The GLC is one of our favorite small luxury SUVs. It offers smooth and efficient power, a classy interior, and plenty of helpful technology features. The latest GLC has also gotten more expensive, however, and some other competing SUVs provide better value.
Brian Wong has worked in the automotive industry since 2010, writing over 1,000 car-related articles and testing and reviewing hundreds of vehicles over the course of career. Brian is a senior reviews editor at Edmunds and has also contributed to Cars.com, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports. Brian has also been featured on MotorWeek as an expert for several car comparisons. He loves convertibles (the smaller the better) and hates paying for parking, so Los Angeles is both the right and wrong city for him.
Jonathan Elfalan has worked in the automotive industry since 2005. As a director of vehicle testing at Edmunds, Jonathan has tested and reviewed thousands of cars and written thousands of car-related articles over the course of his career. Jonathan got his start testing cars for Road & Track magazine as a newly minted mechanical engineer grad from University of California, Irvine, and has also contributed to Motor Trend and the Associated Press. He likes to say he learned to drive a manual transmission in a rear-wheel-drive mid-engine vehicle but often omits it was his family's 1991 Toyota Previa minivan.
Connected steering with just the right amount of weight
Quiet and comfortable with excellent ride quality
Mild hybrid system improves responsiveness and efficiency
Interior build quality and materials are exceptional
Wireless charging pad is hard to reach
Where are the ventilated seats?
Plug-in model not available yet
Multimedia system can be complicated to use
Technology-rich interior inspired by the S-Class
All four-cylinder engine lineup
Kicks off the second GLC generation for 2023
The fully redesigned 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class kicks off the compact luxury SUV's second generation. The original, which came out back for the 2016 model year, was consistently one of our most highly rated models in the class, earning top marks for comfort and refinement. This redesigned GLC builds off those traits with a more upscale look, one that it accomplishes with an S-Class inspired interior and a sleeker exterior that gives off chic urban vibes. Backing up the new looks are some incremental gains in space for rear passengers and the cargo area to give the GLC some added utility.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class GLC 300 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 9A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
For now, there's just one main trim level: the GLC 300. It's powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 258 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That torque output is considerably more than last year, which is largely due to the powertrain's new mild hybrid system. It's not a full hybrid like a Prius but it does help boost fuel economy by allowing the engine to shut off and coast under light loads. Additional powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid and a sport-focused AMG model, will likely debut later for the 2023 model year or for 2024.
Of course, the 2023 GLC is competing for your attention among other compelling small SUVs that include the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Genesis GV70 and Volvo XC60. Check out our Expert Rating below to learn more about where the GLC excels and where it might come up a little short.
Edmunds Expert Rating
Our VerdictThe Edmunds Vehicle Testing Team evaluates a fresh batch of vehicles every week, pairing objective assessments at our test track with real-world driving on city streets, freeways and winding roads. The data we gather results in our Expert Ratings. They’re based on 30-plus scores that cover every aspect of the automotive experience.
The GLC is one of our favorite small luxury SUVs. It offers smooth and efficient power, a classy interior, and plenty of helpful technology features. The latest GLC has also gotten more expensive, however, and some other competing SUVs provide better value.
How does the GLC-Class drive? We tested the GLC 300 that has a four-cylinder engine and a mild hybrid system. It provides impressively smooth acceleration, and the automatic transmission shifts quickly and responsively. At Edmunds' test track, our GLC test vehicle accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is an average time for a small luxury SUV with a base engine. Bringing that speed to a halt are strong, confident brakes that are equally excellent performing at max effort as they are smooth and easy to use.
The optional summer tires that our test GLC came with definitely played an integral part in both the GLC's impressive braking and cornering grip. But even without the help of that extra tire grip, the GLC is a well-tuned machine that is able to maintain composure around turns with a natural athleticism. The steering is easy but not effortless, and it affords a nice blend of letting you feel connected to the road without unnecessary heft. We know that we wax a bit poetic here, but just a take drive and you'll see what we mean.
