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Mercedes-Benz GLC Class (2022 - ) review

Latest generation of the popular mid-size Mercedes SUV is posh, packed with tech and especially impressive as a hybrid

Dan Trent

Words by: Dan Trent

Published on 3 April 2023 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

4.5

Available new from £52,880

There seems to be no end to the popularity of SUVs and Mercedes has a wide range to choose from, meaning it’s sometimes hard to figure out where they all fit in. For context, this latest GLC picks up from its successful predecessor, the C-Class foundations meaning it technically competes with the likes of the BMW X3, Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5, even if the price puts it on terms with more premium rivals like the Range Rover Velar. So, it’s expensive. But it feels worth the money, thanks to slick and stylish onboard tech and one of the most impressive plug-in hybrid systems we’ve driven.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickImpressive hybrid system
  • tickSlick tech
  • tickGorgeous interior
Mercedes-Benz GLC static rear

Running costs for a Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

With home charging you could genuinely treat the plug-in GLC as an electric vehicle for most commutes or regular daily trips

Mercedes is making a decisive move upmarket to its traditional premium status, which is reflected in the GLC’s pricing. At least there’s a simple to understand progression up the trim levels, with £5,000 gaps between them and a split between regular petrol and diesels more advanced plug-in hybrid models (PHEVs), which can travel an impressive 80 miles or so on electric power alone by the official stats. This is at least double what most rivals offer, and means with charging at home you could genuinely treat the plug-in GLC as an electric vehicle for most commutes or regular daily trips. True, these plug-in versions are a lot more expensive upfront. But a higher-rate tax payer running one as a company car will make that back with change on Benefit In Kind costs over the course of a typical three-year finance term, so in the long run that extra expense could in fact turn out to be a saving.

Expert rating: 4/5

Mercedes-Benz GLC badge

Reliability of a Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

The three-year standard warranty isn’t much to write home about

Like most of its premium rivals Mercedes generally doesn’t do as well as its image suggests it should when it comes to reliability surveys, this often skewed by the greater expense of fixing things when they do go wrong. Given what you’re paying you’d be reasonable expecting Mercedes to sort anything out if you encounter any issues, though the three-year standard warranty isn’t much to write home about. With the tech under this GLC still relatively new to the market we’ll have to hope it’s more dependable than some earlier Mercedes, and that won’t be an issue.

Expert rating: 4/5

Mercedes-Benz GLC parking camera

Safety for a Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

If you can stretch to it the full safety package brings a whole extra level of automated alerts and interventions

The range of safety technology available for the GLC is super impressive in its scope and ability to keep you out of trouble, but we need to dock at least a point here on the basis it’s only available as the cost option Driver Assistance Package Plus. Mercedes would argue the technology is expensive, but the GLC is already a very pricey car and you’d hope for more as standard. As it stands you get a reversing camera, assisted parking that intervenes if you still don’t spot obstacles when backing up, automated braking that cuts in if you don’t respond to an oncoming hazard and driver drowsiness alert. If you can stretch to it the full safety package brings a whole extra level of automated alerts and interventions like lane-keeping and blind spot warnings for all manner of driving scenarios. But it’s annoying this option is only available for the already expensive top trim level, and not across the full range.

Expert rating: 4/5

Mercedes-Benz GLC rear seats

How comfortable is the Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

The plug-in hybrid versions lose a huge slice of boot space to the batteries

The tall, SUV stature of the GLC makes it more family-friendly than the C-Class on which it is based, though whether you’ll want to let kids, dogs and other messy occupants do their worst with that posh interior is another matter. The fact the hybrid version we drove was keen to drive on electric power as much as possible helped underline how refined this car is, the acoustic insulation for the glass on this higher trim level also a factor. Given how expensively engineered the GLC feels we’d expect this refinement to carry through to all versions, the isolation from road and tyre noise as impressive as the suspension is comfortable. There’s also plenty of space in the back, with even a half-decent perch for the central seat on the rear bench. Worth noting if you you’re buying SUV for the practicality is the loss of a big huge slice of boot space to the batteries on plug-in hybrid versions, that impressive electric range clearly not coming without some practical sacrifices. The loading sill is also pretty high, with some significant intrusion from the wheelarches eating into the luggage area as well. It’s a common issue with all SUVs and crossovers, but if you’re buying a GLC for load space the regular petrol or diesel versions make better use of what room there is than the hybrids.

Expert rating: 5/5

Mercedes-Benz GLC interior

Features of the Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

You can use your phone apps if you prefer but the built-in Mercedes hard disk navigation is very slick and standard across the range

Mercedes is properly on its A-game when it comes to interiors at the moment, and the combination of style and tech inside this latest GLC is a huge step up from its predecessor. The combination of a digital instrument cluster and large, vertically oriented central screen is impressive and the graphics and menus they display are suitably slick and logical to operate once you get your head around the idea the touchpad on the left of the steering wheel controls the screen while the one on the right does the instruments. Or you can just use the voice activation if – unlike us - you’re not self-conscious about starting each interaction with a jaunty ‘Hey, Mercedes!’ You can use your phone apps if you prefer but the built-in Mercedes hard disk navigation is very slick and standard across the range, while LED headlights, privacy glass, 64-colour ambient lighting (a favourite with the kids), a reversing camera and climate control among the standard equipment. For the fancier Digital Light headlights, refinement enhancing noise-insulating glass, blind spot assistance and 360-degree parking cameras we’d be tempted to up a trim level if possible, the top spec introducing an even more luxurious feel with proper leather, a panoramic roof and fancy Burmester sound system. Bear in mind it’s only at this level you even get the option of the full Driving Assistance Package, and even then at further cost.

Expert rating: 4/5

Mercedes-Benz GLC driving front

Power for a Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

You can use your phone apps if you prefer but the built-in Mercedes hard disk navigation is very slick and standard across the range

Mercedes is properly on its A-game when it comes to interiors at the moment, and the combination of style and tech inside this latest GLC is a huge step up from its predecessor. The combination of a digital instrument cluster and large, vertically oriented central screen is impressive and the graphics and menus they display are suitably slick and logical to operate once you get your head around the idea the touchpad on the left of the steering wheel controls the screen while the one on the right does the instruments. Or you can just use the voice activation if – unlike us - you’re not self-conscious about starting each interaction with a jaunty ‘Hey, Mercedes!’ You can use your phone apps if you prefer but the built-in Mercedes hard disk navigation is very slick and standard across the range, while LED headlights, privacy glass, 64-colour ambient lighting (a favourite with the kids), a reversing camera and climate control among the standard equipment. For the fancier Digital Light headlights, refinement enhancing noise-insulating glass, blind spot assistance and 360-degree parking cameras we’d be tempted to up a trim level if possible, the top spec introducing an even more luxurious feel with proper leather, a panoramic roof and fancy Burmester sound system. Bear in mind it’s only at this level you even get the option of the full Driving Assistance Package, and even then at further cost.

Expert rating: 4/5