Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV
- Elegant interior and exterior design
- excellent balance of performance and comfort
- abundant safety equipment even for this segment
- generous, family-friendly backseat space
- fuel-efficient turbocharged engine.
- Infotainment controls can be confusing to use
- only one engine available.
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
We wouldn't blame you if you're mostly interested in the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class for its classy styling, elegant interior and desirable three-pointed star badge. It has all that, but you'll be pleased to know it's also surprisingly practical, impeccably built, very safe and great to drive. Read more about why we think it's a class leader.
The Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class was one of the first compact crossover luxury SUVs to hit the market. It boasted strong performance and sophisticated ride and handling capabilities. But not everybody loved its blocky exterior design, elevated wind noise at highway speeds and lack of cabin space. The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, its all-new successor, promises to make up for these shortcomings and then some.
The new 2016 GLC is more smoothly styled than the old GLK.
The GLC name helps assimilate this model into Mercedes-Benz' SUV line by following the new alphanumeric convention. The "GL" part identifies it as an SUV; the "C" tells us it lines up in terms of size and market position with the C-Class sedan, with which it also shares 70 percent of its parts. A secondary benefit is to provide more separation between this all-new SUV and its smaller, heavier and boxier predecessor.
The standard engine that motivates the GLC300 and GLC300 4Matic is the same turbocharged four-cylinder found in the C300. It replaces the GLK's naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, dramatically improving fuel efficiency. It's not as powerful as the old V6, though, and for now it's the only choice. Mercedes says it plans to introduce a fuel-efficient four-cylinder diesel engine by the end of 2016, a 320-horsepower hybrid powertrain soon after, and an AMG performance model as well.
Elsewhere, you'll find traits typical of the C-Class and other recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz models. The interior is elegant, solidly built and also quieter than the GLK's. There are features galore to further customize your GLC, with safety systems, in particular, being quite comprehensive. The GLC is also the only SUV in its class to offer an adjustable air suspension (Air Body Control in Mercedes parlance) that can alter both firmness and ride height to suit driving conditions and intentions. When it comes to versatility, though, the GLC still comes up a little short, offering less than 60 cubic feet of total cargo space.
As far as segment competitors go, the usual targets are still pretty obvious. The Audi Q5 is a beautiful but aging model with standard all-wheel drive, but with a ride quality that may be on the overly firm side for some buyers. The BMW X3 has a far more spartan interior design than the Mercedes, but it does give you more room and additional engine options (at least for now). If you balk at the GLC's price, the Acura RDX and Lexus NX 200t are two great alternatives. There's also the Volvo XC60 if you need something more family-friendly. But overall the GLC-Class is a solid improvement over the old GLK and is right in the mix among the segment's best.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a compact luxury crossover SUV that seats five and is currently offered in two trims: GLC300 and GLC300 4Matic.
The GLC300 and GLC300 4Matic come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, all-season tires, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lamps, adaptive suspension damping (not driver selectable or electronically controlled), a power liftgate, power-folding mirrors and automatic wipers.
Interior standard features include adjustable drive settings, a 10-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), synthetic leather upholstery (MB-Tex), driver memory settings, 40/20/40-split power-folding rear seats, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, the Mercedes' COMAND interface (7-inch infotainment display, touchpad, knob controller), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, mbrace Connect (includes smartphone app integration) and an eight-speaker sound system (including two hidden subwoofers) with a CD player, HD radio, two USB ports and a media player interface.
The optional Sport package adds sporty body styling, 19-inch wheels and cross-drilled brakes with painted calipers. The Night package includes the Sport package equipment, but with gloss black exterior accents and black wheels. The Lighting package adds adaptive full-LED headlights and automatic high-beam headlight control.
The Interior package adds many creature comforts that make the GLC feel like it fits in a class with more prestige.