How comfortable is the GLC-Class? The GLC provides enough comfort to satisfy luxury-class expectations. It rides smoothly over most bumps, and the cabin is very quiet. Thanks in part to the mild hybrid system, this car's ability to silently glide to a stop and shut the engine off when coasting is unmatched. We were less fond of the front seats, however. The cushions are firm and supportive but there's nothing about them that really goes above and beyond. The climate control delivers excellent coverage through well-placed vents and has ample cooling capacity.
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How’s the interior? The GLC's cabin is aesthetically pleasing and accommodating. While it doesn't separate itself quite as much as it once did from the class, the usual hallmarks of a Mercedes interior are here. The MBUX user interface is still one of the better touchscreen-based interfaces out there, though finding exactly what you need can sometimes require diving deep into the menus. The steering wheel's touch-sensitive controls can also require more concentration to operate than traditional buttons and knobs.
The rest of the cabin is nicely executed. There are plenty of seat adjustments to match drivers of almost all sizes, and large windows and properly positioned mirrors enhance outward visibility. Big door openings also make it easy to get in and out. Though the second row is a decent size, some rivals offer a reclining second-row bench that adds a sense of space and extra degree of comfort missing in the GLC.
How’s the tech? One of the areas that Mercedes-Benz continues to lead the field in is technology. Our test GLC had the Burmester sound system, and we found that it produces an impressive auditory experience. The onboard navigation system, enhanced with augmented reality for confusion-free turn-by-turn directions, is also one of few that can rival popular smartphone apps. If you prefer to leverage your smartphone's nav apps, Mercedes-Benz has one of the best wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrations we've seen to date. It offers a generous layout of 15 apps per screen so you're not having to constantly swipe to access your favorite ones.
Our test GLC had six USB-C ports on board, so everyone's devices can get some juice at the same time. There's also a wireless charger tucked away in the center console, which is nice to have but a bit cumbersome to access, especially if you have drinks in the cupholders. Although others have certainly caught up, Mercedes' voice recognition is still one of the most functional in the industry, and not only for the endless supply of "dad jokes" it can throw at you on command.
The GLC's advanced driving aids provide excellent assistance in most scenarios. We found the adaptive cruise control to be a little jerky at times, so if you have sensitive passengers on board, you may want to refrain from using it. But everything else from the lane keeping assistance to blind-spot warning performs as expected.
How’s the storage? Among the few spots that the previous GLC fell short of expectations were cargo space and interior storage. Mercedes-Benz has improved in both areas this year even if only modestly. Interior storage still feels a bit sparse, and the use of available space isn't nearly as clever as we've found in some of the GLC's competitors.
The GLC's official cargo capacity behind the rear seats (21.9 cubic feet) is below average, though in our testing we found the GLC to be pretty useful in real-world scenarios. The Benz features convenient folding 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks that can be lowered nearly flat with the touch of a button in the cargo area. And if you have car seats to install, the Isofix anchors and top tether anchors are pretty easy to access. Large rear-facing seats may be a small squeeze behind an occupied front seat, but this is the case with most vehicles in this class.
How’s the fuel economy? We tested the GLC 300 4Matic, and it gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined in city/highway driving. That's 2-3 mpg better than most equivalent SUVs. We also achieved an impressive 27.9 mpg on our standardized test route, which is an indication to us that the EPA numbers should be accurate.
Is the GLC-Class a good value? The great thing about most of the new small Mercedes-Benz models is you don't feel like you're getting a cheaper product — you're simply getting a smaller version of its larger flagship vehicles. This holds true for the GLC, which feels classy and solid through and through. Unfortunately you pay for that solid build quality and true luxury experience. The Mercedes is one of the more pricey models across the board, so if you're a value-driven shopper, you may be better served elsewhere.
Mercedes' warranty also continues to lag the rest of the class. The basic and powertrain warranty runs for four years/50,00 miles, and roadside assistance is provided for that duration as well. No free scheduled maintenance is included.
