We don’t know who made the decision, probably close to a decade ago now, not to engineer the 2008 Mercedes GLK – Daimler’s original compact SUV – for right-hand drive, but we can assume he’s no longer in his job.
It’s true that back then it would have been hard to foresee the surge in interest in these upmarket, relatively affordable, added-practicality family cars that has come to pass.
But these cars have become vital to brands such as Mercedes and are equally popular in places such as the UK, Australia, South Africa and Japan as they are elsewhere.
By failing to spend a relatively small sum to re-engineer a four-wheel drive system back then, Mercedes must have missed out on a much larger windfall of sales since. An oversight? Yeah, just a small one.
The new Mercedes GLC, the GLK’s successor, corrects that oversight and gives us Brits a Mercedes to rival the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Porsche Macan, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar F-Pace.
All of a sudden, in a class where choice was once limited, there’s now an abundance of it.
Curvaceous styling, active and passive safety, refinement and 4x4 capability are the reasons why Mercedes is hoping you’ll opt for the GLC. They further enhanced this theory by following their Bavarian rival's by producing coupé shaped SUVs to rival the BMW X4 and X6, in the shape of the GLC and GLE Coupé.
Available in other markets in four-cylinder petrol and plug-in hybrid forms, the GLC comes to us with four-cylinder diesel power only, while permanent four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox are standard and height-adjustable air suspension is an option.
Mercedes says the latter is a unique selling point in the class. It’s not, but the car isn’t without other lures to tempt new customers in from the cold.