2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Change year or vehicle
$23,389 — $44,909 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2016 Mercedes‑Benz GLC‑Class. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Larger interior
  • Cargo amenities
  • Different driving modes
  • Interior quality
  • Supple ride

The Bad

  • Acceleration with all-wheel drive
  • Options quickly add to price
  • Small side mirrors
  • Road noise average for luxury class

Notable Features of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

  • Compact SUV
  • Replacement for GLK
  • Slightly larger than SUV it replaces
  • Powered by turbocharged four-cylinder engine only
  • Rear- or all-wheel drive

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Road Test

Bill Jackson

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 impresses us with its dynamics, interior and cargo upgrades, but it could use more power to boost its nondescript performance.

The GLC300 is a Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class compact luxury SUV that could be seen as merely a replacement for the previous GLK-Class, but that wouldn't be doing the new model justice. It's built on an entirely new platform that's slightly larger and has a new engine and a new interior design. You can compare the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class with the GLK-Class here. As a compact luxury SUV, it competes with vehicles such as the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX.

I tested the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC across a mix of highway and mountain roads over two days, driving both all- and rear-wheel-drive GLC300s.

Exterior & Styling
While the outgoing GLK-Class had angular features that tried to mimic the larger G-Class, the new GLC300 is softer, with more rounded edges. If anything, the GLC300 now more closely resembles the softer edges of Mercedes-Benz sedans and SUVs such as the GLE-Class rather than the G-Class.

While the GLC does lose the angular, chiseled styling that helped make the GLK-Class distinct, I think the new look is more modern and fits better with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz family.

Finally, the GLC is 5.06 inches longer and 2.1 inches wider than the outgoing model. At least from the outside, though, it doesn't appear appreciably bigger. To my eyes, that's a good thing.

How It Drives
The GLC300 is powered by a 24...

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 impresses us with its dynamics, interior and cargo upgrades, but it could use more power to boost its nondescript performance.

The GLC300 is a Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class compact luxury SUV that could be seen as merely a replacement for the previous GLK-Class, but that wouldn't be doing the new model justice. It's built on an entirely new platform that's slightly larger and has a new engine and a new interior design. You can compare the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class with the GLK-Class here. As a compact luxury SUV, it competes with vehicles such as the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX.

I tested the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC across a mix of highway and mountain roads over two days, driving both all- and rear-wheel-drive GLC300s.

Exterior & Styling
While the outgoing GLK-Class had angular features that tried to mimic the larger G-Class, the new GLC300 is softer, with more rounded edges. If anything, the GLC300 now more closely resembles the softer edges of Mercedes-Benz sedans and SUVs such as the GLE-Class rather than the G-Class.

While the GLC does lose the angular, chiseled styling that helped make the GLK-Class distinct, I think the new look is more modern and fits better with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz family.

Finally, the GLC is 5.06 inches longer and 2.1 inches wider than the outgoing model. At least from the outside, though, it doesn't appear appreciably bigger. To my eyes, that's a good thing.

How It Drives
The GLC300 is powered by a 241-horsepower, turbo 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that's matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes said it tuned the turbo so it provides more power and pounds-feet of torque at the low end for an engine with more "grunt," and that the new four-cylinder engine shouldn't make people miss the GLK-Class' V-6 engine. But I'm not prepared to say I don't miss the V-6, because with the added weight of all-wheel drive, the performance in the GLC300 didn't blow me away.

Specifically, the engine is underwhelming off the line, though once you're moving there's good response. Performance is better with rear-wheel drive,  but I wonder how many SUV buyers are going to want to live without all-wheel drive.

Standard in the GLC is what Mercedes calls its Dynamic Select system, which lets you switch from Comfort to Eco to Sport or aggressive Sport+ modes. This alters both the steering feel and the transmission response, but no mode fully overcomes the GLC's initial lag from a standstill.

However, I liked the Dynamic Select system because there are clear differences between the modes. In Sport, and especially Sport+, you really notice the transmission holding on to lower gears longer and the engine winding itself out, plus the steering offers more feedback. If it's not spectacular, it's at least satisfying to drive it this way, especially on twisty, hilly roads.

The real stars of the Mercedes-Benz GLC's driving experience are its overall dynamics and ride quality. The Mercedes-Benz GLC was able to absorb bumps in the road, yet not demonstrate any body roll. It just felt like it was gripping the road, especially in the all-wheel-drive version. That kind of security was welcome in the really twisty parts of my route.

Mercedes-Benz will offer an optional air suspension, but I was only able to test models equipped with the traditional steel springs. In the past I've been wowed by the abilities of Mercedes' air suspensions, but this car has me questioning whether I'd really want to spend the extra money for the optional air suspension — that's how good the conventional setup was.

Road noise is acceptable for the compact luxury SUV class. I found the GLC to allow slightly more noise into the cabin than the Audi Q5, but less than the Acura RDX. In terms of Mercedes' lineup, the noise level is comparable to a C-Class — so it's quiet, but not "cone-of-silence" quiet, like the S-Class.

The GLC's fuel economy had not been tested by the EPA as of publication, so no estimates are available.

Interior
You really notice the fact that the GLC300 is larger than the GLK-Class in the front seat. (The GLK always felt slightly narrow to me, leaving me feeling like I was sitting snugly with my passenger.)

The front doors are sculpted out in such a way that your outside arm isn't pinned in by the door, but there's still plenty of room for your inboard elbow. My driving partner and I were both larger guys, and we never once bumped elbows in two days of driving.

It's the same story in back: The seating area is large, and I wasn't hurting for head or shoulder room. My legs also had good space and my knees weren't raised too high in the air. That's appreciated, especially when you're 6-feet, 2-inches tall like I am.

