The GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic is Mercedes' diesel-powered offering in the entry-level luxury SUV segment. With just a 2.1-liter four-cylinder, it's considerably slower than the gasoline GLK350. Though not quick, it's an easy-driving and confident-handling machine with excellent fuel economy for the money.
PerformanceThe GLK250's torque-rich turbodiesel and all-wheel drive should make it a decent tow vehicle. But with only 200 hp, acceleration is merely adequate. Handling numbers weren't impressive, but it has good steering response and composed manners.
With 200 horsepower from a 4-cylinder turbodiesel, acceleration is weak, though smooth. It hit 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, or 2 seconds slower than the gas-powered GLK350.
Stable, predictable and consistent operation. The GLK250 required just five feet further to stop from 60 mph than the GLK350, despite carrying an extra 300 pounds.
The steering has a light effort at parking lot speeds for easy maneuverability, but gets appropriately heavier on the freeway with good stability and no lane wandering.
The GLK's suspension is firm, which translates to confident handling. It was surprisingly proficient on tight, twisty roads, but the GLK wasn't built for enthusiast driving.
The GLK250's powertrain is delightfully smooth, though lacking in outright speed. Torque is effortless. Without question, it has the most seamless start/stop system in production.
The GLK250 is rated to tow 3,500 pounds, same as the GLK350. This is in line with its competitors. The necessary trailer hitch kit will set you back $550.
With 7.9 inches of ground clearance, the GLK250 has some off-road potential, but it's no rock crawler. Its all-wheel drive is more suited to bad weather and dirt driveways.
ComfortThe GLK's rigid platform sacrifices some comfort for a substantial feel. Despite sophisticated suspension, the ride isn't as smooth as larger Mercedes models. The GLK remains hushed up to 70 mph, at which point it's like it hits a wall of wind.
The front seats offer 8-way adjustment. Lateral and thigh bolsters are minimal, padding is firm. Heated seats are optional ($750). The rear split/fold seats are similarly Spartan.
The ride is more compliant than the previous GLK, but the suspension is not what you'd call soft. This helps with handling but it'll pound occupants on rough roads.
The engine is so reserved that the diesel GLK250 is actually quieter than the gasoline GLK350. But above 70 mph, it's like the GLK hits a whirling wall of wind and gets shockingly loud.
InteriorQuality materials, good ergonomics and controls layout, solid fit and finish all add up to a nice interior. This is offset slightly by poor rear visibility and limited cargo space.
The traditional Mercedes controls are well placed and simple to figure out. The rotary dial in front of the center armrest gives easy control of the intuitive navigation system.
Door opening height is generous for tall individuals to easily enter and exit. Step-in height is slightly higher than the competition, compromised further by optional step rails.
The front seats offer plenty of leg room and spacious head room. The rear seats are tighter than those found in the competition. Generous cubbies and bins throughout the cabin.
Good forward visibility and upright seating position. The view rearward is compromised by small rear windows and intrusive pillars. Back-up camera and blind-spot monitors are optional.
With 23.3 cu-ft of luggage space, the GLK has less room than many competitors. The 60/40 rear seats fold completely flat, upping capacity to 54.7 cu/ft. A power liftgate is optional.
ValueThe GLK250 BlueTec costs thousands less than the Audi Q5 Diesel and Q5 Hybrid, but about the same as its GLK350 cousin and BMW xDrive28i. Outside of dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth, a zero-option GLK250 isn't exactly feature-rich.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The GLK looks and feels solid and well-built. The standard vinyl upholstery is durable and convincing, but isn't as supple as real leather. Most materials are very good for the class.
Basic standard features: dual-zone climate control and a decent audio system with a USB port and Bluetooth. Navigation, leather, blind-spot assist and rear entertainment cost extra.
At its $39,495 starting price (including $905 destination), the GLK250 starts almost $10K less than the Audi Q5 diesel and $20K less than the larger BMW X5 diesel (there's no diesel X3).
It helps the GLK250's cause that the pricer of diesel fuel is now closer to the price of gasoline. Its EPA-rated 28 Combined mpg (24 City/33 Highway) doesn't hurt, either. We averaged 29 mpg.
Mercedes-Benz covers the GLK for 4 years/50,000 miles, for both the basic warranty and the drivetrain.
24-hour roadside assistance is standard for 4 years/50,000 miles. Owners can purchase a pre-paid maintenance program.
Fun To DriveEven though this turbodiesel isn't as responsive as the gasoline engine, and the suspension is somewhat lacking in comfort, the GLK250 is still a pleasurable vehicle to drive.
The GLK250 BlueTec is nothing like the rattling, sooty diesels of the past. This is a highly modern and smooth drivetrain that's exceptionally adept at covering long distances.
We wouldn't say the GLK250 drips with personality, but it has enough power to keep you engaged. Plus, it doesn't hurt that you're driving a vehicle with that revered three-pointed star.