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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2017

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class has sprouted from a one-vehicle range last year to offering AMG and "coupe" variants. The coupe is in quotation marks because instead of being a 2-door model, as per the accepted definition of a coupe, the GLC Coupe retains four passenger doors but sports a sloping roof. That's modern marketing in action. The "coupe" is reviewed separately. To underline the distinction, Mercedes-Benz calls this regular version the GLC SUV.

Labels aside, the GLC is a superb premium compact crossover, with a high-quality cabin, plenty of standard equipment and tempting options, along with a ride quality and driving experience wholly befitting a luxury marque.

What's New for 2017?

Apart from the debut of the AMG GLC 43 model, which is pretty major, the only other developments are a reshuffling of option bundles, plus the addition of Brilliant Blue metallic paint and Saddle Brown leather upholstery choices.

What We Like

Premium presence; fuel-efficient 4-cylinder powertrain; engaging AMG version

What We Don't

Comes at a premium price

How Much?

$40,075-$55,825

Fuel Economy

A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder powers the GLC 300. It makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque and connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission, with standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive (known as 4Matic). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy with rear-wheel drive at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving, or 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

The GLC 43 has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing an energetic 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. It uses basically the same 9-speed automatic transmission as the GLC 300 (although it's been tuned for faster shifts), and all-wheel drive is standard. The EPA puts fuel use at 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV is a 5-seater that comes in straight GLC 300 form or as the sporty AMG GLC 43 model.

The GLC 300 ($40,075) has 18-inch alloy wheels, a 14-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, power-folding rear seats, roof rails, a 7-in display screen for the Comand infotainment system, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, drive mode settings, a rearview camera, an 8-speaker audio system, two USB ports, an iPod interface and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

As well as the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system (around $2,000), the options list includes the Premium 1 package, featuring blind spot monitoring, heated front seats, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio and a 115-volt outlet. Premium 2 adds an 8.4-in infotainment screen and voice-controlled navigation. Premium 3 brings full LED lighting, advanced safety aids and an air purifier. A Sport package means 19-in alloy wheels, sporty cosmetic touches and stronger brakes. A Night package adds black wheels and exterior accents. And an Active Parking Assist package brings a 360-degree camera system, automated parking, a hands-free lift gate and parking sensors at both ends.

Other options include an air suspension, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, a Burmester 14-speaker audio system upgrade (as found in the S-Class), 20-in alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, Wi-Fi and an illuminated grille badge.

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 ($55,825) comes with all-wheel drive as standard, along with the adaptive air suspension, 20-in AMG-designed alloy wheels, various cosmetic touches inside and out, plus the contents of the Premium 1 package.

Cargo space amounts to 20.5 cu ft. behind the rear seats or 56.5 cu ft. when they're folded down.

Safety

The array of standard safety equipment is impressive, including anti-lock brakes, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, Crosswind Assist, trailer-sway control, driver-drowsiness monitoring, side airbags and side-curtain airbags. Options include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance and a feature called forward cross-traffic prevention with automatic braking.

Behind the Wheel

Just about anyone will be impressed with the GLC 300 after even a short spell behind the wheel. Direct steering and a smooth, serene luxurious ride are complemented by a punchy engine. Factor in the quality cabin materials, the cabin's tranquility and the various safety features, and this crossover is a year-round joy.

The GLC 43 is not super-hot (there's a GLC 63 version coming for 2018), but it still flexes a satisfying amount of muscle. It accentuates talents in the chassis that are not so apparent with the smaller engine. Drive settings span from economical to Sport Plus and a customizable personal mode. So things can be fun or family-friendly, all at the touch of button.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Acura RDX -- Although the Acura cachet is not quite up to the level of Mercedes-Benz, the RDX is an excellent choice thanks to a standard 3.5-liter V6, plus many high-tech options and features for the price.

2017 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.

2017 Lexus NX -- Aimed at those who prefer luxury over performance, the NX offers a lackluster 4-cylinder model and a fuel-efficient hybrid. But it also enjoys renowned Lexus build quality as well as head-turning styling.

Used Mercedes-Benz M-Class -- If a little more space is required, consider the larger M-Class (renamed the GLE for 2016) as a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) model.

Autotrader's Advice

This is a top choice among premium compact crossovers, as long as the lack of a third row is not a problem. The GLC 43 hits a sweet spot, but the GLC 300 4Matic with some well-chosen options ought to please most people. The air suspension is worthwhile, and you'll want to try to get some of those advanced safety features as well.

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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.
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader