engine option; pricey compared to rivals

How Much?

$39,900-$42,900

Fuel Economy

Right now, the GLC is offered with only one engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that powers the GLC300. It makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, and it's mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Fuel economy stands at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with rear-wheel drive or 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with optional all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

With no additional engine variants, the GLC300 ($39,900) offers only one version. It comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, a 7-in display screen with Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, dual-zone automatic climate control, Mercedes' synthetic MB-Tex leather upholstery, a backup camera, two USB ports, an iPod interface and Bluetooth phone and audio control.

Options include the Sport package (sporty styling and 19-in wheels), the Night package (black wheels and exterior accents), the Lighting package (automatic high beams and LED headlights), the Advanced Parking Assist package (a 360-degree camera system, an automated parking system, a hands-free lift gate and parking sensors), the Premium package (a blind spot monitoring system, heated front seats and keyless ignition with push-button starting) and the Interior package (full leather upholstery, a power passenger seat and ventilated seats). Other options include an 8.4-in infotainment screen, 20-in wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Safety

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We have high hopes, though, as the GLC comes standard with an impressive array of safety equipment, including anti-lock brakes, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, side airbags and side-curtain airbags. Options include a blind spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and a new feature dubbed forward cross-traffic prevention with automatic braking.

Behind the Wheel

We have mostly positive things to say about the GLC's driving experience -- so many, in fact, that we named the luxurious crossover one of our Must Test Drive vehicles for 2016. In doing so, we praised its handsome cabin materials (a huge step up over the GLK it replaces) and its surprisingly sporty yet comfortable driving feel, with a potent turbocharged engine up front, direct steering and a smooth, luxury-car-like ride.

In contrast to the GLC's aging stablemate, the GLE, the GLC is one of the best luxury crossovers to drive -- and we suspect that just about any shopper will be impressed with it after even a short turn behind the wheel.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Acura RDX -- Although Acura's brand name might not quite live up to that of Mercedes, the RDX is an excellent choice in this segment thanks to a standard 3.5-liter V6, a lot of high-tech options and features, and reasonable pricing.

2016 BMW X3 -- The X3 is the GLC's closest competitor, touting similar pricing and a similar high-end image. It's a little sportier than the Mercedes, but we prefer the GLC's overall driving experience to the BMW's.

2016 Lexus NX -- Aimed at drivers who prioritize luxury over performance, the NX offers a lackluster 4-cylinder model and a fuel-efficient hybrid. But it also touts notorious Lexus build quality and bold, head-turning styling.

Used Mercedes-Benz M-Class -- If you like the GLC but need a little more space, you may want to consider Mercedes' larger M-Class, now renamed the GLE for 2016. Pricing is steep, though -- a GLE starts around $10,000 more than the GLC -- so you may want to consider a used or certified pre-owned model.

Autotrader's Advice

Since there's only one GLC to get, we'd go with that one -- and we'd add several packages full of safety and luxury features. If you don't need a third row, this is one of the best small luxury SUVs you can buy today.

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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.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader