Mercedes-Benz: 2016 GLC 250d review

Mercedes-Benz: 2016 GLC 250d review

Mercedes-Benz, in New Zealand at least, was a little late to the compact luxury SUV market.

It’s mid-size luxury SUV the ML-Class is now called GLE-Class and the large luxury SUV the GL-Class which is now called GLS-Class, are two such model lines which have done well in their respective market segments.

While BMW is into its second generation of X3, and Audi has the Q5, up to now Mercedes-Benz has not had a foot in the hugely popular compact luxury SUV segment.

2016 GLC-Class 250d interiorGlobally, the company has not been without options, in many markets it had the GLK, a quirky little unit which it could be argued that we were better off without, as due to some engineering issues with the drivetrain it was only available to left-hand-drive markets.

But now Mercedes-Benz are now establishing themselves in the compact luxury SUV market with the C-class derived GLC–Class which is named after a Welsh Rapper group.

Of course, I’m kidding.

2016 GLC-Class 250d rear viewIf you were looking for a platform base for a new SUV, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is about as good as it gets. The car has been a sales success since its launch a little over a year ago and has received applause from the media and public alike.

The GLC-Class builds on that, retaining the feel of the sports-sedan, with the height and practicality, you would expect of a luxury SUV. It feels less sporty than either the Audi or BMW models in this segment, and more city focussed. The steering is not without feel but does feel light to the touch.

For the GLC-Class in New Zealand, the Mercedes-Benz 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is a standard feature, with the default position being a rear-wheel-drive bias.

The 250d driven by Auto Media Group Limited is well kitted out. There are 20-inch alloys, leather trim throughout, electric front seats, dual climate control, and illuminated door sills.

All GLC-class variants get a 7-inch display with Mercedes wheel and ouch-panel controlled interface, and five speakers with a ‘FrontBass’ system. An improved Burmester sound system is a $2600 option. All get satellite navigation as standard equipment.

The GLC’s interior is similar to most new generation Mercedes-Benz passenger models. There is a broad swath of wood across the dashboard which then flows down towards the centre console, with chromed round vents.

The design is a nod to past Mercedes-Benz interiors but even at this end of the range, it adds more than a hint of luxury car flair.

There are three models in the GLC range to date – an AMG model will surely follow.

The “entry-level” model is the GLC 220d, running a 2.2-litre single-turbo diesel producing 125kW and 400Nm at $89,900.

The mid-range GLC 250 running 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol producing 155kw and 350Nm is next on the price list at $94,900,

Topping the GLC-Class range is the GLC 250d with a twin-turbocharged version of the 2.2-litre diesel, producing 150kW and a stumping-500Nm of torque, priced from $96,900.

Safety features include nine airbags, collision prevention assist plus, pre-safe, and blind spot assist. Run flat tyres, blind spot assist, and crosswind assist is also standard features.

In addition to this specification, the GLC 250 models also include the driver assistance package plus, which includes: Distronic Plus with steering assist, pre- safe brake and pre-safe plus, and BAS Plus with cross traffic assist, active blind spot assist, and active lane keeping assist.

The new GLC-Class features the agility control suspension with steel springs and a variable damping system as standard. It also offers the option of a multi-chamber air suspension system, and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping called Air Body Control for $2490.

Packages available include the Comand package ($2990), the AMG line package ($3490), the vision package ($3990), and the air balance package ($490).

All three engines are paired to the firms familiar 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. With a few Mercedes-Benz vehicles on test consecutively, I feel I am finally getting used to their column-mounted transmission shifter which sits on the right-hand side of the steering wheel.

There are also paddles on the steering wheel for manually overriding the automatic transmission when required.

It is roomy, in both the front and the back, although some of that space may come at the expense of a slightly shallower boot.

The GLC 250d’s rear seat features a 40/20/40 split and offers a cargo position which increases the load capacity by locking the backrests at a steeper angle. The load capacity with the rear seats in place is 580 litres and 1600 litres when folded flat.

You have to search carefully for flaws with the GLC 250d, and I did find one. The brake backing plates were prone to picking up stones during cheap-seal roadworks in the Auckland summer, making an awful noise. It’s a uniquely New Zealand issue.

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