2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Mercedes‑Benz GLK‑Class. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Compliant ride, even with 20-inch wheels
  • Quiet cabin
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Intuitive Comand system
  • Very convincing simulated leather

The Bad

  • Numb, overboosted steering
  • Backseat legroom
  • Low placement of climate controls
  • Gas mileage
  • Price rises quickly with options

Notable Features of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

  • New for 2010
  • Seats five
  • 268-hp V-6
  • Seven-speed automatic
  • RWD or AWD

2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Road Test

Mike Hanley
It's funny how an automaker can be ahead of the curve one moment and playing catch-up the next. Mercedes-Benz helped make luxury SUVs mainstream when it debuted the midsize M-Class for the 1998 model year, but when it comes to small luxury crossovers, the German automaker is a latecomer with the new 2010 GLK350. It seems the time was well-spent, though, as the crossover offers the luxury, comfort and technology expected of models in this class.

Some other manufacturers are also playing catch-up, as the segment gains two other new models this calendar year with the debut of the 2009 Audi Q5 and 2010 Volvo XC60. The GLK350 has one of the lower base prices in this segment, but the total rises quickly when you add some options. My well-equipped all-wheel-drive test model, for example, had an as-tested price of about $50,000.

Exterior & Styling
A number of the GLK350's competitors, like the XC60 and Infiniti EX35, have sleek exterior styling that favors smooth lines over right angles. The Mercedes, meanwhile, maintains the traditional upright shape of an SUV; it looks a little bit like a shrunken version of the automaker's larger GL-Class. It wears this look rather well, with enough design cues in the sheet metal to keep things interesting.

The optional Appearance Package changes the look of the GLK350 by adding aluminum roof rails and 20-inch alloy wheels. Also available are aluminum running boards that add $660 to the price tag. They don't look like traditional ...

It's funny how an automaker can be ahead of the curve one moment and playing catch-up the next. Mercedes-Benz helped make luxury SUVs mainstream when it debuted the midsize M-Class for the 1998 model year, but when it comes to small luxury crossovers, the German automaker is a latecomer with the new 2010 GLK350. It seems the time was well-spent, though, as the crossover offers the luxury, comfort and technology expected of models in this class.

Some other manufacturers are also playing catch-up, as the segment gains two other new models this calendar year with the debut of the 2009 Audi Q5 and 2010 Volvo XC60. The GLK350 has one of the lower base prices in this segment, but the total rises quickly when you add some options. My well-equipped all-wheel-drive test model, for example, had an as-tested price of about $50,000.

Exterior & Styling
A number of the GLK350's competitors, like the XC60 and Infiniti EX35, have sleek exterior styling that favors smooth lines over right angles. The Mercedes, meanwhile, maintains the traditional upright shape of an SUV; it looks a little bit like a shrunken version of the automaker's larger GL-Class. It wears this look rather well, with enough design cues in the sheet metal to keep things interesting.

The optional Appearance Package changes the look of the GLK350 by adding aluminum roof rails and 20-inch alloy wheels. Also available are aluminum running boards that add $660 to the price tag. They don't look like traditional running boards, but are more similar to the side sill extensions on the BMW X5. Like the X5's side sills, they'll dirty your pant legs when stepping in or out if you're not careful. They're not necessary, because it's easy to step in and out of the Mercedes without using them.

Ride & Handling
When I first saw the wheels on my test GLK350 — those 20-inch rims and low-profile all-season tires — I was a little worried about how it would ride on Chicago's crater-filled roads. To my surprise, the GLK350 handled this rugged urban landscape with ease, preventing ride quality from becoming jarring. Sure, the taut suspension controls body motions, but it doesn't do so at the expense of passenger comfort the way some crossovers do. The standard 19-inch rims come with tires that have slightly taller sidewalls, which should make for an even more compliant ride.

Whether you're driving in the city or the suburbs, the GLK350 is easy to maneuver, but it doesn't do much to engage the driver. The steering offers little in the way of feedback, and the wheel is very easy to turn. This is typical of Mercedes models in general, and while it works in a full-size sedan like the S-Class, it doesn't fit the GLK350 as well. Whereas some cars decrease the amount of power-assistance at higher speeds for a greater sense of straight-line stability, the GLK350 feels about the same then as when driving at slower speeds.

The GLK350 cruises comfortably on the highway, as the suspension limits the effects of bumps and holes in the road. Highway speeds further affirmed an impression that developed when traveling around town, and that's just how quiet the cabin of the GLK350 is. Ambient and wind noise are effectively muted, leaving you to enjoy the audio system or just the silence. Even when accelerating aggressively, engine noise isn't intrusive.

Going & Stopping
A 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is standard. The engine moves the GLK350 rapidly when you want, and the seven-speed automatic transmission consistently shifts smoothly no matter if you're driving leisurely or aggressively. The transmission includes Comfort and Sport modes in addition to a clutchless-manual setting if you prefer to control shifts yourself.

