Review: Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015)
Excellent refinement and very composed ride quality. Quiet diesel engine. Superb cabin quality. Spacious for rear seat passengers. Capable off-road if need be. Revamped with Mild Hybrid in 2019.
High price. Best ride quality depends on optional air suspension. COMAND system is still frustrating to use. Four-seat accommodation only. No room for a spare wheel. Lots of reported problems with steering at low speeds.
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Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £36,425, brokers can source from £32,396
- Contract hire deals from £311.99 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 27–41
- On average it achieves 89% of the official MPG figure
Thanks to Mercedes-Benz’s new and simplified naming convention, it’s easy to understand what the GLC is. It’s a 4x4 (that’s the GL part) that’s loosely based on the C-Class (the C part). It sits between the GLA and GLE in price and dimensions, and it therefore has two obvious rivals in the shape of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
There’s plenty of front and rear head and legroom, plus it combines this with absolutely superb all round refinement. Most of the time, driving the GLC feels like driving a big, gentle, luxury SUV - in the best possible way.
It’s the way that Mercedes-Benz has dampened out the outside world that makes that so. There’s very little road or wind noise, even at motorway speed, while engine drone is virtually nonexistent at lower revs.
It’s sometimes difficult to believe that there’s a four-cylinder diesel engine chugging away beneath the bonnet. The only two versions available in the UK, for the first 18 months or so at least, are four-cylinder diesels, badged GLC 220d and GLC 250d.
There’s a 34PS difference between the two (170PS against 204PS), but not a great deal of performance distinction. Not to worry, because both are quick enough without ever feeling rapid, and they’re both very economical in the context of a big, heavy 4x4, with the same claimed 56.5mpg and 129g/km CO2. That compares favourably to the less powerful base-level Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 150 PS.
The GLC happens to be excellent off road too, though to pull out the well-trodden cliché, it doesn’t really need to be – that it can traverse the roughest, most slanted and slippery terrain is more a demonstration of how well engineered it is than anything else.
With that in mind, the fact it also handles with the finesse of something much smaller is even more impressive. The GLC is, believe it or not, quite enjoyable to drive, thanks to weighty steering and tight body control.
But most importantly, it just feels like a really nice thing on the road. It’s spacious and comfortable and its visibility is excellent. There’s no unwieldiness about it and the cabin – lifted almost directly from the C-Class – is beautiful.
The price you pay is, well, the price, which is generally £2000 to £3000 higher than an equivalent BMW or Audi. Then factor in that the best version of the GLC needs a host of expensive options, and this becomes one pricey mid-sized SUV.
What does a Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015) cost?
Buy a used Mercedes-Benz GLC from £26,495
Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 550–1600 litres
The interior of the GLC is a beautiful thing, very carefully blending minimalism with a feeling of tech-laden gadgetry. The fundamentals of comfortable seating and a spot-on driving position are present and correct.
To get to the point early on, in pure ambience terms the GLC has the best cabin of all these middle sized SUVs.
Our only real criticism is that Mercedes-Benz persists with its Comand system, which in the pantheon of in-car infotainment systems, tablets and smartphones, is clunky and vexing.
The single dial control is often counter-intuitive, though the navigation system itself is very good. It’s clear and precise, plus it's displayed on a tablet-style high-definition screen – a screen that looks like it should be touch sensitive. But it's not.
The boot is 550 litres big, which is spot on in terms of the class – it’s identical to the BMW X3 and ten litres up on the Audi Q5.
But most importantly to the vast majority of GLC buyers, is that it’s clearly been designed to make life easier. The door pockets are massive, as is the central storage bin, while the boot floor is flush with the lip – and if you do pitch for the air suspension, you can lower the loading area with a switch near the tailgate for greater ease of use.
That’s a tailgate that’s automatic as standard and the back seats fold flat electronically at the touch of a button, too. On the downside, like the C-Class, there's no spare wheel as standard and not even the space to put one. So that means you're stuck with a tyre sealant kit unless you want a bulky spare taking up your boot.