Inside, the Air Balance package includes a cabin fragrance and air purification system. Going with the Interior package gets you illuminated front door sills, ventilated front seats, a 10-way power front passenger seat (with four-way lumbar), leather upholstery, an MB-Tex-wrapped dash, multicolor LED ambient lighting and cargo area storage accessories. The Premium package features blind-spot warning and assist, satellite radio, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats and a 115-volt power outlet. Select the Multimedia package and the infotainment screen grows to 8.4 inches and is joined by a navigation system, voice controls and an SD card reader.
For better parking convenience, there's the Advanced Parking Assist package, with hands-free liftgate access, front and rear parking sensors, an automated parking system and a top-down 360-degree parking camera system.
Stand-alone options for the GLC include the Air Body Control adaptive pneumatic suspension (automatic lowering feature included), 19- or 20-inch wheels, a Class III trailer hitch, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, a 14-speaker Burmester premium sound system, an in-car WiFi hotspot, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rear side window shades and "designo" premium leather upholstery.
Performance & mpg
The rear-wheel-drive GLC300 and all-wheel-drive GLC300 4Matic are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It generates 241 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque. Along with standard engine stop-start technology, a new nine-speed automatic transmission comes standard.
The EPA says you can expect to get 24 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) from the GLC300. The 4Matic also rates at 24 mpg combined (but with 21 mpg city). These numbers are quite good for the compact luxury crossover segment.
In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive GLC300 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That's a few ticks slower than the old GLK 350, but still one of the quickest sprint times in this class with a base engine.
Safety features that are standard on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class include antilock brakes (with automatic brake drying), traction and stability control, trailer sway control and crosswind assist, a forward collision warning system, a forward collision intervention system with automatic braking, PreSafe (which identifies an imminent crash and automatically takes measures to secure the cabin and occupants), a driver inattention warning system, front-seat side airbags, a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags. The mbrace Secure telematics system includes automatic collision notification, emergency assistance, agent-assisted remote unlock and stolen vehicle location assist.
Optional with the Driver Assistance package are blind-spot warning (and automatic intervention), lane departure warning, lane departure intervention and enhanced forward collision intervention with pedestrian detection and forward cross-traffic collision detection and intervention.
In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive GLC300 with 20-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 116 feet. This stopping distance is average for a small luxury crossover with large wheels and summer tires.
At speed, the GLC feels rock steady. The cabin's more aerodynamic shape allows the GLC to slip through the air more easily, reducing both wind noise and fuel-sapping drag. The GLC's brakes are also excellent, delivering virtually fade-free stopping power even under aggressive use.
As pretty as it looks, the GLC300 4Matic also sports some pretty decent off-road chops.
For normal driving, the GLC300 is impressively smooth, quiet and comfortable. You can also change its demeanor using the adjustable drive modes, which adjust parameters for steering feel, gas pedal and transmission responsiveness, and suspension tuning (if equipped with the optional air suspension). In its most aggressive settings, the GLC300 behaves more like a sport sedan than an SUV. Body roll is largely minimized, and the tires provide surprising levels of grip around corners. Even with the larger wheels and summer tires afforded by the Sport package, the GLC300 is exceptionally comfortable, and we expect the ride to be even more sublime when optioned with the air suspension.
Fully optioned out, the GLC's cabin feels like genuine luxury, raising the bar for interior opulence for this competitive class. The cabin switchgear is solid, with many of the controls fashioned out of metal, and the new one-piece center console panel flowing beautifully from the infotainment screen to the softly padded armrests.
We're big fans of the 360-degree Surround View camera system. Though these systems are becoming much more commonplace, the one in the GLC offers exceptionally good camera and screen resolution. Whether or not you get the navigation system and larger 8.4-inch screen, the COMAND touchpad rotary control interface is standard, and serves up one of the more user-friendly experiences available (though its immense number of functions can make it overwhelming to use at first). Less agreeable is the physical layout of the controller, as the touchpad portion overlaps much of the wheel, forcing your hand in awkward positions during operation.
