The GLC is the best-selling Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. It’s luxurious, peppy and loaded with features and tech, making it a top contender in the competitive luxury SUV/crossover category.
The five-passenger GLC was introduced for the 2016 model year and has received updates every year. For 2020, the GLC gets refreshed with an upgraded infotainment system with a larger touchscreen; new multi-function steering wheel, front and rear bumpers, and radiator grille, and some trims get more horsepower.
The GLC comes in five trims: GLC 300, GLC 350e, AMG GLC 43, AMG GLC 63, and AMG GLC 63 S. There’s also a plug-in hybrid, the GLC 350e.There are two body styles: one is your usual four-door configuration, the other is a more rakish two-door coupe. Starting prices range from $42,500 to $84,100 with the coupe starting at $50,000. Rear-wheel-drive is standard on the four-door models and all-wheel-drive is available for an additional $2,000. The coupe comes standard with all-wheel-drive.
Several engine choices are available. The base is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The AMG GLC 43 gets a twin turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 385 horses and 384 pound-feet. The AMG GLC 63 has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that generates 469 horses and 479 pound-feet. Want more power? The AMG GLC 63 S Coupe increases the horsepower to 503 in the V8.
My tester has the base engine. There’s some turbo lag but otherwise the GLC is energetic and performs well in every day driving situations. There’s plenty of power for merging and passing at freeway speeds, steering is responsive, and the ride is smooth. The GLC has a fairly tight turning radius which makes it easy to drive in busy city traffic and slip into tight parking spaces. While the GLC may not be as sporty as some rivals, it handles well and is engaging and pleasant to drive. Visibility is good all the way around.
You can choose your preferred driving mode with different suspension settings: Sport, Sport+, Comfort and Eco. With the optional Offroad Engineering package, two off-road driving modes are also available: Offroad is good for surfaces such as snow, sand or gravel, while Offroad+ is available for rocky terrain and steep gradients.
Fuel economy is about average for a small crossover. EPA ratings for my tester are 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24. I got 24 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The modern interior is luxurious with premium materials including real wood and faux or real leather. Seats are roomy and supportive. Average-sized adults will be comfortable in both rows, however, in the coupe, taller adults may wish for more headroom because of the sloping roofline.
Standard features include a rearview camera, faux leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MBUX infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system replaces the COMAND system and is more user-friendly. The system uses artificial intelligence to learn and adapt to the user. “Hey Mercedes” is the keyword for the voice control function. A larger 10.25-inch touchscreen is standard and a 12.3-inch touchscreen is available. The large touchscreen is easy to see and reach, graphics are sharp, and menus are organized in a sensible way. In addition to using the touchscreen and voice commands, you can control the system with buttons, a touchpad, steering wheel controls and gestures.
Several driver assistance technologies are standard including blind spot monitoring with exit warning function, active brake assist, crosswind assist and driver drowsiness monitoring. The standard Pre-Safe system tightens seat belts and rolls up the windows if a crash is imminent.
Available features include keyless entry, head-up display, leather upholstery, front sport seats, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, 13-speaker Burmester premium surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, a rear-seat entertainment system and the MBUX Augmented Reality navigation. This system has front-mounted cameras that record a video image of the surroundings and adds the information directly to the navigation information. For example, house numbers and large directional arrows pointing you in the right direction are shown directly on the media display. Cool, eh?
Available driver assistance features include lane keep assist, evasive steering assist, route-based speed adaptation, traffic sign recognition, pedestrian detection, a surround-view parking camera system, active park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and Pre-Safe Plus which can detect a potential rear collision and apply the brakes, reducing risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
Cargo space is respectable for a small crossover. The four-door GLC has 19.4 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 56.5 cubes with the second row folded. The Coupe has 17.6 cubes behind the second row and 49.4 cubes with the second row folded. A power liftgate is standard and a hands-free liftgate is available. The GLC has lots of small storage spaces throughout the cabin.
Wide range of engine choices
User-friendly MBUX infotainment system
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
More expensive than many rivals and price can climb quickly with options
Some turbo lag with the base engine
Limited headroom in second row of Coupe models
My tester starts at $44,500. Diamond White metallic paint is $1,515. AMG saddle brown and black leather is $1,620. AMG Y 5-spoke wheels are $750. MB-Tex dashboard and upper door sills are $350. Passenger seat memory with adjustable thigh support is $350. Ventilated front seats are $450. Panorama roof is $1,500. Heated steering wheel is $250. Head-up display is $1,100. 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is $750. Three-zone climate control is $760. Burmester surround sound system is $850. Heat and noise insulating front-side dual-pane glass is $150. Heated rear seats are $580. Inductive wireless charging and NFC pairing are $200. Driver Assistance Package is $1,700 and includes Active Distance Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Pre-safe Plus, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Speed limit Assist and Route-based Speed Adaptation. The Parking Assistance Package is $1,290 and adds Active Parking Assist, Surround View System, and hands-free access. The Exterior Lighting package is $800 and adds an LED intelligent light system and adaptive highbeam assist. The Multimedia Package is $1,250 and adds Mercedes-Benz navigation, augmented video for navigation, live traffic and speed limit assist. The AMG Line is $1,600 and adds AMG body styling, brushed Aluminum sport pedals with rubber studs, AMG floor mats, and perforated front brake discs with Mercedes-Benz calipers. The Premium Package is $500 and adds keyless entry, SiriusXM radio, 64-color ambient lighting and illuminated door sills. Delivery fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $63,810.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a joy to drive and loaded with all of the bells and whistles you’d expect in a luxury crossover. It’s no wonder that it’s the most popular Mercedes-Benz in the U.S.