The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the German luxury brand’s volume sellers for a reason.
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo
Output: 241 hp, 273 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 9-speed auto
US Fuel Economy (MPG): 21 city, 28 hwy
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 11.1 city, 8.6 hwy, 10.0 combined
US Price (as tested): $46,195
CAN Price (as tested): $56,100
With a focus on usability and luxury, the C-Class manages to not go overboard with any of its attributes – delivering a balanced, well-rounded package that’s never too stiff and sporty, but won’t put occupants to sleep with a dull driving experience. This made it the perfect jumping off point for something even more practical and less driver-focused – the GLC crossover.
The GLC 300 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine making 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It’s joined by an efficiency-focused 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission and Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic full-time all-wheel-drive system. The official ratings for this combo are 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway (11.1 L/100 km city, 8.6 hwy, 10.0 combined), which is close to what I observed during my time with the car. I tried hard to squeeze 30 mpg out of it on a long highway jaunt, but meeting the 28 mpg figure was hard enough.
The 2.0-liter and slushbox auto don’t make for the most exciting powertrain combination, but this now tried-and-true formula effortlessly moves the GLC 300 along (0-60 mph happens in just 5.9 seconds) and manages to never feel sluggish. The powertrain makes itself invisible for the most part, which is exactly what the no-nonsense buyer of the crossover wants.
Blending Into the Crowd
The rest of the car mimics the powertrain’s lack of character, but again, this is just fine. The carefully styled exterior is fairly nondescript and easy on the eyes. Our test car’s appearance was slightly enhanced by the optional 19-inch AMG twin 5-spoke wheels, part of the $1,600 AMG Line package. They probably stiffened the ride up by a tad, but they do add a bit of excitement to an otherwise forgettable design.
We also found the GLC 300 had decent ground clearance in the front, and if customers decide they need more, Mercedes has an optional air suspension system for the crossover. Like all of these “soft-roaders,” though, the GLC is much more likely to find itself parked at the country club than on a trail in Moab.
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A Segment-Leading Place to Sit
Where the GLC truly shines in relation to rival products is inside. The GLC’s interior is among the best in the segment – nearly every surface feels high quality, and the dash design is both attractive and practical. Cargo volume will be what consumers are expecting from a vehicle of this size and shape, and if style trumps practicality, they can always opt for the more svelte GLC Coupe.
Our sole cabin complaint lies with Mercedes’ touchpad and infotainment system. The system itself is responsive and does everything you’d want it to, but the UI is controlled with an awkward blend of touching or swiping the armrest touchpad, using the rotary dial, or clicking the buttons on the touchpad or steering wheel. I was left never really knowing what the proper way or best way to operate the system was, but I imagine most users would figure it all out after spending some time with the car.
The UI itself looks a bit out of date as well, especially when compared with Audi and BMW’s systems, but Mercedes will address this with its nice new MBUX infotainment system. The hydrogen fuel cell GLC F-Cell features the MBUX system, so we’re expecting regular GLC to receive it in a mid-cycle update sometime in the near future.
A GLC for Every Driver
The GLC is a tough product to critique, so we have to give Mercedes some kudos here. Because for nearly every complaint we have about the standard GLC 300, and there are indeed few, Mercedes has a rebuttal. Think the styling’s a bit dull? Get the GLC Coupe. Still not sporty enough? Get the GLC 43 AMG. And if you’re truly bonkers for performance crossovers, allow us to point you in the direction of the 503-hp GLC 63 AMG.
The Verdict: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Review
The GLC 300 is a formidable product with few faults. The driving experience and styling may be a bit yawn-inducing, but that squares with what most buyers in the segment are looking for: a drama-free luxury car to take them from A to B. Go light on the options and you’ll be left with a relatively well-priced, talented all-rounder that’s easy to live with.
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