The 2016 GLC-Class' COMAND touch pad rotary interface is easily one of the best in the industry.
Specify the Interior package and you gain rich hand-stitched leather upholstery, power ventilated seats, a soft-touch textile-covered dash and elegant multicolor LED ambient lighting. None of these are cabin necessities, but they help provide an environment that's immensely easy to spend time in.
The GLC is bigger in nearly every interior dimension than the model it replaces, and the difference is noticeable. The most dramatic gains are made in rear legroom and front elbow room, with an increase of 2.2 inches apiece. More precious inches were gained across the board, freeing up enough space to easily accommodate 6-feet-tall rear passengers. And although Mercedes still hasn't released many of its official U.S. interior volumes, cargo capacity behind the rear seats sits at just over 20 cubic feet, an increase of approximately 4 cubic feet, with total cargo room (rear seats folded) at 56.5 cubic feet. This falls short of the cargo volume of both the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, though it is likely a trade-off for the GLC's extra rear passenger space.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Those searching for a compact luxury SUV should put the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class on their test-drive list. This impressively engineered, ultra-refined and stylishly rendered compact luxury SUV looks and feels like a step above the pack. It puts literal meaning to the words "luxury sport-utility" and earns a resounding "A" rating from our editors.
What Is It?
The Mercedes-Benz GLC is the brand's entry in the compact luxury SUV segment that also features the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX and Volvo XC60. The GLC replaces the previous GLK and is larger, 176 pounds lighter, more elegant and more capable than the outgoing GLK it replaces.
The new GLC name serves a dual purpose: to provide separation between the all-new SUV and its predecessor, while aligning it with the latest Mercedes-Benz naming convention. To put it simply, the "GL" part of the name indicates that it's an SUV. The "C" indicates that it's based off the C-Class sedan: hence GLC.
Presently, there is only a GLC300 model available, but a GLC350e plug-in hybrid and GLC 450 AMG sport-tuned model are expected in future model years. A diesel model is also likely. The MSRP of a GLC300 4Matic (all-wheel drive) begins at $40,950, with the rear-drive GLC300 starting at $38,950. Most examples that we've seen at Mercedes dealerships have been in the mid-to-upper $40Ks, while our well-equipped GLC300 test car hit the register at $54,255.
How Does It Feel Behind the Wheel?
During our initial drive on straight and silky thick asphalt in Europe, the GLC felt like a bullet train at high speeds: smooth, stable, vaultlike. This was reinforced back home on a windy stretch of anything-but-silky highway in Southern California. Not only does the GLC feel resolutely planted, but the ultra-quiet cabin means easier conversation or better enjoyment of the premium Burmester surround-sound system ($850) for non-chatty types.
The ride quality is especially impressive. Though our test car's optional 20-inch wheels added some impact harshness, it was rarely objectionable, and the damping and control exhibited by the suspension resulted in a ride well within the realm of what we'd deem comfortable. With smaller wheels, it would be even better.
Yet, it can get better still. This is the first SUV in the segment to be offered with an adjustable suspension, or what Mercedes-Benz calls Air Body Control. The GLC literally rides on cushions of air in place of the standard steel springs. It's paired with a selective damper system that's constantly softening and firming up the ride and handling to best suit driving conditions. It can also raise the ride height for a little bit of extra ground clearance.
As with so many luxury cars, exactly how the GLC drives depends on you. Dynamic Select, which comes standard, allows for five different driving programs tailoring engine, transmission, steering and suspension (if equipped with Air Body Control) responses to each specific mode. Eco and Comfort provide more relaxed settings, with light steering effort and throttle response tuned for maximum fuel efficiency. Sport and Sport+ modes create a more heightened sense of feel and, if equipped with Air Body Control, stiffen the suspension for better response to quick inputs and even lower the ride height. This makes the GLC surprisingly effective at attacking corners. The fifth setting called Individual allows you to mix and match your preferences like a kid at a soda fountain. For instance, if you prefer light Comfort steering effort with Sport+ everything else, you can have it.
