Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015 – 2021) Review

Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015 – 2021) 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.

-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.

Insurance Groups are between 27–47
On average it achieves 87% 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 Mercedes-Benz 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 it. 

It seems almost everyone wants an upmarket family SUV, meaning the Mercedes-Benz 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. Check out our Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe review to find out more. 

Regardless of engine or trim level, all versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLC 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 Mercedes-Benz 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 latest Mercedes-Benz 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. The latest Mercedes-Benz GLC 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 Mercedes-Benz 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 Mercedes-Benz GLC with ease, although the rear middle seat is best left for children.

If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Mercedes-Benz GLC review.

Ask Honest John

How do I know when I need to top up my AdBlue?

"Am I able to monitor the ADBlue my car has in reserve within its vehicle tank and if so how do i do this"
The vehicle will notify you when the AdBlue tank requires refilling, as the amount of AdBlue used depends on how the vehicle is driven.
Answered by David Ross

Does the AdBlue range change depending on driving style?

"I recently bought a used 2017 Mercedes GLC and I noticed that the AdBlue gauge doesn’t seem to change from 3100 miles although I have driven about 500 miles since I last checked. Is this a fault or does the gauge move in large increments?"
The consumption of AdBlue will vary depending on the vehicle and the style of driving, but it is possible to travel anywhere between 5000 and 10,000 miles without requiring a top up. If you are unsure if the gauge is operating correctly you should get this checked by your dealer, but most cars will provide a warning indicator if the AdBlue tank is running low.
Answered by David Ross

What trickle charger should I use for a mild hybrid?

"Can you suggest a suitable trickle charger for my mild hybrid Mercedes GLC 300? There seems to be a lot of choice. "
We would suggest the CTEK MXS 5.0 12v battery charger, which we tested over on Honest John Kit. It's not the cheapest one out there at around £60, but it is a good quality item and will mean you can leave your Mercedes for long periods without fear of the battery being drained.
Answered by David Ross

What should I replace my Honda CR-V with?

"I'm looking for a shortlist of possible options for a used (up to 3 years old) replacement for an ageing Honda CR-V. The Honda has been very practical, but it is now over 10 years old and I would like to try something different. I would still like my wish list to include the best features of the Honda, including good reliability, high driving position, automatic transmission and large luggage carrying capacity, but as it will be used for mainly local journeys with occasional longer trips, I would definitely like much better efficiency, so a petrol/hybrid option would also be preferred."
The Toyota RAV4 is the obvious choice. Both the current and the last generation RAV4 came with a hybrid option that makes them very cheap to run and you don't need to charge them. Both versions are known for their reliability and are also spacious. The Lexus NX is another option but it's quite small, while the RX is big but expensive. If you fancy a plug-in hybrid – which I'd only recommend if you have somewhere to charge the car at home – I'd suggest the new Kia Sorento. You can get PHEV versions of cars like the Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC, but they're more expensive and not as spacious. Reviews of all these cars, below:
Answered by Russell Campbell
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz GLC (2015 – 2021) cost?