Coming off a successful 2019 where the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV enjoyed a 20% increase in sales over 2018 as the brand’s top-selling nameplate, the 2020 model arrived looking mostly the same. This does not mean Mercedes-Benz was content; quite the opposite as they focused their efforts where it counts. A mild refresh has given the GLC the latest MBUX infotainment to match the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, as well as being updated with the next generation of four-cylinder engines.
This week, we have the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC for a full evaluation. The crossover, painted in Selenite Grey Metallic, looks attractive with its fluid body lines. The chrome elements on the bumpers, distinctive front grille, and integrated tailpipe design add to the overall trendiness of its exterior design, and Mercedes-Benz’s latest design language carries well in the GLC’s compact crossover form.
A new two-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine adds 14-horsepower from last year’s model, producing 255 horsepower from 5,800 to 6,100 RPM, and 273 lb-ft. of torque that arrives as low as 1,800 RPM. The torquey powertrain gets the GLC 300 moving effortlessly, with a linear power delivery that is unlike many of the turbocharged crossovers in its segment. With the help of the quick shifting 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic, the GLC 300 can achieve a zero to 100 km/h sprint in as little as 6.2 seconds. Those who wish to tow with the GLC 300 can do so up to its 3,500-pound (1,588 kilogram) limit.
At the time of writing, fuel ratings have not been published for 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC. Our city-heavy commute returned an average of 11.5L/100km, and we expect the figure to fall closer to 9.5L/100km in a mixed setting. 91-octane premium grade gasoline is required for the 66-litre gas tank.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC’s suspension tuning favours comfort over outright handling prowess, offering a plush ride for all occupants. The steering is accurate with good weight, and the crossover does not feel isolated from the road, which is a win against many of its competition. We enjoyed the excellent visibility all around thanks to the large sized windows which create an airy greenhouse. One of the GLC’s best attributes is its sound isolation; there is very little road or wind noise transmitted to the cabin, despite the meaty 19-inch winter tires equipped on our tester.
Along with the excellent visibility, we also observed good head and legroom in the GLC 300 when compared to its peers. The 14-way power adjustable front seats are supportive and comfortable, but the lack of a heated steering wheel in our tester is disappointing considering it had both the Premium and Premium Plus packages included in the spec sheet. The standard black Artico upholstery with the glossy wood trim looks and feel fine for most buyers, however those who prefer a luxurious atmosphere would be encouraged to opt for the leather upholstery with one of the open-pore wood trim options. Cargo volume is rated at 550 litres, with a wide opening that makes for easily loading.
The biggest upgrade to the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is the inclusion of the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, delivering the next generation of driver interaction to its most popular vehicle. The optional 10.25-inch multimedia display is vivid, and can accept commands using either the touchscreen or through a multifunction touchpad located on the centre console. While the MBUX system interface is functional and looks great, it’s convoluted and requires a lot of digging through submenus. Fortunately, the system’s voice control is one of the best in class, responding quickly to the “Hey Mercedes” voice prompt and allowing users to access most functions with simple conversational commands.
A big selling point of the latest MBUX is the use of Augmented Reality (AR) in its onboard navigation system. It engages the front cameras to display a live video on the display, and projects guidance information directly onto the video image. It is one of the more innovative uses of technology in the automotive industry, and helps to minimize confusion in urban settings where turns are frequent and often. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is included as part of the Premium Package, and it is worth noting that the GLC has moved onto using USB-C ports only. Sound quality through the standard system is considered average for its class, and an optional $1,000 Burmester surround sound system is worth the upgrade.
Our tester was equipped with the optional Intelligent Drive package, adding a full suite of active driver assist system including active and evasive steering, blind spot, emergency stop, lane keeping, and lane change assist systems. Mercedes-Benz also uses many of this onboard technology such as its map database and radar sensors to anticipate changing speed or collisions and adjust the vehicle’s reaction.
The base price of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC is set at $48,800. Our tester was optioned with the Premium Package ($4,500), Premium Plus Package ($2,100), Intelligent Drive Package ($2,700), and Sirius XM satellite radio ($475), bringing the as-tested total to $59,465. It finds itself in a hotly contested segment against the BMW X3 (reviewed here), Audi Q5, and the Volvo XC60, which are all similarly priced with seemingly endless optional packages to create the perfect crossover of your choice.
When compared to its competition, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC stands out in its ride comfort and a segment-leading interior in standard form. The updated GLC improves on what was already a good luxury urban crossover; the powertrain update adds a level of refinement with silky-smooth power delivery, and Mercedes-Benz loads its bread-and-butter model with a host of class-leading technology to ensure it will continue sales success.
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