However, be it in Comfort or Sport, there isn't a wealth of feedback from the steering wheel. The electric power assist preserves enough road sensation to avoid that detached video game feel, and Sport's extra dollop of weighting makes a noteworthy difference. Still, you'll find even more feedback and engagement at the helm of a BMW X3 or Porsche Macan.
The GLC's brakes deliver fantastic stopping power (with the Sport package's summer tires and bigger brakes, our test car stopped from 60 mph in 116 feet). Our rear-wheel-drive GLC300 test car definitely had the more lithe feeling of a car whose front wheels were unencumbered with the task of propulsion. It added to the general driving sensation of the GLC feeling more like a slightly tall sport wagon than a bulky SUV. Nevertheless, the permanent 4Matic all-wheel-drive system that represents a $2,000 upgrade still sends slightly more power to the rear (55 percent) for a sportier feel.
What Level of Autonomous Driving Does It Offer?
An increasing number of cars are available with adaptive cruise control systems that automatically slow the car to match the speed of a vehicle ahead. The Mercedes system is called Distronic Plus, and it's one of the better systems available today. Distronic Plus will automatically and smoothly bring the car to a complete stop and start up again as needed to keep up with traffic. This can be done at full highway speeds or when stuck in traffic, meaning you don't really need to touch the pedals. This, too, is becoming more common, but Distronic's rare addition of Steering Assist means the car can also do the steering for you. It just asks that you keep a hand on the wheel.
Distronic Plus certainly makes a case for autonomous driving, as we found that it reduces fatigue on long highway journeys and slogs through gridlock. In the GLC, it is included in the $2,800 Driver Assistance package that also includes enhanced blind-spot and forward-collision warning systems, as well as lane-keeping assist.
What Is Under the Hood?
Though additional options are on the horizon, for now, there is only one engine option. Luckily, it's a good one. The GLC300's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which amounts to suitably authoritative passing power. Also, unlike those of some rivals, Benz's turbo-4 doesn't sound any less refined than the more common six-cylinder engines typically found in luxury SUVs.
At our test track, the GLC300 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is about average for the segment. Quicker exceptions include the Acura RDX and BMW X3 xDrive28i (a few tenths quicker) and the far more powerful Porsche Macan S (a full second swifter).
Sending its power to either the rear wheels or all four is a nine-speed automatic, which manages to avoid the infernal gear hunting and pokey responses we've experienced with transmissions with this many gears. It just feels normal. Should your pace quicken, we didn't find the gearchanges in Sport+ mode to be as intelligent as those in sportier Benz models, but this is still a compact SUV we're talking about, and at the same time, there are manual-shift paddles if you ever feel the need to choose gears yourself.
The EPA estimates the GLC300 will return 24 mpg combined regardless of whether it has front- or all-wheel drive. We achieved 24.1 mpg on our 116-mile evaluation route, which is 4 mpg better than we managed with the BMW X3 xDrive28i.
What Kind of Utility Does This SUV Offer?
Compared to the previous GLK, the GLC is bigger in nearly every dimension. The interior has gone from one of the most cramped in the segment to one of the most usefully spacious. The GLK wasn't a good choice for families, but the GLC can accommodate them just fine. The most dramatic increases appear in rear legroom (plus 2.2 inches), rear elbow/shoulder room (plus 1.3/1.1 inches) and front elbow/shoulder room (plus 2.2/2.1 inches). Headroom is also ample. A 6-footer can now easily sit behind another 6-footer, and indeed, we found that there was effectively just as much legroom in back as in the larger GLE-Class.
Mercedes-Benz lists total cargo capacity as 56.5 cubic feet, which is unremarkable compared to other SUVs in the class, but cargo capacity measurement standards differ from brand to brand, making comparisons difficult. Regardless of numbers, we can report that the GLC has one of the more useful cargo areas in the segment. Depth is typical, but it's wider than many, allowing a full set of golf clubs to fit widthwise (many other compact SUVs require diagonal placement). The roof line also isn't radically raked as in such competitors like the Lexus NX 200t, making it more likely that you can carry a large box without folding the rear seat.
