The luxury crossover market has established itself as highly profitable, but it gets more competitive by the year. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class stakes its name on a lavish cabin and strong safety. It’s not the most exciting entrant, but it sure is a nice way to get around.

Best Value

The new and fearsome AMG GLC 63 is a little too brutal for us, but its little sibling the AMG GLC 43 is a sweetheart. The twin-turbocharged V6 lends accessible power, and the sharper steering makes for a more enjoyable driving experience.

Sadly, it also means coughing up an extra $15,000, so it’s not stellar value. Most buyers will be content with the base-level GLC 300, which still has plenty of oomph in the form of a 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The Coupe body is edgier, but mostly less useful, so we’d stick with the traditional SUV.

The GLC 300 doesn’t go light on luxury either, boasting heated front seats, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, and wood trim. A package or two helps round out the features, but we resent paying extra for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the best active safety features have far too many prerequisites.

We’d build ours like so:

  • Model: 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 241 hp / 273 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 22 City / 27 Hwy
  • Options: Premium Package ($1,250, blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry, XM radio), Smartphone Integration Package ($350, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility)
  • Base Price: $43,695 (including a $995 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price:$45,295

Performance

Mercedes-Benz GLC

The GLC drives best in AMG form, with either a twin-turbo V6 or a fire-breathing twin-turbo V8. Both AMG variants are quick off the line, but they also benefit from a sophisticated chassis and more communicative steering. The GLC 300 is no slouch, though – it still gets to 60 in under 6.5 seconds. The nine-speed automatic transmission is pleasant, and handling is controlled and precise.

In base form, however, the steering is too anodyne to be enjoyable. The hybrid powertrain is another clunker, adding around $9,000 to the price while offering limited electric-only range and achieving just a one mile per gallon boost in combined efficiency. Rivals offer diesel or plug-in alternatives for those who despise stopping for gas, but Mercedes’ powertrains haven’t caught up yet.

Style

These days, sedans follow the styling cues of crossovers more than vice versa, and the GLC is a suitable leader. A tall grille complements an upright stance, while graceful lines and large air intakes make for a sharp first impression. The Coupe body’s sloping roof is lovely in profile. On the inside, every GLC is stunning. Well designed and lush, the cabin overflows with tasteful details. Standard and optional gear is sensible, and it’s worth mentioning that the GLC gets a Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the IIHS.

While nice to look at, the Coupe sacrifices valuable cubic feet of storage space. The AMG engines pipe engine noise into the cabin, but the GLC 300's cabin could afford to be slightly quieter. The biggest downside of all is the price – go overboard in the configurator and the GLC gets expensive indeed. Active safety features are expensive due to multiple prerequisite packages, and even typical features like smartphone compatibility cost extra.

The Best and Worst Things

An interior this lavish makes any journey look appealing, but it comes with a price – at the dealership and at the gas pump.

Right For? Wrong For?

Mercedes-Benz GLC

The GLC is a good bet for those who like to travel in style. Properly optioned, the interior outclasses rivals, and the sharp exterior will induce more than enough parking lot envy. The GLC is capacious enough for many family duties, although it doesn’t offer a third row.

Buyers who prioritize the driving experience are better off elsewhere. Especially in base form, rivals remain more nimble (not to mention more fuel efficient). Competitors may also offer better value, especially if optional tech is on the must-have list.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class doesn’t redefine the segment, but it does push it to new levels of luxury. For some buyers, the interior alone will be convincing, and we don’t blame them. The AMG engines will sate those with heavy right feet, and the Coupe provides an option for buyers who like style over substance. This is Mercedes doing what Mercedes does best: style, comfort, and class.