Mercedes-Benz, long a trendsetter in the luxury car segment, also flexes its muscles in the luxury SUV segment. The GLC-Class may be the most popular of the SUV models it sells, offering both traditional and coupe-like body styles, an affordable four-cylinder model, a thrifty plug-in, and some furious AMG variants. No matter the chosen design, the GLC-Class delivers a smooth and quiet ride, a lavish interior, and top tech features.

Best Value

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class comes as a standard four-door SUV or one with four doors and a coupe-like body. We think the first choice is the most practical of the two as the coupe sacrifices too much rear headroom, costs more, and is limited in the number of powertrain configurations it offers.

Mercedes-Benz offers the standard-body GLC in three trims: GLC 300 (in both rear- and all-wheel-drive varieties), the plug-in-hybrid GLC350e, and the speedy AMG GLC43. The GLC Coupe is only available in all-wheel drive and with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the GLC300 or the twin-turbocharged V6 from the GLC43.

Our recommendation is to take the base GLC 300 with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and the traditional SUV body. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, leatherette seats, and dual-zone climate control. Grab the real leather upholstery package, the Premium Package, smartphone integration (which adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, providing navigation for far less than the optional Multimedia Package), and heated and ventilated front seats. All told, you'll escape your local dealer with a new GLC for just under $50,000.

  • Model: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbo I4 engine
  • Output: 241 hp/273 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • MPG: 22 City / 28 Hwy
  • Options: Leather Seating Package ($2,050, leather upholstery, power front passenger seat with memory), Premium Package ($1,350, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, a 115-volt power outlet, and SiriusXM satellite radio), Smartphone Integration Package ($350, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility), heated and ventilated front seats ($1,030)
  • Base Price: $43,045 (plus $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$49,395

Performance

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

The GLC300's power is strong across the rev range with a smooth, pleasant note all along the way, although the start/stop system shudders awake in a clearly noticeable way. The nine-speed automatic transmission is nicely tuned, working more smoothly than similar units offered by other manufacturers.

That said, shift quality can jerk through the lower gears before evening out as you build speed. The gearbox's behavior is influenced by the current drive mode – Comfort, Sport and Sport+ – although we recommend simply leaving it in Comfort for the smoothest, most relaxed shifts.

The ride is smooth and quiet, allowing the GLC to swallow up big bumps with ease. Steering feedback is numb, but this SUV competently carries out its primary task of delivering a comfortable ride.

Style

Why offer one body style when you can present two? Mercedes-Benz takes an unusual approach to the GLC model line by doing just that. Both the standard SUV and the Coupe body styles offer beautiful lines, subtle curves, and a big Mercedes star on the grille. It's all very pleasant.

Inside, the cabin is roomy, supplying space for five. Sweeping lines and dazzling shapes deliver eye candy. Mercedes-Benz adds beautiful wood and real metal trim with a matte finish, underscoring this SUV’s elegance. The result is arguably the best cabin in this class in terms of material quality.

The seats are quite comfortable and wrapped in imitation leather with the look and feel of the real thing. The real leather is a pricey option, but a worthwhile one – we wholeheartedly recommend the upgrade. The second-row seats are suitable for a pair of adults on even a lengthy journey, although adding a third to the mix is only tolerable on short stints. The cargo hold is capacious, with a wide aperture, which is pretty much the norm for this segment.

The Best and Worst Things

Mercedes-Benz delivers beautiful and lavishly crafted cabins and the GLC is no exception. Handsome, rich materials abound, even in the base model. If you value a nice interior, the GLC is the way to go.

It's a German car, so naturally, the GLC nickels and dimes its customers. That you have to pay for smartphone integration separately is not merely an annoyance, but an example of how extra costs routinely come your way. Nevertheless, we think most consumers want Android Auto or Apple CarPlay and that is why we recommended the package.

Right For? Wrong For?

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Consumers wanting to make a statement about their position in life naturally choose brands such as Mercedes-Benz. Its heritage and continued excellence are two traits which attract buyers.

The GLC is a premium vehicle and it's priced accordingly. It almost goes without saying, but frugal shoppers or those that aren't willing to spoil themselves should consider a mainstream crossover instead.

The Bottom Line

Two body choices give consumers much to consider with the Mercedes-Benz GLC. By carefully selecting your goodies, a well-equipped model with an out-the-door price of under $50,000 is an easy thing to find.