Designed for understatement is something we've come to expect from Mercedes-Benz. The GLC's styling is clean and classic Mercedes and doesn't break any new ground. That may be fine for some, but we like to think there's greater glory to be won when a little more risk is taken, and this is about as safe and small a step as one can take. This might be forgiven if the GLC overdelivered with fun behind the wheel, but it doesn't. It's perfectly lovely, pleasant and easy to drive every day. Wholly competent. But for this kind of money, we'd want a little more spice in our life.
Which GLC-Class does Edmunds recommend?
The GLC is only offered with a single powertrain option in its first year, the GLC 300, which makes things easy. We would further recommend the midgrade Exclusive trim of the GLC 300 for most shoppers. For only a small gain in price of the base trim, you get some desirable luxury features such as a superb Burmester audio system and a surround-view camera system. The Driver Assistance package is also worth getting on any GLC.
Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class models
At launch, the 2023 GLC will only be offered as the GLC 300. It features a 255-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to the rear wheels or all four wheels in 4Matic models. From there, you can pick among three subtrims that offer increasingly more standard features: base, Exclusive and Pinnacle. Keep reading for our editors' rundown of what you get with each and what the GLC's major options are.
A well-rounded base model with:
Power-folding side mirrors
Synthetic leather upholstery
Power-adjustable, heated front seats
Power adjustable steering wheel
Dual-zone climate control
Household-style power outlet
Digital instrument cluster
11.9-inch touchscreen display with Mercedes' MBUX interface
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration (both with wireless connectivity)
Wireless charging pad
Standard advanced driver aids features include:
Forward collision mitigation (warns if a front impact is imminent and applies the brakes if you don't respond in time)
Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning (alerts you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse)
Automated parking system (steers into a parking spot with little or no driver intervention)
Adds to the base trim with:
Surround-view camera system (gives you a top-down view of the GLC and its surroundings in tight parking situations)
Burmester sound system
Enhanced ambient lighting
Integrated navigation system
Tops the GLC line with:
Augmented reality for the navigation system
Heat- and noise-insulated windows
Digital light projection headlights (enhances illumination for many scenarios)
The GLC offers a few option packages to add safety features, spruce up the exterior, or make the SUV more hospitable in cold weather. Highlights include:
Driver Assistance package
Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the GLC and the car in front)
Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle
centered in its lane)
Enhanced blind-spot warning (can steer the GLC to help avoid a collision with a vehicle in your blind spot)
Enhanced collision avoidance braking
Lane change assistance (can initiate and execute a lane charge automatically after activating the turn signal for a certain length of time)
AMG Line package
Synthetic suede upholstery
Flat-bottom sport steering wheel
Unique front bumper and grille design
Larger front brake discs
Special interior trim
Heated steering wheel
Heated windshield washer system
Stand-alone options include:
Leather or upgraded leather upholstery
Ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats
Heated steering wheel
Tri-zone climate control
Head-up display (displays important information in your sight line on the windshield)
I traded in my 2016 Lincoln MKX, which I absolutely loved, for a new GLC, mainly because I wanted better gas mileage than the 21MPG I was getting with the MKX. That was two months ago and I've put less than 1K miles on the GLC since I purchased it, so this review is based on that limited experience. Overall, I've been pleased with the GLC, although it has taken time to adjust to its … quirks. I read lots of bad reviews from other buyers, so I was a little hesitant to make the purchase, but I figured the new car warranty will cover any defects, at least for the first four years. I purchased the GLC over its rivals for four primary reasons: 1. I had never owned a Mercedes, and at 62 years old, I figured it's about time. 2. The $57K sticker price was similar to other cars I had tested, including a Kia Sorrento plug-in hybrid and a