03-08-2020

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC Driven

REVIEWS

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Are you looking for an SUV- 

Which has a Star Presence to it, not just executive presence, it is modern, is loaded with technology features, but yet continues to have old school elements, carries 4 in utmost comfort wherever it goes and is an able performer on highways as well as the city, and lastly, people will take a note of this SUV when you arrive in lobbies.

The SUV that I am talking about is the updated GLC, which pretty much retains the old styling yet gets some significant updates to keep it fresh amongst the competition.

Before we look at the GLC, it will be interesting to look at its Origin. Most of you will be surprised if I tell you that the GLC is a successor of the Mercedes Benz GLK, which debuted in 2008 and was produced till 2015.

It was in 2015, that Mercedes-Benz went for the restructuring of its product line up and GLK was eventually replaced by the GLC. The name GLK was an acronym for Gelandewagen Lexus Kompaktklasse, which meant, compact SUV

The GLK was internally code-named as the X204 and the GLC came to be called X253. Like the GLK, the GLC’s are assembled in Mercedes-Benz’s plant in Bremen Germany and later in 2017 additionally at Valmet Automotive Plant in Finland. With a brief history done, shall we now look at the SUV- the GLC

Design Language - Exteriors

Well, what we are looking at is the updated GLC, so I would be restricting my views on what’s new. To begin at the front, now it sports, more prominent and in your face 2 slat chrome-finished front grille with the star logo sitting proudly on it. The headlamp cluster is new and now it gets high performance LED headlights with twin DRL’s, which when lit up in the night adorn a pretty well look. The scuff plate gets a chrome treatment to overall enhance the butch look of the GLC. Upfront not much has changed, the changes are subtle, which in my opinion is a good thing, coz the GLC upfront was already a very handsome looking car.

Move to the sides, and pretty much nothing has changed, the window line gets chrome garnishing, there’s chrome highlighter on the footboard and the overall silhouette remains unchanged. I particularly loved the prominent character line which starts shy at the bonnet line and merges beautifully by the rear doors. It’s a nice visual breaker that Mercedes Benz has used here.

What’s changed on the sides, is the alloy wheel design, and the newer ones look sharper and meaner as compared to the outgoing design. Also, pop open the fuel filler cap, and for the diesel car, you will notice the Ad-blue filler while for the petrol it is missing, as the petrol is BS6 now from the word go.

Moving to the rear, while the GLC looks like the pre-facelift GLC, but look closely and you will realize the tail-lamp cluster is new. It is pretty much in-line with the GL family now, whether it is the GLE or the newly launched GLS. Additionally, now there is a chrome finish for the lower lip skirting which adds a dash of elegance.

Pop open the boot and you will find 550 litres of boot space and the seats electronically fold down in 60-30-10 split, giving additional carnivorous 1600 liters of space should you need. Another good thing now is a new cavity underneath the luggage space to store the spare wheel. If you remember, the earlier GLC or any other Mercedes-Benz products had the spare wheel tire strapped in the boot, making the boot absolutely unusable. However, with this newer crop of Mercedes-Benz’s that problem is solved.

Overall I would say, the GLC was always an elegant and pricey looking SUV, and with this fresh mid-life update, I am happy to say that it continues to look the part. Elegant, Suave, and Sophisticated.

Design Language- Interiors

After spending time admiring the car, should we step inside the car now? Now typically Mercedes Benz owners will be spending their time at the rear seat and that’s where I am going to begin this interiors review from.

Let me begin with the seats themselves. Well, the first thing that you will notice immediately once you sit on the seats, is the supreme comfort that they offer. The cushioning is spot on, the recline angle is optimum, while I would have loved tad bit of under-thigh support, but that definitely is not a deal-breaker. While the legroom is optimal, the headroom is a bit compromised due to the dual glass.

The GLC like any other German SUV is once again a 4 seater, the 3rd passenger is going to be extremely uncomfortable owing to the high central transmission tunnel. There are a couple of nice spaces around to hold you tit-bits, the door pockets are deep, the central armrest has adjustable cup holders, a storage area for your phone, however, misses out on the wireless phone charger. Probably, the GLC misses out on the wireless phone charger at the rear, as may be Mercedes Benz wants its GLC owners to spend a lot of their time in the front seat may be. What say, shall we check out the front seat?

Upfront, while the overall fascia looks the same as the pre-facelift car, however, look closely, a couple of things are new.

The newest and the freshest welcome has to be the 10.2-inch centre screen, which is not only wide and slim but now also is touch-enabled. The GLC now gets the Mercedes Benz’s latest MBUX software, which makes this GLC a connected car. There are 70 odd commands that the GLC’s software is programmed to perform. The screen is sleek and the interface is amongst the best in the business. While it is a finger touch magnet, but there are thankfully two more ways in which the screen can be controlled. One is obviously your voice since it is a connected car and second the touchpad on the centre console below, which also is touch-sensitive.

While the center screen has changed is a good thing, what’s not so good is the fact that the driver cockpit still remains analog. For the retro lovers out there, that’s a great thing to happen, but for people who love all virtual displays, will have to look somewhere else.

