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Review of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: Another one?!
Over the last few years, it feels like every other day we are seeing yet another new SUV, mini-SUV, pseudo-SUV, or whatever new kind of class designation car companies come up with to describe what are essentially small trucks that drive like cars. There is no shortage out there, and the newest fad is 'the smaller-the-better' theory of SUV-making that is becoming all the rage. Car/trucks like the Honda HRV or the Mazda CX-3 are on the forefront of this ever-expanding class. With their recent success, it should be no surprise that higher-end car companies have had the idea that if this compact SUV segment can be successful in the mid-class price range, then surely there are probably plenty of well-off people that might also want a truck of similar proportions, with a bit nicer decor. So in theory, if it's built, they will come. Enter the newest model to the fray: The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.
In truth, the GLC isn't an entirely new model in the traditional sense. It is the replacement for the now defunct GLK. One of the biggest reasons for this was economics. The GLC is built hand-in-hand with the Mercedes C-Class sedans, which makes it cheaper to produce. The GLK was narrower, shorter, and almost five inches shorter than the new GLC, not to mention the very obvious stylistic change. The GLC has got a lot more rounded edges that make it look a lot more streamlined, and allows the eye to flow over it from any angle compared to the outgoing hard-edged, upright GLK.
Inside, the little Mercedes has a lot to offer. The interior is the spitting image of… you guessed it… a C-Class sedan. Plush yet supportive seats hold you in place while you're surrounded by woodgrain, aluminum, and leather that offers a level of sophistication not seen in this class. The cabin is almost too quiet at highways speeds, thanks to all of the wonderful insulation Mercedes has provided. You feel like you're isolated from anything and everything outside of the of the windows around you. That feeling of security also comes with a complementary feeling of safety. There are all of the normal safety systems offered as well like brake-assist, hazard monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and even fully automatic braking when an emergency is detected.
The GLC has all the standard features you might want in a luxury car/truck. Nappa leather as well as heated and cooled front and heated rear seats, multicolor ambient lighting, or an onboard ionizer-purifier that can even be fitted to provide aromatherapy if desired. Other fun features include things like remote start from you smartphone, a console-mounted touchscreen offers up all of the infotainment needed, while the optional Heads-Up Display can help you keep your eyes on the road. Air Body Control is Mercedes' air ride control that self-levels each wheel, and can also be used to lower the car for loading, or adjust ride height as desired. You can also opt for the Sport Package which adds some AMG bits and pieces or even the Night Package which basically blacks out everything for you and tacks on either 19- or 20-inch black wheels.
The new GLC can be had with either rear- or all-wheel drive and is powered by a potent direct-injected, all-aluminum, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that pumps out a sizable 241 horsepower and an impressive 273 pound-feet of torque. Backing up that stout little engine is a 9-speed automatic (yes, 9) that even has a manual shifting mode if you feel like rowing through all those gears. And while it does tip the scales at 4,000 pounds, this micro machine can get up and go reasonably well. 0–60 mph happens in 6.3 seconds, 0–100 mph in 16.0 seconds, the quarter mile in 15.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 130 mph, thanks to the electronic limiter. The GLC isn't too much of a fuel guzzler either, netting a 21/28 city/highway mpg rating, which isn't too bad for what is still a two-ton truck.
The base price of the GLC comes in at $39,875, which again, is pretty solid considering you're getting essentially a C-Class sedan that can ford a small river or get you to work during a blizzard. Of course, that number could climb significantly depending on what options you choose to check off on the build sheet. So, while we weren't sure that the world needed yet another SUV, the newest Mercedes on the block has proven that maybe there is room for at least one more. The cheaper versions of the compact SUV market are trending upward, so it stands to reasons that the GLC should fill the void for people that like the style of the smaller truck, but want something a bit up-market. So Mercedes has built it, now we just have to see if they really do come.
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