Mercedes-Benz GLC250

C-class with an upper posture

"That's an exciting car for luxury SUV shoppers."

"The outgoing GLK never took its fair slice from the pie, but now the GLC has been designed to swallow a slice and a half."

"It rides like a C-class but with a higher stance," said Issam.

We already tested the GLC last year on its first drive event in France, known as the Alsace region. This year we picked it up from the official distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Lebanon, T.Gargour & Fils, for a long weekend drive.

What is the GLC?
Basically, the GLC replaces the outgoing model, the GLK-class. The nomenclature came as part of Benz's newest strategy and is intended to align it with the similar C-class sedan. Like the GLK-class, the GLC's rivalry is with the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, and Porsche Macan, mainly. Different than all of its rivals, the GLC is offered as rear-wheel drive, and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

Driving impressions
My road trip was planned from the Jounieh coast to the Cedar Mountains, and crossing the Bekaa valley. Unfortunately the mountain snow was still there and the road was closed at 3,000 meters above sea level. I took it for a mild off-road section and it was pretty good. I had to turn around and end of my journey somewhere to have lunch with the bunch of friends on board.

How did it drive?

With the good-looking cabin and smooth ride it is truly a C-class of Benz's SUVs, but with the bonus of an elevated driving position. It may not be all that lively to drive; it is a quiet and serene compact SUV. The handling is good too. Suspension is somehow soft as well, with minor shaking in the cabin (except for some deep potholes). The good part, as I said, is the very worst roads taken to reach "Kornet el Sawda", the highest point in Lebanon. Due to the 4MATIC four-wheel drive and raised ride stance, the GLC crossed the rough paths easily with no screaming at all. Well done. Infotainment system is there. I like it, but am not that impressed by it. I still love the one on the 2017 E-class (which I tested couple of months ago).

Verdict
What do I think of it? Well, if I think of it as a premium compact SUV, I honestly love this segment - not too small and not too big. And apparently premium compact SUVs aren't cheap, but the GLC symbolizes a solid value within Mercedes-Benz. It is a bit expensive versus the entry-trim BMW X3, and a bit more too, than an entry model Volvo XC60. But it is worth considering. Check out your nearest dealership around the Middle East and get your complimentary test drive.

Rivals: BMW X3, Audi Q5, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, Porsche Macan, Volvo XC60, Cadillac XT5, Jaguar F-Pace
Pros: Exterior, front visibility, comfortable, refined interior cabin, good ride
Cons: A bit pricier than its rivals
one word: noiseless
4.5 stars

Specs
2.0L turbocharged, inline-4 cylinder, 211 hp @ 5500 rpm, 350Nm @ 1200 rpm
9-speed automatic, AWD
0-100 km/h: 7.3sec, top speed: 233 km/h, fuel consumption: 7.5 - 7.9 L/ 100 km
Weight: 1735 kg

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