Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 April 2020

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 sets pace in crowded SUV territory

It’s entering a crowded market, so what does the 2020 version of this luxury SUV have lurking in its metal heart to ensure onlookers take notice?

Not so long ago, drivers had a relatively easy time deciding what car they wanted to buy. Style, price, shape, etc, made producing a shortlist a simple affair. These days, you might as well stick a poster on your wall featuring the various options you fancy before donning a blindfold and indulging in a game of pin the tail on the donkey.

Even if, say, you’ve got as far as deciding on a five-door, luxury SUV, your choice isn’t clear. Mercedes’ latest entry into this market is the GLC 300, and it’s a vehicle with plenty of rivals – the BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery and Alfa Romeo Stelvio, to name a few. You might even say the R-line Volkswagen Tiguan is a contender, too.

What, then, does the GLC bring to the party? A decent amount, in fact. It’s a smart looker, for a start, which isn’t the case for many of its breed. And when it comes to the driving experience, it’s responsive and avoids that feeling of trying to rodeo ride a small whale. With about 260 horsepower, the car might seem underpowered, but it’s amazing what Mercedes can grind out of its engines. You can get to 100 kilometres per hour in 6.2 seconds from a standing start, which is decent in any SUV that doesn’t have to rely on something akin to a small hadron collider under the bonnet.

Those who are fans of Mercedes’ dashboard information overload will be happy to discover this latest model doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

The rest of the GLC’s stylings on the inside are as lavish as you’d expect. Space for both people and whatever you’ve bought from Ikea is plentiful, and there are lots of electric things to ensure manual labour is kept to a minimum.

Those who can’t even be bothered to push a button will enjoy the Alexa-like voice-assistant system you can use to get things happening inside the cabin. It’s called Hey Mercedes, and you could find yourself saying this when the car’s locked up and you’re at work. Not too much of a trauma, unless you actually have a colleague called Mercedes. Then it all gets a bit embarrassing, frankly.

So, the GLC is a handsome, well-designed car with plenty of gizmos. That might not be enough to convince you, but it should be enough to make it a finalist on that pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey poster at least.

Updated: March 5, 2020 02:33 PM

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