Our favourite compact SUVs of the past 18 months have, dynamically speaking, split the pack.
On one distant flank, there’s the ferociously buttoned-down Porsche Macan; on the other sits the Land Rover Discovery Sport, a more traditional 4x4, albeit one astutely tailored for contemporary tastes. Everything else, in our experience, soldiers up the middle, seeking the modern crossover centre ground: tall and masterly yet car-like and convenient.
Prudently, the GLC strikes for the same territory. With its energetic engine, quick steering, saloon-donated seating position and discreetly elevated ride height, the model embraces its inner Mercedes-Benz C-Class in much the same way that an Audi A4 Allroad never quite stops being an Audi A4.
The sensation is balanced with a lazier, longer-striding primary ride, markedly better insulation and the stability aura of all-wheel drive. Add in the cosseting, ego-kneading effect of the upmarket cabin and the GLC’s virtues start to seem compelling.
That it ultimately fails to ground the ball is likely the fault of our test car’s spec. Equipped with the AMG Line ‘sport’ suspension and optional 20in alloys, the GLC’s well-intended amiability is too often corrupted by an unwillingness to properly moderate the UK’s nastier road surfaces.
While tolerant enough at low speeds, the model’s big-rim sensitivity has the passive chassis griping above 30mph.