Mazda CX-90 PHEV. 3. After three test drives in the GLC, I really liked the comfort, the size and the elegant look, inside and out. 4, The GLC had a higher EPA rating than any of its rivals. And, that's where I'll start. So far, I've been averaging over 30MPG, which is outstanding, and much higher than the EPA rating of 26MPG combined. I normally drive in ECO mode and keep my speed under 70MPH. On a recent two-hour drive, I was actually getting 37MPG! The GLC uses a mild hybrid system that works smoothly and efficiently. You can take your foot off the accelerator and the hybrid system will let the car coast at a steady speed, which happens smoothly and quietly. The overall stop/start system is refined and unobtrusive, simply one of the best I've ever experienced. The seat comfort and driving position are also top-notch. Despite the compact size, there's plenty of elbow, leg and head room in the GLC. Another highlight is the Burmester sound system, which is impressive in its rich sound and dynamic range. The dash displays are colorful and vivid with distinct markings, and are visually appealing. The ambient lighting is beautiful and highly customizable, but mine is supposed to have the "enhanced" version (the Exclusive trim) but it was deleted, probably due to a chip issue. That's a bit of a bummer. So, there's a lot I like about the GLC. As for dislikes, the first one I'll mention is the coarse-sounding engine. It actually sounds like a diesel at idle from the outside, although it's very quiet inside. It will probably prove to be a great engine, but it sounds loud and unrefined. The interior is mostly beautiful, but there is lots of cheap looking black plastic, which is a shame in an otherwise gorgeous interior. My biggest complaint is with the easy entry/exit system. On any other vehicle I've owned with this feature, the seat powers back when the engine is turned off and/or the driver's door is opened. Not on the Mercedes. I'm 5'8", so I have the seat somewhat close to the steering wheel. When the easy entry/exit system is activated, the seat actually moves forward a few inches, rather than rearward. I thought it was faulty, but when I consulted the owner's manual, it said the car will determine whether the seat should be moved forward or rearward based on where it is located on the track. The reasoning is that someone sitting in the rear seat behind the driver might be injured if the driver's seat were to move back and impede their space. I know, dumb, right? It's very annoying not to be able to use that feature. The only other somewhat negative I'll mention is that there isn't any special lighting when approaching the car at night. My Lincoln had a "welcome" lighting feature that was pretty and elegant. There are definitely features about the Lincoln that I miss. But, with time, I'm growing fonder of the GLC.
Owned a 2016 for 4 years loved it. Only issue tire wear. So just purchased new 2023 glc. Drove one week loved it until wouldn’t turn over. Warnings on display 12 volt system needs repair. Every other warning came up also. Couldn’t get out of park to neutral to load it on flat bed. Finally got it to the Mercedes dealership in ft. Pierce Florida, has had the car for 3 days now and they … have no idea what is the problem. Purchased my first Mercedes in 1973. Never had this kind of issue. Could this be computer board software related? Had to check box mild hybrid, it is not
Update: service had for one week. Had to consult with an engineer don’t know from what country.Conclusion the battery was not grounded properly. Had to upgrade software also. Hope this problem has been put to bed.
I bought this car on April 26 and on the third day it died. Lights flashing, alarms going off. Called my salesperson and I agreed to leave it for an hour-well-it started right up. Then 10 days later-it wouldn’t stop with the warnings and lights and I called for a tow truck. 3 hours later-all the lights and warnings were still going off. Tow truck driver arrived at 1130 and had to jump … start the car to get it out of the garage. They had my car for 8 days and I got it back on a Thursday evening. Friday when I went to leave work. All the lights and warnings came on again. Couldn’t do anything with the car. After an hour of waiting for the tow truck, k started it and it was fine. I drove it to the dealer and they have had it for 2 weeks low. I have been without my brand new car for 32 days and counting. I have asked the dealership and MBUSA for a refund. They keep pushing back asking me to be patient. Frustrated for sure!!
Update, dealer gave me a full refund and yes, I purchased another one. I love the car!
[MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: Today, we're talking compact luxury, SUVs that promise panache in return for a chunky dollop of cash. Few have mastered this brief better over the years than the Mercedes GLC. Merc's biggest seller seduced a legion of fans willing to spend over 50 grand on something no bigger than a Honda CR-V. And this is the new one. It might not look that different, but it's actually an all new generation with a whole raft of new gadgets and gizmos. And frankly, it needs them. Because there's a new luxury player in town that's been snaffling all the awards, including our own fabled Edmunds top rated. The Genesis GV70 is a couple of years old now. But it still sits atop our rankings. So can the new GLC steal its crown? To answer that question, we're diving into the famous Edmunds rating, the product of our exhaustive testing process. In this film, we'll give you the overview. But if you want all the details, head to edmunds.com or click on the links. And now, without further ado, let's get on with it. So inside is where the cars differ most, and probably the bit that you care about most too. This GLC follows a now traditional Mercedes theme of having this curvaceous screen which houses all the major controls, and is of course touch sensitive. Then you've got a separate screen right here in front of the driver. All of this works really well. And it's super easy to use. But what works less well are these haptic controls here on the steering wheel. You have to kind of slide your thumb up and down to control the volume. It doesn't work well in a Volkswagen. Doesn't work well in a Mercedes. What do we think of this styling? Well, of course, you can trim your GLC to match your taste. Me? I'm not a big fan of the red seats and this pinstripe effect here on the fascia. That pinstripe jeans back in the '80s. And frankly, they weren't cool than. Let's swap to the Genesis. And as you can see, it's got a very different vibe. It's a bit sort of junior Bentley. They're trying very hard to create a luxury ambience. And to be honest, I think they've just about pulled it off, even if I'm still not a big fan of the red or the optional carbon fiber. The other thing that's very different in here is how you control everything. This screen, which looks a bit tacked on, is touch sensitive. But as you can see, it's something of a reach. But you have an alternative. There's a little rotary knob down here, which is a bit like what BMW uses, that you can turn and push, and also has a little kind of touchy thing on top. I prefer the Merc system. But it's something of a personal choice. Mercedes spends a ton of money on R&D. And when you start to play with the infotainment system, you can see that it's money well spent. It takes a little bit of learning. There's quite a lot of depth to it. But there's tons of functionality. And this navigation system is probably the best we've ever used. And if you want to use Apple CarPlay, it's wireless and beautifully integrated. There's also a ton of active safety systems. And we're particularly big fans of this camera system, which helps you park. The other big thing I should call out as a bit of a audiophile myself, this Burmester system, which is an option in the GLC, is quite superb. The 3D sound processing, brilliant. You also have to pay extra for an upgraded audio system here in the Genesis. In this case, a 16-speaker Lexicon [INAUDIBLE] that's good, not quite as good as the Burmester. We think it's worth paying extra for that options package, though, because it also includes some useful camera and safety technology. Right, let's talk about an irritation. If you want to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in the Genesis, it's not wireless. So you have to grab an old-fashioned cable and plug it in. First-world problem? Absolutely. But hey, this is supposed to be luxury. Welcome to the back seat of the GLC, where everything is pretty much as you'd expect. A couple of USB-C ports, a couple of air vents, a bit of funky LED lighting, and a few more speakers for the Burmester. Space, well, it's OK. I'm 6 foot 4. This is set up for me. And there is room. But of course, remember that both these vehicles are quite compact. And if you really want lots of space, there are plenty of alternatives, which are a lot bigger for around 50 grand. Rear seat of the GV70, well, in terms of space, it's pretty similar to GLC. But you do have a few more gadgets. You've got controls here for the climate control, and a function I particularly like, a proper plug socket here for charging something like a laptop. You can also control the front passenger seat using these switches here, which would no doubt delight my kids. What else to call out? Well, how about this? You can pull a handle and recline the rear seat. You can't do that in the Merc. Let's talk cargo. And if we're honest about it, neither of these vehicles is overburdened with luggage capacity. Because frankly, if you're hauling big stuff lots of the time, then a compact luxury SUV probably isn't for you. Having said that, if you're a normal family off for a week away, then there should be room