With the rise of the crossover-style vehicles over the last few years, luxury car manufacturers have capitalized just about every opportunity available. This begs the question: is the new Mercedes GLC300 a good vehicle, or is it just another “luxury” branded crossover in a sea of underwhelming options? Let's breakdown our thoughts about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4MATIC.
Let's start off with this. There's a common misconception that any crossover is an SUV, but I don't necessarily agree with that. It's impossible to compare the GLC300 to the G Wagon and the Range Rover L405. While Mercedes-Benz may market the GLC as a luxury SUV, that's not quite the truth. The Mercedes GLC300 4MATIC is, in my opinion, the best value for a luxury crossover on the market today, but it's far from the best luxury SUV – even in the Mercedes lineup.
Here's some of what I love and hate about the Mercedes GLC300 4MATIC for the 2017 model year.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Mercedes GLC300 4MATIC is the incredible powertrain. The GLC300 4MATIC we reviewed had a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged engine matched to a 9-speed automatic transmission. While the engine is overall a much smaller unit than some of the competition, it should be said that you would never notice. During my time with the 4 cylinder 2018 Range Rover Velar, I noticed a huge lack of power throughout the day. I was constantly wanting the Velar to be more than what it was in that aspect. In the Mercedes GLC300, however, it was a completely different story. The GLC300 felt like there was plenty of power at any speed, and thanks to the incredible gearbox design, it was able to pick the perfect gear for every driving condition – a big step from Mercedes-Benz models of a few years ago.
On top of the engine and gearbox, the GLC300 is also available with the 4MATIC package (AWD). The base GLC300 is paired with a RWD system, which, honestly, I'm sure is fine for 90% of the owners. The 4MATIC likely will just make people who might have to drive over a gravel parking lot to take their kids to soccer feel more comfortable. Overall, though, the 4MATIC system in the Mercedes GLC300 is a great system. While it's not as composed as the Range Rover Velar or the X3's AWD system, it certainly gets the job done if you need AWD.
Quite possible my favorite feature of the Mercedes GLC300 is the dynamic driving modes. From someone with a 2011 Range Rover, the world of dynamic driving modes is quite fascinating, even though I've been around them for years. The Sport mode in the GLC300 makes the entire vehicle more responsive and a pure pleasure to drive enthusiastically – for a crossover. It's certainly much more fun to drive than a Hyundai Santa Fe, which (after options) comes close to the price of the Mercedes GLC300… Go figure.
The interior of the Mercedes GLC300 is stunning. It's a fantastic place to be… if you're in the front seats. The rear seats of the Mercedes-Benz GLC300 lacks A LOT of luxury that you might expect from Mercedes. While it's a great overall interior experience with the infotainment system, driver assistance, technology, leather, wood, and comfort, the rear of the GLC300 is lacking a lot of features. When I say lacking, here's what I mean.
In the rear of the GLC300, you get a seat and a small cup holder. That's all. But, in typical Mercedes fashion, that should be good enough for you. Aside from the S-Class, the rear of Mercedes-Benz models have always been a little behind the competition, and that's perfectly fine. I would assume most people with messy kids aren't going to opt for the GLC unless they absolutely want it. Then again, with little to mess up, it's possible the GLC300 is the best car for them.
Overall, the interior of the GLC300 is nice. The quality of the materials feels solid, and the tech is pretty great for the price range. This most disappointing part was the rear seat comfort.
When driving the Mercedes GLC300, you still get the feeling of driving a smaller vehicle, but you're also warped in the luxury features of a high-end vehicle (in the front seats). The suspension is comfortable, and the steering is very responsive or luxurious (depending on the dynamic driving mode). The Mercedes GLC300 is well above the competition when it comes to driving experience, and you feel powerful looking down at the Mercedes-Benz logo in the steering wheel. That's a HUGE part of what I love about the GLC.
While it's hard to compare the Mercedes GLC300 to the likes of the Range Rover Velar (powertrain aside), it's far from the low level of the Volvo XC60, Audi Q5 and even the BMW X3. If you're looking for the reliable, refined, and sophisticated option in a sea of bland crossovers, the Mercedes GLC300 is the best out of all of the German competitors. If the Velar wasn't an option, I'd be at the Mercedes-Benz Dealership picking one out. It's truly a fantastic vehicle, and I have to give it to Mercedes for building a crossover that actually has some uniqueness left when compared to BMW, Volvo, and Audi.