Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015) Review

Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
It may seem hard to stand out in the SUV market, but Mercedes-Benz has built the GLC to offer an impressive all-round package. Endless options and trim levels mean there is likely to be a version to suit almost every need and budget.

+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.

New prices start from £36,425
Insurance Groups are between 27–41
On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure

As a contender in the premium SUV market, the Mercedes-Benz GLC has a battle on its hands. Rivals such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 both offer a similar package of practicality and upmarket aspiration. However, the GLC is well-equipped for the fight, with impressive levels of technology and a high-quality interior. Engine options for the GLC are comprehensive, ranging from efficient diesels through to flame-spitting turbocharged V8 AMG models. Four-wheel drive is standard on all versions and, should you feel brave, the Mercedes is surprisingly capable off the road. A firm ride on some models, and the confusing number of trim levels, count against the GLC.

It seems almost everyone wants an upmarket family SUV, meaning the GLC is an important model in the Mercedes-Benz hierarchy. Slotting above the GLB and below the GLE, it means this 4x4 Benz has to tempt consumers away from the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. 

Handsome exterior styling is likely to sway some floating voters, Mercedes having ensured the GLC looks reassuringly expensive.

Yet avoid the performance AMG versions and it won’t appear too ostentatious in the supermarket car park. For those who want more distinctive styling, Mercedes also offers a separate coupe version of the GLC. 

Regardless of engine or trim level, all versions use the 4Matic four-wheel drive system. Certain models can venture further off-road than you might imagine, but the GLC is happiest when firmly on solid ground. A nine-speed automatic gearbox is standard on every version, adding an extra degree of luxury and refinement to proceedings. 

Engine options for the GLC are numerous, with the core range concentrated on the diesel offerings. The GLC 220d has proven popular with buyers, but the more powerful GLC 300d should not be overlooked. It offers extra pace, but without a huge penalty when it comes to fuel economy.

Petrol-engined versions are less economical, struggling to offset the weight and complexity of the GLC. Fuel economy for the V8 AMG GLC 63 S will likely be as ruinous as you’d imagine. 

The 2020 GLC range also includes an unusual diesel plug-in hybrid. With a 2.0-litre diesel engine complemented by an electric motor, the GLC 300 de can achieve an official 148.7mpg. It is also capable of covering up to 27 miles on battery power alone, and has the potential to be fully charged in just two hours. 

Formidable levels of tech are also found inside the GLC, with the interior packed with the latest gadgets. New 2020 models gain the impressive Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system. Along with touchscreen controls, MBUX can function like a smartphone assistant. Ask it to turn the climate control down or change radio stations, simply by saying “Hey, Mercedes”. 

Even the cheapest GLC, the Sport version, comes loaded with kit. LED headlights, a reversing camera, heated front seats and climate control are all standard. Moving through the rest of the model range can be hard to fathom, the higher new trim levels are all variations of AMG Line specification. Just be aware the top-spec models have larger alloy wheels, which results in a stiffer ride on the sportier AMG Line suspension.

Despite the reams of equipment, the GLC also manages to leave enough space for passengers and luggage. Non-hybrid versions of the GLC can hold 550 litres of cargo with the rear seats up. Curiously, this volume is identical to that accommodated by the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. Four adults will fit inside the GLC with ease, although the rear middle seat is best left for children.

Ask Honest John

Our car was stolen off our drive. What can we do to prevent this happening again?
"As an early Christmas present, we had our keyless-start Mercedes-Benz GLC stolen off our driveway a week ago. Insurance payment on its way. What's the best way to stop us having the same happen? We are looking at a car with a key-only start where the key is like the good old days."
I'm sorry to hear about the theft. As for security measures, other deterrents include steering wheel locks and immobilisers. A car tracker might be worth investing in, depending on how much you want to spend. A company called Tracker would be worth a look. Sometimes, after a car is stolen, it's parked a few miles away because the thieves don't want to be caught with it if it does have a tracker fitted. If it's still there, they come back and sell it, take it apart to sell parts etc. If you have a garage, that's much safer than a car being kept on-street or on a driveway. If you do park on the driveway, a home security system is useful - either with traditional cameras or something less expensive and intrusive, like a motion-triggered Ring video doorbell. Even motion-sensor lights will deter some thieves.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
What is the best mid-size SUV for £25k?
"Now that my family has grown up and are moving out we’d like to replace our reliable Chrysler Voyager load lugger. The requirements are tricky:- supremely comfortable, classy interior, economical to run, high driving position, good dog carrying access, good driveway presence. We currently drive about 16k miles per year. We’d like to buy second-hand for £25kish and this will complement our BMW MSport weekend Cabrio. I think the ride if the BMW X3 is rather harsh and my wife thinks the Audi Q5 interior is rather austere. And is currently anti Volvo. Do you have any suggestions?"
It'd be a shame to dismiss Volvo - the latest XC60 really is excellent and it sounds like it'd meet your needs well. We'd also recommend the Mercedes-Benz GLC or, if you fancy something a little left-field, a Lexus NX. The Lexus is a hybrid which might actually suit your needs quite well.
Answered by Andrew Brady
The wheels on my car feel like they're clunking. Is this characteristic of the model?
"I bought a new facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLC 300d in August 2019. It feels like the wheels are skipping, which the Mercedes dealer recognised in March 2020. Due to Covid-19, the dealer wanted to revisit the issue again in June 2020 and has said - after testing the car - that there’s nothing wrong with it, saying it’s a characteristic of the car. Is there anything I can do? Thanks."
Crabbing is a known issue on the GLC: Ask for a set off all-season tyres. They're meant to fix the issue and Mercedes-Benz has provided them free of charge in the past.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I keep or swap my diesel car for an electric model?
"The lease on my Mercedes-Benz GLC is up in a few months and I’m tempted to buy it at £23,000 with only 30,000 on the clock. Before, it would still be worth something in another three years time. But given current views of diesel, would it hold any value? Would I be better looking at a new I-Pace in the hope battery range will increase within a couple of years?"
It depends what you use your car for, really. We wouldn't recommend changing your GLC for an i-Pace if you cover lots of long motorway journeys. Equally, it might be wise to change your car if you cover lots of short journeys which aren't suited to a diesel. It's difficult to say what's going to happen to residual values for diesel cars but, if anything, the drop in new diesels being bought today might mean there's more demand for second-hand examples in the future. As a compromise, we'd suggest swapping your GLC for a newer version, perhaps with a petrol engine.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015) cost?