GLC 220d 4MATIC SE is the entry-level GLC but is very well equipped, coming as standard with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox, an Easy-Pack automatic tailgate, reversing camera, rear privacy glass, DAB digital radio, keyless start, heated windscreen washers, climate control and safety systems including ESP with Dynamic Cornering Assist, Crosswind Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Stop & Go Pilot, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian protection and Cross Traffic Assist.
Sport trim adds Active Parking Assist, heated front seats, Garmin Map Pilot, interior lighting and mirror ackage and black ash wood trim.
AMG trim adds an AMG body kit, AMG steering wheel, AMG sports suspension and AMG sports pedals.
Options include the SE Executive Package (£1295) with heated front seats, Active Parking Assist, and Garmin Map Pilot with live traffic updates. A Premium Package (£1695) with Memory Package, panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting and keyless go. Plus a Premium Plus Package (£2995) which adds COMAND online, Road Sign Assist and a Burmester premium surround sound system.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015) like to drive?
- Engines range from GLC 220 d Automatic 4Matic to GLC 63 AMG S
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 18–52 mpg
The GLC’s excellent refinement is partly to do with the standard fit twin-clutch nine-speed automatic gearbox, which granted sounds like a lot of clutches and gear ratios, but works wonderfully. On the motorway in ninth the GLC is pulling at a very quiet 1500rpm, though plant the accelerator and it will instantly snap into fourth or fifth without a jolt.
Unfortunately, whether 220d or 250d, the GLC’s four-cylinder engine naturally runs out of steam at the upper end of the rev range, where a V6 diesel simply wouldn’t – Mercedes may lose custom to its rivals on that basis alone.
The 0-62mph times of the pair make for interesting reading, only because the gulf on paper isn’t manifested on the road. The 220d registering an 8.3 second sprint to 62mph and the 250d 7.6 seconds. However, it feels nowhere near that on the road.
In both cases, though, it’s the way the GLC’s maximum torque kicks in at very low revs - 500Nm at 1600rpm in the 250d – that makes it feel quick about town, despite the aforementioned lack of puff at higher speeds.
The caveat to our gushing praise of the GLC’s refinement is that every car we’ve been provided with to date has been complete with optional Airmatic adaptable air suspension, of the type that’s becoming increasingly common in top end and even mid-range, premium cars.
Its Comfort and Sport modes, while never transforming the character of the car entirely, do a good job of either sharpening up the drive (steering, suspension firmness, gear changes), or softening it down markedly. It’s in Comfort mode that the GLC feels like a big, plush, comfortable SUV, and although it does fidget a little at low speeds, it’s largely composed.
The GLC Is also packed with safety equipment, the vast majority of it standard fit and not only conspiring to make the car safer, obviously, but making even the most basic GLC feel like a real high-end tech-fest.
Distronic Plus is radar cruise control that both speeds up and slows the car automatically in motorway traffic, while if the steering wheel pulses in your hands, you’ll know you’re straying from your lane. It’s impressive stuff.
|GLC 220 d Automatic 4Matic||48 mpg||8.3 s||129–158 g/km|
|GLC 250 Automatic 4Matic||37–38 mpg||7.3 s||152–174 g/km|
|GLC 250 d Automatic 4Matic||46 mpg||7.6 s||129–163 g/km|
|GLC 300 d Automatic 4Matic||-||-||157 g/km|
|GLC 350 d Automatic 4Matic||48 mpg||-||159–182 g/km|
|GLC 350d Automatic 4Matic||42–48 mpg||6.2 s||159 g/km|
|GLC 43 AMG||29 mpg||4.9 s||189 g/km|
|GLC 63 AMG||24 mpg||4.0 s||234–278 g/km|
|GLC 63 AMG S||24 mpg||3.8 s||244–283 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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