While Mercedes’ delayed entry into the segment has left it faced with a legion of prospective buyers already wedded to their BMW X3s and Audi Q5s, the GLC is spot on in terms of looks, interior panache, practicality and, at least from the 250 d, performance and economy.
Our reservations mostly concern trim level foibles that pebble-dash gratifying pliancy and plushness with wearying thumps and leave the steering short on consistency.
Faced with a full line-up of tried and tested rivals, and not having driven the GLC on its air springs option, we’d place the AMG Line slightly behind the more modest and accommodating versions of the X3 and XC60.
Rating its overall desirability, though, is far easier: there’s much of it, and some diligence with the option boxes ought to produce a rounded and luxurious family 4x4 that is well suited to the mature palate.
In our top five for this crowded sector the Mercedes GLC manages to take fourth spot ahead of the Kia Sorento, but falls short of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60.
In order for Mercedes to challenge the top three, we believe the GLC would need a more natural steering feel, so there is a sense it is connected to the front wheels, make the sport suspension sportier or simply do away with it, and finally make shifting gears in manual mode crisper.