Also, cabin quality is very good for the compact luxury SUV class. The Mercedes-Benz GLC-class adopts the styling of Mercedes' C-Class sedan, and that's a nice choice. In addition, a more upscale designo treatment is available, as are various trim options.

Overall, it's well-executed both in how things look and how they feel. Comparing it to an RDX or Q5, I'd say the GLC300 — like the Q5 — has the right amount of buttons and controls without presenting an overwhelming array, like the Acura does.

It does, however, carry over the "floating tablet" center screen that some find objectionable, but it's becoming more commonplace across both the Mercedes lineup and the market at large.

Finally, visibility in the GLC-Class is quite good. While the SUV is larger than before, it doesn't feel like it has become unmanageably large, and that's partially down to its good visibility. It's easy to put the GLC300 right where you want to — a point I proved by making a few tight parking maneuvers during my drive.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The big news here is that Mercedes-Benz has fixed an issue we've had with its Comand multimedia system: The touch-pad can now be turned off.

The Comand system uses a rotary controller or a touch-pad to accept inputs. The issue is that the touch-pad is positioned over the rotary controller, so it's easy to accidentally activate the touch-pad or bring up the wrong screen with the palm of your hand while you're using your fingers to twirl the wheel. Now that the touch-pad can be disabled, that issue doesn't happen, making the system much easier to live with.

Aside from what I'd call "touch-pad interference," I've always found the Comand system to excel in its ability to swap between menus such as navigation, music and so on, and this version is no different.

Considering the Mercedes system versus ones from Acura and Audi, all are similar in that they use a rotary knob to make selections, and all are similar in ease of use. I do find the Audi system — with its buttons to swap between navigation, entertainment, etc. — the easiest one to use, but with the ability to turn off the Comand touch-pad, Mercedes is now right up there with Audi, and both are ahead of the Acura system.

Also, the floating screen — at least in the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV — is so close to the driver you could be forgiven for thinking it's a touch-screen, but it's not. It's the kind of thing you get used to, but its proximity was almost annoying at first.

Finally, an ergonomic setup I really loved was the toggle switch that changes driving modes. It's intuitive, in that pushing it forward dialed up the performance — from Eco to Comfort to Sport to Sport+ — and toggling it back dialed down the performance. It's much easier than the stand-alone "Eco" mode buttons some other systems use.

Cargo & Storage
The cargo area is also bigger and better shaped than in the previous model, and it has a few new tweaks that really come in handy. Specifically, instead of a normal cargo floor that can be lifted up to expose more cargo area, Mercedes made the cargo floor panel lockable, making the under-floor storage that much more secure. A power liftgate is standard on the GLC 300 SUV.

Finally, for those of us who like to haul long things and have to regularly fold seats, the rear seats in the GLC fold down via switches you tug in the cargo area. It's a setup that's growing more common these days, but Mercedes takes it a step further: If the front seats are set so far back they would prevent the rear seats from folding forward, the system will move the front seats forward to allow the rear seats to fold. No more do you have to run to the front of the vehicle to move the front seats.

Safety
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 had not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as of publication.

Notable standard safety features include Collision Prevent Assist Plus, which provides a visual and audible warning when a safe distance to the car ahead is not maintained. There's also a standard backup camera and crosswind assist, which helps keep the GLC on track in heavy crosswinds.

Safety options include adaptive cruise control — called Distronic Plus with Steering Assist — which can help keep the car centered in its lane on straight roads, maintain a set distance between the GLC and the car ahead, and bring the GLC to a complete stop. You can also add front and rear cross-traffic assist — called BAS plus with cross-traffic assist — which alerts drivers to cross traffic at intersections or when reversing. The Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe system takes measures to improve safety when the system determines a collision is imminent.

Value in Its Class
Measured against its competitors, the GLC300 offers a more luxurious cabin than the Acura RDX, but largely matches the RDX in handling and acceleration. The Audi Q5 matches the GLC in terms of its luxurious interior, but I don't find it can match the GLC300's handling and overall dynamics.

So, too, is it with price. The two-wheel-drive GLC300 starts at $39,875 (all prices include destination), compared with $36,210 for the RDX and $41,825 for the lowest-priced Q5 (all Q5 models come with all-wheel drive). Stepping up to all-wheel drive will cost you $41,875 for the GLC300 and $37,710 for the RDX. While the RDX is cheaper by a few thousand dollars than the GLC300 in either comparison, it's not enough cheaper to make it the slam-dunk winner, and the Q5 is competitively priced compared to the GLC300. Compare the models here.

Taken on its own as the small SUV in Mercedes' lineup, the GLC300 is more comfortable and practical than the GLK, thanks to its larger size, cargo amenities and interior quality. Its performance with all-wheel drive, though, is a bit underwhelming in the push-you-back-in-the-seat-and-rocket-forward department, but it really wouldn't be fair to call it bad.

All in all, the GLC300 will have people forgetting its predecessor in short order, so thorough and comprehensive are the improvements. And it's a competitive entrant in the compact luxury SUV class.

Send Bill an email  

 


Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.2)

What Drivers Are Saying

(1.0)

3 major mechanical failures in under 50K miles

by NeverAgain Mercedes from Sparta on October 18, 2018

3 MAJOR engine failures, service mechanic says it's "engineering problem" w/tight tolerances Horrible driver interface with navigation and phone and ipod. Pairing doesn't always work Read full review

(5.0)

Love my GLC

by McDougal from BEVERLY HILLS on October 17, 2018

I bought this car because i had it as a loaner. I fell in love with it and had to buy it next. This car is very comfortable with a smooth ride. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class currently has 7 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class has not been tested.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The GLC-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker