Test: Mercedes GLC, we take the same ones and start again (2023)
Yes, believe us, the new Mercedes-Benz GLC is here. It’s clear that in recent years, Stuttgart has chosen evolution over revolution when it comes to its traditional models. However, this latest addition has more than one trick to its hat.
We know each other, right?
While the new GLC bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor, differences are still worth noting. Like the increased size, it must be admitted a little, but at the same time increased. So, while the wheelbase has increased by 15mm, it is 60mm longer and 4mm lower. Thanks to the new MRA2 platform, it shares with the latest C-Class among others.
In terms of appearance, we first note the narrowed headlights. Moreover, the latter can be equipped with digital projectors that literally turn night into day. The large grille is still present, as is the front bumper flanked by aerodynamic air intakes. The flanks are more developed thanks to the rising body line and smoother, less ripped shapes, especially at the rear. Finally, we end up with a rear face dominated by two triangular optics that deviate from the quadruple visual signature that has been a hallmark of Stuttgart SUVs until now.
GLC, but above all C
We continue seven different games in the cabin. Moreover, this time we are not comparing the old with the new, but rather putting the latter ahead of its sibling. Yes, the GLC’s interior looks straight out of a C-Class: Fabric for fabric, screw for screw, screen for screen. After all, there is nothing more normal, because this newcomer is only, in the simplest sense of the word, an SUV of the C-Class.
In short, therefore we find a high dashboard dominated by five round vents and two large screens. For fear of repetition: the device size is 12.3 inches, while the MBUX infotainment system uses an 11.9-inch port format board. The same elements are accompanied by the same mixed ergonomics of touch and haptic controls, especially the steering wheel.
For the rest, the interior of the new GLC remains comfortable and relatively spacious. The rear seat will fit almost all sizes, but it does have an oversized boot compared to its predecessor. More precisely, 70 liters.
Another innovation of this new generation is its 100% hybrid philosophy. However, with half of the engines being mild hybrids, the news should be taken with a grain of salt. These are two gasoline and two diesels, all based on a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 204 to 258 (GLC 200 and 300) or 197 to 269 (GLC 220 d and 300 d). In that case, the Mercedes does its job well and uses a starter alternator that boosts 23 horsepower.
These days, you can’t release a premium SUV without a plug-in hybrid option. Stuttgart goes one step further by offering three power levels… and two fuels! Plug-in hybrid GLCs still based on a kit that combines a gasoline or diesel engine with a 136 hp electric motor 313 hp (GLC 300 de) – 333 hp (GLC 300 e) and even 381 hp (GLC 400 e) suggest. More importantly, the large 31.2 kWh battery gives an electric range of over 100 km!
Comfort and maneuverability
Regardless of the engine, the key word of the new GLC is comfort. Although it is equipped with a new front suspension and a directed rear axle (optional), it cannot be said that it is comfortable in the corners of the special rally. Despite the fairly loud 4-cylinder diesel of our test model (GLC 220 d), sound insulation is of a high standard.
However, the suspension is a small black spot. Our air-suspended model felt weak and never did a good job of soaking up small bumps in the road or controlling large, extreme wheel movements. On the highway, we feel this aspect less, and the new GLC absorbs kilometers without running away. It is also where he drinks the least. Our week ends with an average of 5.4l/100km, but a road trip to the Ardennes results in 4.8l/100km. Impressive for an all-wheel drive (large) SUV!
Priced from €57,475 (the GLC 200 is not available in France), the new GLC isn’t cheap, but it’s on the nail in terms of mid-range SUVs. The diesel version tested here starts at €58,685 (France: €60,700), while the first plug-in hybrid costs €72,358 (France: €70,401). It is slightly above the competition with equivalent motorization.
The new Mercedes GLC represents a major evolution compared to its predecessor, primarily in terms of on-board technology, but above all in terms of engines. This GLC 220 d reminds us that you don’t have to be a hybrid (auto/rechargeable) to have sparrow fuel economy…