When you think Mercedes-Benz SUV, you probably think G-Wagon. Maybe you’ll even remember the GLK that was sold from 2008 to 2015. The design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz SUVs back in those days were based on utility, projected strength, yet still have a luxurious and comfortable cabin to drive, or be driven around in. 2015 would be the end of the boxy and lovable GLK, handing over the reigns to the GLC-Class. Now featuring a more modern and aerodynamic design, the GLC shares the same platform as the C-Class. Does this mean the GLC is merely a C-Class on stilts? Or does the GLC make a worthy contribution to the growing portfolio of Mercedes-Benz products?
When I was first handed the keys of the GLC 200, I thought to myself, isn’t this kind of low for an crossover/SUV? Granted, the shared C-Class platform does provide for some limitations, but the targeted clientele won’t be interested in off-road excursions in their shiny Benzes. The G stands for Geländewagen (German for off-road vehicle), the L stands as a linkage to the letter C, pertaining to the C-Class. So, in naming essence, this is an SUV C-Class. Naming conventions aside, the Artico Black on our tester GLC 200 was stunning. We also happened to have the Exclusive pack added on, featuring a chrome package, 18-inch alloy wheels with a five spoke design, and agility comfort suspension. And oh is that suspension worth it.
There’s a definite road presence to the GLC 200. The torch running lights combined with the huge three-pointed star logo dominating the center of the two slat grille can lead to some turned heads. While it may be shorter than the average crossover or premium compact SUV, the GLC 200 definitely feels stockier and wider, kind of leaning towards a sportier and road-going stance. And that’s okay, because the GLC 200 not only looks good, but handles just as well. More on that later. The inside of the GLC 200 offers up a good amount of space thanks to maximizing the wheelbase and the dimensions of the C-Class platform. There’s a generous amount of trunk space, too, hitting more than 540 liters of space with the rear seats up. Seat adjustment for front passengers is a breeze as they are electronically adjustable and have memory functions. The trunk is accessible via a power liftgate, and keyless entry is standard.
Quality leather and materials dot the cabin, and while plastic can be found, they are of the soft touch variety. Rattles and panel gaps do not exist in a Mercedes-Benz cabin, and the modern look of the outside finds its way on the inside with piano black accents and metal trims. Even the buttons and switches to manipulate the climate controls and audio system feel nice to touch, some having a nice weight and feel to them.
The Cockpit Management and Data system (COMAND) that controls all vehicle functions via a seven inch high resolution display is a joy to use, unfortunately this is hampered somewhat by a weird knob/touchpad configuration. The touch pad itself rests above the knob, meaning that those used to rotating to fly through menus will have to contort their fingers to avoid hitting the touchpad. No problem if you prefer the touchpad, but it was an interesting design choice to have two interface methods to do the exact same thing. Either way, the buttons located to the side for added menu functions are easily accessible. The rear camera is also displayed here with different viewing angles and adaptive parking lines. This complements the front and rear parking sensors. Our tester also had a Burmester surround sound system for listening pleasure. It’s quite obvious that the combination of the exterior and interior were made to appeal to a wider audience, those looking for a car that’s gentle on the eyes (yet unmistakably a Mercedes) and comfortable and well-appointed for its passengers.
Insert the key fob and turn it to have the GLC 200 come to life, and use the steering column mounted shifter to place the car in drive. The GLC 200 is powered by a 2.0L four cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 184 hp and 300 Nm of torque accompanied by a nine-speed automatic transmission. The accelerator is an organ type and offers up some progressive feel, leading to good pick up when needed, and precision throttling when finessed. Those engine numbers also make the GLC 200 very brisk. Don’t expect breathtaking acceleration, as the GLC 200, even in sport and sport+ modes, accelerates with gusto and purpose in a civilized manner. It’s an isolating experience, as the noise suppression is fantastic, making anyone appreciate the Burmester sound system even more. The adaptive comfort suspension is also a perfect match to the GLC 200, creating a supple experience on all but the worst pothole-ridden roads. Hit a bump, and the thud is transferred ever so slightly. The steering is also nicely balanced, as it offers progressive feel instead of sharpness - it transmits a good combination of road comfort and body control. That nine speed shifts excellently, too.
On the highway, the GLC 200 feels planted and solid, as the kilometers pile on at a steady pace. On the backroads, despite it being slightly tall, body roll is minimal, and you can still have some fun. While the grip threshold isn’t high, think of the complaining tires as an indicator to be alert and be on your toes. It’s exactly the type of vehicle that fits the everyday car bill, as the GLC 200 is functional yet still allows for your whole family to take a trip out of town. It’s rear-wheel drive, and there is an all-wheel drive version available (4Matic), but it’s not essential and will not detract from how the GLC 200 performs everyday duties. The GLC 200 also features an intelligent lighting system that adapts to steering inputs, the sets of beams turning to the inside and outside of corners to maximize visibility. This Mercedes-Benz also happens to be fairly efficient, yielding a solid 8km/l in city traffic, with highs of 14km/l at a steady pace on expressways.
While the GLC 200 may stray from previous generations of G, the newest iteration offers up a very comprehensive package, combining style, performance, and comfort while slightly undercutting competitors such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. It certainly feels good to drive and will be a stylish statement vehicle to tackle everyday duties with. If you happen to be in the market for a premium compact SUV, then the Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 should prove to be a worthy contender.
184 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 Exclusive
PRICE ON REQUEST
Number of Cylinders
Number of Valves
9-Speed Automatic Transmission (9G-TRONIC)
Max Output (HP)
184 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max Torque (nm)
300 Nm @ 1,200 rpm
Economy & Environment
Number of Doors
Number of Seats
Safety & Security
Front Passenger's Airbag
Electronic Brake Distribution
Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist
Electronic Door Locks
Speed Sensing Door Locks
Lane Departure Warning System
Blind-Spot Detection System
Front Parking Sensors
Rear Parking Sensors
Push Start Button
Wheels Metal Type
Automatic Climate Control (Thermatic)
7-inch high-resolution display with Cockpit Management and Data (COMAND) system
Bluetooth, iPod, and USB
3 Years (100,000 km)
Electric Adjustable Seats
Steering Wheel Audio Control
Active Park Assist
Hill Start Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring
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