Should you need to do that, though, it can be accomplished by pressing buttons in either the trunk or on the seats themselves. A nice touch is that the front seats will automatically motor forward should they get in the way of the folding rear head restraints.
How Does the Cabin Look and Function?
If there's a more elegant-looking cabin in the compact SUV segment, we haven't seen it. The large piece of wood trim in the center console makes a strong statement, accented by lovely metal air vents and switchgear that looks as if they came from a pricier car.
Really, this level of design and quality is present regardless of what options boxes you select (an exception is the MBTex simulated leather dash covering, available separately or within the Interior package). Even the MBTex seat upholstery that you'll find on the vast majority of GLCs at dealer lots is as close a simulation to the real cow-sourced stuff as you'll find. It'll also breathe better and wear less over time.
The seats it adorns are of the typical firm variety Mercedes is known for, boasting a degree of long-distance comfort that had us free of aches and fatigue despite three consecutive days of five or more hours in the saddle. This, along with the ride, the hushed cabin and Distronic Plus, makes the GLC a supreme highway cruiser. We would recommend opting for the available "14-way" power seats that in particular add a welcome power thigh adjustment feature.
Another prominent cabin element is the COMAND electronics interface, with its large central display screen and unique knob/touchpad control combo. Frankly, we've found this revised system to be more confusing than the one found in the GLK and other, older Benzes. A user of that system will find similarities, but the removal of physical preset buttons and the change of certain menu functions to accommodate the largely redundant touchpad have made the system a bit confusing.
What Optional Features Should You Consider?
Aside from the aforementioned Interior ($2,500) and Driver Assistance ($2,800) packages, the Advanced Parking Assistance package ($1,540) adds highly useful 360-degree cameras as well as hands-free liftgate operation, initiated with a foot swipe under the rear bumper. An automatic parking function is also included, though we've yet to find a system that does a better job than a well-practiced driver.
For those desiring a more aggressive-looking GLC, à la the beautiful Cardinal Red example you see in the attached pictures, the Night package adds gloss-black exterior trim instead of the standard silver alloy, while the Sport package ($2,950) adds AMG body styling front and rear, and bumps you up to 19-inch AMG-specific dual five-spoke wheels. The as-equipped 20-inch wheels are also available for an additional $1,050.
Full LED headlamps are also offered with Active Curve Illumination and High-Beam Assist ($1,390), and a COMAND navigation system is the primary component of the Multimedia package ($2,330).
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider?
The Audi Q5 is getting on in years and is starting to feel it. Yet this wonderfully constructed, well-rounded small SUV still offers plenty of appeal. It no longer stands out as it once did, but it's relatively vice-free.
The BMW X3 is perhaps the GLC's closest competitor in terms of price, interior space and driving experience. It's not quite as elegant in appearance (especially inside) as the GLC, but it does offer more efficient and more powerful engine options.
The Lexus NX 200t is another new kid on the block, with a well-balanced driving experience and an interior built to a standard that challenges the lovely GLC. It offers less in the way of cargo capacity, however.
And should price be less of a concern, there's the Porsche Macan. It, too, doesn't provide much in the way of utility, but its interior is lovely in its own right, and nothing drives better.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
It leads the segment in terms of interior elegance, while also being one of the more functional examples. There's an impressive balance between comfort and driver engagement that gives it a refined feel that few other vehicles in the segment can match.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
Apart from the Porsche Macan, the GLC is one of the more expensive vehicles in the compact luxury segment. If you're looking for more features for less money, this is probably not the best way to go.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report. The manufacturer also provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV Overview
The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV is offered in the following styles: GLC 300 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A), and GLC 300 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.