While the GLK’s no-show means few UK buyers will appreciate the GLC’s size advantage over its predecessor, the sense of augmentation compared with the current C-Class is recognisable enough – and more so for the fact that, in look and feel, the interior is a direct carryover.
This is of benefit to the SUV; the word ‘breathtaking’ appeared in our road test of the saloon and is an adjective that still applies to Mercedes’ glossy fusion of metallic, plastic and vinyl finishes.
While the GLC requires a slight step up to get on board, you do not sit particularly high up. Lowering the pleasant front seats – as we habitually do – will have you countersunk into the car’s shoulder line, making it feel more car-based crossover than modern SUV. That’s fine with us, and the emphasis on increased elbow room (Mercedes claims a 57mm improvement over the GLK) means a superior sense of space is not often in question.
The sentiment ought to be shared by back-seat occupants, too. The modest improvement in foot and knee space we yearned for in the C-Class has been realised in the GLC, with the 33mm increase in wheelbase effecting an upgrade from merely adequate to smartly accommodating.
This minor evolution in size is crucial: unlike the exec-targeted C-Class, the GLC is clearly a family-orientated prospect and therefore more likely to be graded on its ability to stomach adult-sized teenagers.
That test passed, the new model sails through the boot space exam too.The load space, which is square, flat and upper-thigh high, meets our solid approval, offering around 60 litres more capacity than the C-Class wagon.
Manually collapse the 40/20/40 seats via the spring-release switches in either the cabin or boot and the GLC’s usable volume swells to 1600 litres, making it the exact equal of the BMW X3 and marginally more capacious than the Audi Q5.
It’s worth noting that while the GLC comes as standard with most essential infotainment items, including a DAB tuner, satellite navigation and Mercedes’ Audio 20 stereo/multimedia interface set-up, practically all of them in our test car were swapped out by the fitment of the optional Premium Plus pack.
Much like the similar upgrades offered in the GLC’s direct rivals, this enhancement is one you should seriously consider, not least because it replaces some of the lesser software (Garmin’s primitive-looking sat-nav, for example) with Mercedes’ in-house Comand solution.
While this still fails to replicate the functional logic of BMW’s iDrive or even the slicker interface of Jaguar Land Rover’s new touchscreen, the system is nonetheless usable and comes with a wider range of internet-enabled services.
The 8.4in screen isn’t anything to get excited about (its pixels will be noticeable to anyone used to a current-generation smartphone), but the quality of the 590W Burmester surround-sound stereo ought to help soften the blow of the pack’s near-£3k asking price.
For those considering a GLC, there are four trim levels to choose from, although it is worth bearing in mind that only the GLC 43 gets the AMG treatment. The entry-level SE trim comes well-equipped with a 7in infotainment system, 17in alloys, reversing camera, and automatic powered tailgate, while occupants can enjoy the electrically adjustable front seats, climate control and keyless entry and start.
Additions to the Sport models include electric folding mirrors, heated front seats, Garmin sat nav, LED headlights and a self parallel parking mode, while the range-topping AMG Line trim gets 19in alloys, sport suspension and AMG decal upholstery.