Mercedes-Benz GLC review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Costs & verdict

Star rating
Mercedes-Benz GLC 2019 infotainment
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  • Mercedes-Benz GLC 2019 infotainment

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The 220d is the cleanest of the GLC’s petrol and diesel engines, with lower official CO2 emissions than the Audi Q5 40 TDI or Land Rover Discovery Sport D180. While the BMW X3 20d emits less CO2, it’s worth bearing in mind that the GLC’s diesel engines are RDE2 compliant, and consequently free of the 4% diesel surcharge that’s applied to the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company car tax of non-compliant cars. That means even the more powerful 300d doesn’t attract the top 37% rate for BIK tax, unlike the GLC300 petrol, which does. Of course, the plug-in hybrid 300e will be the cheapest for company car users, but its CO2 emissions of 54g/km means it’s not as cheap as some rivals.

The GLC could make reasonable sense to a private buyer, too; it costs a similar amount to a Audi Q5 but, while the GLC is predicted to depreciate faster than the Q5 and Land Rover Discovery Sport, discounts are readily available and Mercedes’ finance deals are usually competitive. So, if you’re looking to buy on a PCP deal, be sure to compare it against rivals.

While its official fuel economy doesn’t stand out compared to its rivals, the GLC220d proved more efficient during our testing than the Q5 40 TDI and Discovery Sport D180. If you’re tempted by the 300 petrol, just bear in mind that it’s significantly thirstier than the diesels, while the AMG models have a truly prodigious thirst for fuel.

As if often the case with Mercedes models, servicing costs are higher than the class average.

Equipment, options and extras

If you’re mainly interested in value, entry-level Sport will do fine. It offers plenty of luxuries, including climate control, 18in alloy wheels, heated front seats, keyless start, a rear-view camera and cruise control.

AMG Line models are worth considering for the more comfortable front seats they give you, but the main tweaks are to their styling. AMG Line Premium is tempting; it adds real leather seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 12.3in digital instrument cluster amongst other luxuries, for a reasonable extra fee. The higher-end models are too expensive to recommend, though.

Unfortunately the options list available for the GLC is very limited; GLC Sport models can have a towbar fitted, and you can add a driving assistance pack to all other variants.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 2019 infotainment

Reliability

Mercedes as a brand finished a disappointing 24th place out of 31 manufacturers in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey; that places it behind BMW and Audi but above Land Rover. The GLC finished closer to mid-table in the Large SUV class, above the X3 and Discovery Sport but below the Q5 and Volvo XC60.

The GLC comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty and three years of breakdown assistance: cover that’s similar to that provided for most rivals.

Safety and security

All GLCs have a collision prevention system that can automatically apply the brakes if it detects an impending impact with traffic ahead. All versions have seven airbags and a system that can detect if you’re getting drowsy on a long journey, too.

This all helped the GLC score impressive marks in Euro NCAP safety tests. It was awarded a five star overall rating, collecting scores of 95% for adult protection, 89% for child protection and 82% for pedestrian protection in a crash. Just remember that’s under an older set of guidelines that are less stringent than today’s. You can also add an optional driving assistance pack to all models; it includes blind spot monitoring, active lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control with steering assistance.

An alarm and engine immobiliser are standard on all versions, while security experts Thatcham awarded the GLC five out of five stars for resisting being stolen, and four out of five for resisting being broken into.

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Mercedes-Benz GLC 2019 front cornering
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Overview

As premium SUVs go, the GLC isn’t the best all-rounder – regular versions lag behind rivals, particularly on practicality and driving dynamics. But good engines and a pleasant interior still make it worth considering. Meanwhile, if pace is everything to you (and running costs aren’t) then certainly look at the exceptionally quick AMG-powered options.

  • Well equipped
  • Punchy engines
  • Stylish interior
  • Less spacious for rear seat passengers than rivals
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on cheaper versions
  • Poor steering