New for 2020: Mercedes-Benz has given the GLC-Class a facelift for the 2020 model year, gracing the compact crossover with a fresh new grille, LED headlamps and taillights, and a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 14 more horsepower than before. In addition, the plug-in-hybrid model has been given a bigger battery pack and a new motor, with a substantial boost in peak torque, and all models benefit from a new version of Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is Mercedes’ compact crossover utility vehicle that replaced the GLK-Class as of 2016. It’s Mercedes’ best-selling line in North America, thanks to its mix of class, luxury, and practicality at an accessible price point. Like the GLK it replaced, the GLC shares its underpinnings with the C-Class sedan—a solidly well-engineered staple in the compact luxury sedan segment.

The C-Class’s characteristic virtues—a poised, quiet, comfortable ride in a nicely appointed package—are every bit as present in the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, albeit joined by a dose of practicality and versatility the sedan can’t match. Perhaps that’s why it’s become such a pivotal model; Mercedes-Benz sells more GLCs in the US market than any other model, and in 2019, it outsold the larger, more expensive GLS by more than three to one.

All GLCs save for the high-performance AMG models are powered by a 255-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission. An available plug-in-hybrid powertrain boosts total output to 315 horsepower.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class starts at $43,495 in the US market, including destination, with the all-wheel-drive 300 4Matic starting $2,000 higher at $45,495. The plug-in-hybrid model is more expensive still, starting at $51,645.

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Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Powertrain

In North America, the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class offers a single engine-transmission combination. It pairs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a nine-speed automatic box. Peak output stands at a hefty 255 horsepower, with 273 lb-ft of torque. By default, that output is routed to the rear wheels, although Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive is available as a $2,000 option.

The AWD system is non-negotiable on the plug-in-hybrid GLC 350e 4Matic. The 35oe couples the same engine/transmission combination with a 90-kW electric motor and a 13.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The electric motor’s supplementary 121 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque contributes to a peak total output of 315 horsepower, with a whopping 516 lb-ft of torque.

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Features and Pricing

GLC 300: Starts at $43,495 (4Matic AWD + $2,000)

The Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 comes standard with premium heated faux-leather upholstery and power-adjustable front seats. The driver’s perch gets memory function as well. A power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers are standard as well. That coupled with auto-dimming driver’s side and inside rearview mirrors guarantees a comfy, premium driving experience in every GLC.

Unusual for the segment, the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class lacks standard active driver assistance features. Only Blind Spot Assist comes standard. A $1,700 Driver Assistance Package lumps in most everything else. Adaptive cruise control, steering assist, brake assist with cross-traffic, lane-keeping assist, and evasive steering assist are all included. But to get the Parking Assistance package, you have to shell out an extra $1,290. This includes the park assist along with the surround camera view.

GLC 350e 4Matic: $51,645

Most of the GLC 350e’s extra cost comes from its sophisticated plug-in-hybrid system. The model offers little additional standard equipment beyond the standard GLC 300. Mercedes’ 4Matic AWD is standard on the GLC 300e.  It is revamped for the 2020 model year to deliver a more nimble, exciting driving experience. A remote pre-entry climate control function has been added as well. It can warm or cool the cabin before the start of your drive.

But by far the biggest selling point of the GLC 350e 4Matic is the fuel savings with its pure-electric driving mode. That’s the model’s only real raison d’être.

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Recommended Trim

For the savvy Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class shopper, we recommend the GLC 300 4Matic with the Multimedia and Driver Assistance Packages. Why? The $1,250 Multimedia Package is required equipment with the Driver Assistance Package, and it includes useful features like onboard navigation with live traffic, and Speed Limit Assist. The $1,700 Driver Assistance Package, meanwhile, is worth its weight in gold, lumping in just about every must-have driver assistance feature for today’s congested roads.

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Fuel Economy

The two-wheel-drive 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg on the combined test cycle, from 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That combined fuel economy rating is no better than the GLC 300 4Matic with its all-wheel drive. Although, the 4Matic does net one fewer mile per gallon on both the city and highway test cycles.

Numbers for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4Matic aren’t yet available from the EPA. But the pre-facelift version of the plug-in hybrid hardly set the world on fire with its efficiency. The 2019 model managed just 25 mpg during regular hybrid use – a scant 1 mpg better than the current non-hybrid models.

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class vs Audi Q5

In terms of performance, comfort, and price, the Mercedes-Benz and Audi Q5 are equally matched. The Audi does get extra points for its standard quattro system. It should come as no surprise that, just as the GLC is Mercedes’ best-selling model in the US, the Q5 is Audi’s hottest product. Both models are similarly comfortable and well-appointed inside, although we would give the win to Mercedes in terms of overall niceness— if only just.

In the end, the Audi Q5 might just edge out the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class by virtue of its standard all-wheel drive. It also boasts of a greater array of standard driver assists, but ultimately, which one is the more attractive compact utility vehicle proposition is largely a matter of taste.

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Read More 2018 Audi Q5 Review

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class vs BMW X3

BMW has built a reputation for offering the engaging, driver-oriented option in whatever segment it competes. The BMW X3 is no exception. It outguns the Mercedes-Benz GLC with regard to balance, handling, and overall satisfaction. Plus, its powertrain is the more compelling of the two despite being quite similar on paper.

Sealing the deal, the BMW X3 starts at a lower price point than the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, and while it can’t quite match the GLC in terms of overall refinement and cabin niceness, it’s a very close second in those metrics.

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Read More 2018 BMW X3 Review

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class vs Volvo XC60

2020 volvo xc60 review

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we defy anyone to say the Volvo XC60 isn’t a handsome beast, inside and out. It’s also a fair bit less expensive than the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class to start, and if there’s one automaker with a reputation for safety that can rival that of Mercedes, it’s Volvo.

The XC60 edges out the GLC-Class with regard to interior roominess, and it delivers significantly more cargo space, but the Mercedes wins in terms of overall premium look and feel. The question of XC60 or GLC ultimately comes down to priorities; if practicality and a rich feature set are toward the top of your must-have list, the XC60 is likely the better choice. If refinement and a premium luxury experience matter more to you, go for the Mercedes.

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Read More 2018 Volvo XC60 Review
Read More Mercedes-Benz GLC Review

Detailed Specs

Price Range / $43,495 – $51,645
Engine / 2.0L I4 Turbo / 2.0L I4 Turbo + 85 kW electric motor
Power (hp) / 255 / 315
Torque (lb-ft) / 273 / 516
Fuel Economy (mpg, city/highway/combined) / 22/29/24 / 21/28/24
Transmission, Drivetrain / 9AT, RWD/AWD

Our Final Verdict

It’s easy to see why the GLC-Class is such a hot-selling model within Mercedes’ US portfolio. It represents something of a sweet spot with regard to size and price, delivering the brand’s characteristic luxury and refinement at a price point a multitude of buyers can stomach. We’re a bit taken aback by the dearth of standard active driver assist features, but at least the premium look and feel don’t cost extra.

The GLC’s recent facelift will have to tide Mercedes over for at least a couple more years while a replacement is readied, and from where we sit, it seems the automaker should have no trouble; the latest GLC-Class is one of the strongest offerings in the segment.