Mercedes-Benz GLC

220d 4MATIC Sport

Mercedes Benz GLC, front quarter
Mercedes Benz GLC, front
Mercedes Benz GLC, profile
Mercedes Benz GLC, rear quarter
Mercedes Benz GLC, rear
Mercedes Benz GLC, interior
Mercedes Benz GLC, interior rear
Mercedes Benz GLC, dashboard
Mercedes Benz GLC, boot

WE may be living in cash-strapped, austerity-era Britain but there appears to be no shortage of demand for posh, and pricey, family SUVs.

BMW's X3 and the Audi Q5 are long-time favourites but Land Rover's Discovery Sport, the Range Rover Evoque and, more recently, Jaguar's E-PACE and the relaunched Volvo XC60 have all brought their varied talents to an increasingly busy area of the market.

Mercedes' offering, the GLC, was a somewhat late arrival to this potentially lucrative party in the UK after the Stuttgart marque mysteriously chose not to build the predecessor GLK in right-hand drive form.

Better late than never though, and since 2015 the GLC has been an appealing addition to the class - combining Mercedes' sleek modern design language and luxury with the old school SUV staples of space, practicality and all-wheel drive capability.

Those with really deep pockets and a thirst for speed can opt for performance-focused Mercedes-AMG versions powered by either 3.0-litre, six-cylinder or 4.0-litre, eight-cylinder petrol power plants and offering eye-watering pace and acceleration.

Most folk, though, will be shopping in more restrained territory, in relative terms, where they'll find three trim levels - Urban Edition, Sport and AMG Line - with a choice of 2.1 or 3.0-litre diesel engines or a 2.0-litre petrol unit.

All come with a smooth nine-speed automatic transmission and, unlike some rivals, every model gets 4x4 as standard and the option of adding a raised suspension - 20mm higher than standard - as well as the Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension system for improved off-road performance.

The 2.1-litre diesel engine is available with two power outputs on all but entry-level cars and even in its lower 170ps guise offers punchy performance, shifting the GLC from 0-62mph in a respectable 8.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 130mph.

It is also impressively refined and reasonably economical to run, with claimed average fuel economy of nearly 50 miles per gallon.

All GLCs get Mercedes' dynamic drive mode selector - with eco, comfort, sport, sport+ and individual settings - although, in truth, whichever you select the driving experience is more relaxed and smooth than sporty and engaging.

There's plenty of grip and body roll is well contained in corners, while any lumps and bumps in the road are ironed out effectively, especially with that air suspension system fitted.

All of which makes the GLC a comfortable and quiet vehicle in which to travel.

It's a pretty plush one too. The cabin will be familiar to anyone who has sat in the C Class on which the SUV is based and it is everything you would expect of Mercedes in terms of quality and luxury.

Soft-touch surfaces are all around and to my, admittedly untrained, eye it's virtually impossible to distinguish Mercedes' man-made Artico leather upholstery, featured in mid-range Sport models, from the real thing.

This is contrasted black ash wood trim, giving everything a suitably premium and upmarket look and feel. Head and leg room is generous in the back, where, despite a slight transmission tunnel, three adults will fit shoulder to shoulder in reasonable comfort on shorter journeys.

At 550 litres, rising to 1,600 with the 40/20/40-split rear seats folded down, the boot offers plenty of cargo capacity and includes a hidden compartment beneath the floor. A flat load lip and powered tailgate make loading and unloading easy.

Typically of the prestige German brands, there is a range of optional extras as long as your arm, with almost £10,000-worth of add-ons included on my test car, but standard equipment is, nevertheless, good.

Sport models get bespoke body kit and extra chrome trim, a seven-inch display screen, digital radio, navigation, keyless entry and ignition, reversing camera, air conditioning, active park assist and LED headlights.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC Sport

Price: £39,490

Mechanical: 170ps, 2,143cc diesel engine driving all wheels via 9-speed automatic transmission

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 8.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.9

Insurance Group:28

C02 emissions:156g/km

Bik rating: 36%

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