The GLK350 can easily keep pace with fast highway traffic, and the V-6 still has some grunt left in it for high-speed acceleration, though not enough to take you aback. Downshifts are easy to induce by prodding the gas pedal.

It took me a little longer than normal to get used to the crossover's brakes. While there's an adjustment period when moving to any new vehicle as you adapt to its characteristics, the significant amount of brake pedal travel that's required to initiate strong braking in the GLK350 is outside the norm and took me by surprise when first driving it. The brakes have good linearity, which is something that's lacking in some of Mercedes' other models, but they'd be nicer if they were more responsive higher in the pedal's travel.

The Inside
Mercedes has been reshaping its lineup for the past few years, and the interiors of models like the C-Class and new E-Class have taken on a more angular appearance. That's true in the new GLK350, too, which features bold swaths of aluminum trim on the dashboard and doors (burl walnut wood trim is optional). The overall appearance is quite luxurious, trimmed in high-grade materials.

The GLK350's seats are finished in standard MB-Tex simulated leather, but real leather upholstery is included in the optional $1,750 Full Leather Seating Package, along with the wood trim. MB-Tex does such a good job impersonating the real thing in terms of appearance and texture that I initially thought my test model was equipped with leather. The front bucket seats have supple cushioning and are supportive thanks to a long bottom cushion that provides good thigh support. They feel like a favorite chair that makes your muscles relax the minute you sit in it. Heated front seats and a driver's-side memory feature are optional.

Most controls are logically arranged, and numerous features are accessible in multiple ways. For example, you can select the optional navigation system by pressing a button on the dash or by using the Comand system's multifunction controller on the center console. Comand comes with the navigation system, and of the knob-based systems out there, like BMW's iDrive and Audi's Multi Media Interface, it's one of the better ones thanks to intuitive onscreen menus. BMW, however, has closed the gap significantly with its latest generation of iDrive. The GLK350's air conditioning controls, however, aren't in the best spot; they're very low on the dash.

The backseat is fairly tight for adult passengers and feels a little smaller than the XC60's. With the driver's seat adjusted for my 6-foot-1 frame, I had to sit with my legs to either side of its backrest in order to have enough legroom. The 60/40-split backseat's backrest is nicely reclined, however.

Cargo & Towing
The GLK350's cargo area measures 23.3 cubic feet. With the backseat folded there's 54.7 cubic feet of total cargo space. When the backseat is down, the extended cargo floor is fairly flat.

Cargo Room Compared (cu. ft.)
Behind BackseatBackseat Folded
Acura RDX27.860.6
Audi Q529.157.3
Land Rover LR226.758.9
Mercedes-Benz GLK35023.354.7
Volvo XC6030.867.4

When properly equipped with the optional trailer hitch, the GLK350 is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety
Standard features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability system and active front head restraints.

Optional Features
A number of packages and individual options are available for the GLK350. The Premium Package bundles a number of features, including a panoramic moonroof, power liftgate, a memory feature, Sirius Satellite Radio and rain-sensing windshield wipers for $3,150. The Multimedia Package goes for $3,350 and includes the Comand multifunction controller, navigation, a six-disc Harman/Kardon entertainment system and a backup camera.

The Lighting Package features swiveling bi-xenon headlights with washers and LED taillights for $970. Individual options include parking sensors ($790), an iPod connection kit ($375) and a dual-screen rear entertainment system ($1,880). Choosing 4Matic all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive adds $2,000.

GLK350 in the Market
There's no question the GLK350 is a worthy contender in the compact luxury crossover segment thanks to its comfortable ride, quiet cabin and smooth powertrain. It's a logical addition to Mercedes' lineup, and one that should have come along sooner.

Now that the brand with the three-pointed star has an offering in this segment, there's a whole lot more pressure on models like the BMW X3 and upcoming Audi Q5. The only thing Mercedes needs now is buyers willing to plunk down serious money to take a GLK350 home. The recession, however, could prove more formidable than the GLK350's actual competitors.

Send Mike an email 



2010 GLK-Class Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. It competes with the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60.

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Awsome family car!

by Maria ~ Mercedes from Oxford, PA on July 26, 2018

This vehicle is very spacey and comfortable. It rides very smooth. My children absolutely love it. It has all the commodities I need in an SUV. Read full review

(2.0)

Recalls are not handled expeditiously!

by An Unsatisfied Customer from Mobile, AL on May 29, 2018

This vehicle has had 3 recalls, dating back to 2015. None of the recalls have been taken care of by Mercedes. Therefore, I am driving a car that is unsafe to drive, and can cause injury to passengers ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class currently has 4 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    unlimited months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Mercedes-Benz

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, trip-planning services and Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    5 years / Unlimited Miles*

    Up to 5 years/Unlimited miles from original in-service date if purchased while under original warranty, or 1 year/Unlimited miles if purchased outside of new-vehicle warranty; no deductible, transferable to subsequent owners
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a Rigorous inspection by factory-certified technicians.

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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 GLK-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