As mentioned earlier, the dashboard layout hasn’t changed much, which is a good thing, what is better is that Mercedes Benz has changed the color of the central dash-layout. It still continues to get 3 AC vents and that waterfall layout, but where earlier GLC had a wooden finished layout, this one gets a darker shade of grey, which pretty much looks upmarket too.

Mercedes-Benz also updated the GLC with the new steering wheel which again gets touch-sensitive touchpads to operate/command the GLC. The one on the left is for operating the display and one of the rights is for operating the driver MID. I personally found the touchpads a bit finicky to operate especially on the move. While the steering wheel is new, what the GLC sorely misses out is the electronic reach/rake adjustments for the steering wheel. For a 65 lac plus car, this is something that should have been given at that price point.

Set of new goodies now include a wireless charger, multiple USB-C fast charging ports throughout the car, and Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto Compatibility among others.

Speaking on the driver seat, if this is where you are going to spend a lot of your time, let me tell you upfront, this is a good place to be. The seat bolstering just as the rear is spot on, cushioning is supremely comfortable, while I had issues with under-thigh support at the rear, no complains here at all as I get manually adjustable under-thigh extenders, there are 12-way power-operated options to choose my perfect driving position, but albeit memory seats- Why Mercedes Why? But again, that is something that can be ignored. And overall, I would once again say a good place to be.

Well, it’s a Mercedes-Benz, safety is taken, as usual, you get pre-safe features like auto-adjusting seat belts, auto brake assist now, attention assist, multiple airbags and multiple sensors to keep you and the SUV alert at all the times, and ABS with EBD and TCS to round off the safety net.

Overall I would say, the interiors while they have the same look and feel as the pre-facelift model, still retain the modernness that you expect at this price point. Sure, there are some things that are a sore miss, but as I said earlier if you like a dash of modernness which an old school charm to it, the GLC nails it spot-on.

In-Car Entertainment

Well, here’s a bit of good news as well as bad news. While the Mercedes updated the center screen, but they omitted the 13 Speaker Burmeister audio setup in this GLC.

Now the updated GLC gets 8 speaker set-up with a subwoofer on the dash. While it does the job of playing your music library, but there is nothing remarkable about it.

This I feel is a sore miss, coz the competition offers phenomenal audio systems whether BMW or even Volvo or even LandRover.

Performance- Engine & Gearbox

What we had for the review was the Mercedes Benz GLC 200, which was in the petrol guise churning out 190 HP and 320 NM of Torque and then there is the diesel 220d, which churns out 194 HP and 400 NM of Torque. No prizes for guessing which is going to be much peppier.

Both the petrol as well as the diesel are mated to a 9 speed 9-G Tronic Gearbox. The first thing that I noticed as I cranked the engine was the noise. Yes, even though the GLC was in 200 guises, it has noisy growl to it, and that creeps inside the cabin too. Not too pretty sure, if this was the issue with the review car we had or in general. At this price point, I found the noise to be pretty disappointing.

However, look beyond the noise, put the car in the right mode the progress made by the GLC is pretty brisk. And what supports that progress is the absolutely able gearbox which up-shifts or down-shifts pretty quickly.

Barring in the sport plus mode, in all other modes, the GLC did feel a bit restrained. Talking of the modes, the GLC comes in 5 modes, there’s Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual. No prizes for guessing in which mode I was in to ensure that the GLC made quick progress then.

Performance- Ride, Handling & Drivability

If you have driven the pre-facelift GLC, and now behind this GLC, one thing that you will immediately notice is how softer this GLC has become. Where the earlier GLC owners complained about their GLC being overly stiff, they will immediately fall in love with the way this one is tuned. It is softer and gentler and supple. But with that comes a problem, show it some aggression and then the occupants start getting tossed around the cabin. Also, it does not evoke any confidence to go faster in the corners.

While the ride has become supple, the handling is pretty much normal, even though the GLC is a rear-wheel drive, maybe the demeanor of the SUV is such, that she doesn’t entice you to push her hard. The feedback from the steering wheel is pretty much neutral and she can pretty much chug along all day in comfort mode ensuring you as a driver or even you as a rear seat occupant arrives at your destination fresh as a daisy.

To sum it up then, there is no drama behind the wheels of the GLC, its far more soothing to drive, just like any Mercedes-Benz should drive. But it will take you from one place to another in comfort

The Verdict

Well you see, the reasons of buying a GLC is simple. GLC is a SUV which had an executive presence. Show me one Mercedes product that does not have one today. GLC is a SUV which has modern yet, retro touches, didn’t I speak about analog dials coupled with voice commands, and an SUV which takes his family around in total comfort. Well slot the GLC in comfort mode, now with softened suspension, it literally glides over everything. Considering it has much more neutral behaviour to it, your chauffeur will not unnecessarily push it to the core, making you feel uncomfortable. And when the GLC arrives in the lobby, people do turn around and give a glance to it.

If you are in the market to buy the GLC, book it through us and you will get up-to 5 lacs discount on the GLC. So what are you waiting for? Fill in the Book a Test Drive Form below to know more. 

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Mercedes-Benz

About Author
Nilesh Sawant
Nilesh Sawant

With an experience of over 3 lac kms of driving across the continents and with extensive experience of driving on the tracks, and passion for technical things around anything on wheels, reviews written by Nilesh are crisp and to the point.  



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