in either of these for your luggage, which is, as you can tell, extremely heavy. Both of them have a adequate amount of oddman storage inside, enough for your typical knickknacks. But again, they're not minivans. Whichever the driving mode you're in, this GLC is just a nice car to drive. It's not overtly sporty like a Macan. But everything is beautifully [INAUDIBLE]. The steering is responsive, nicely weighted. The brakes are smooth. And this engine is an absolute gem. Honestly, we think this is the best four-cylinder motor we've ever driven, which is praise indeed. And it's so good in part because it has a 48-volt system. Now, without getting too geeky on you, what that means is you get a bit of electrical oomph to fill in some of the gaps, which helps it feel both smoother, more responsive, and ultimately, a bit faster than perhaps it looks on paper. Let's start by talking engines, because this is the biggest difference between the two. This Genesis has a 3 and 1/2 liter turbo V6, which is yours for the same price as the four pot in the Mercedes. Now Genesis also offers a 2 and 1/2 liter. But in our experience, it's much worth paying a little bit extra for the 3.5, which is both smoother and more powerful. Now, it doesn't have the fancy electric system of the Mercedes, but it's still very responsive with a really nice kind of shove in the mid-range. Sounds good too. Overall, this is a smooth, composed, relaxed drive. And if you play with the different modes, you can increase the weight of the steering and make the whole thing feel a bit more sporty according to your taste. Our numbers from the test track confirmed these impressions. The Mercedes achieved 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in 14.4 seconds at 93.4 miles an hour. That's pretty much on a par with the 2.5 liter GV70 but a chunk slower than the 3.5. And in the real world, you can really feel that difference. The Merc stops better though, measuring 60 to 0 in 106 feet, 14 feet less than the GV70's. It also has a little more ultimate grip, as our skidpad data shows. Not only does the GLC drive well, it's also very comfortable on the road. The ride quality is good, very soothing. It is almost eerily quiet in here, thanks in part to the dual pane glass that helps to cut down on road noise. These seats are comfortable too. But unlike the Genesis, they don't have perforation, and they don't have ventilation. So on a hot California day, it might get a bit clammy. One of the biggest plus points about the GV70 is just how refined it is. The ride is wonderfully smooth and composed. And it is exceptionally quiet in here, helped like the Mercedes, by the introduction of dual-pane glass. I should also call out these seats, which are some of the best on the market. They offer plenty of adjustment. There's a great massage function. And they're also heated and ventilated. On this model, you even get a heated steering wheel, great for those cold mornings, or if you're a fan of sweaty palms. The Mercedes feels well built, and generally uses premium materials. At around 4 and 1/2 thousand dollars, the pinnacle options pack is pricey but worth it for the extra cameras, improved navigation, and awesome Burmester audio. We're less convinced by the AMG line package fitted to our car, unless of course, you're determined to look sporty. Genesis is still establishing itself as a luxury alternative. And that shows in the value it offers. The GV70 sets the class standard for features, build, and warranty. A five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, three years free maintenance, and five years roadside assistance provide a level of reassurance Mercedes can't, or perhaps won't, match. This is where the Merc's clever hybrid system pays off. The GLC managed 27.9 miles per gallon on our dedicated loop in Southern California. That's 2.5 MPG better than the 2.5 liter GV70, and 7.7 better than the 3 and 1/2 liter, which to be fair, was tested in unusually heavy traffic. Whichever way you dress it up, that's a big win for Mercedes. So this is a tough call. And honestly, one of the tightest head to heads we've ever had. Remember, in this video, we've given you the overview. But if you'd want to dig into the nitty gritty, see all the test numbers, and the individual scores, click on the link that's floating around me somewhere, or head directly to the Edmunds site. Ultimately, of course, this largely comes down to personal choice. This new Merc has a terrific engine, better fuel economy, and generally speaking, more intuitive controls. But that Genesis has more character, more oomph, and is undeniably a better value in almost every way. Put simply, you just get more for your money. In our final analysis, we awarded the Genesis GV70 a score of 8.3, and the GLC a score of 8.0. And so the Genesis retains its crown. And it continues to sit atop our famous rankings. Just. If you want more details on this, and which trims we'd recommend, check out the full review on edmunds.com. And if you have a car to sell, we'll make you a cash offer at edmunds.com/sellmycar. [MUSIC PLAYING]
All-New 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 vs. 2022 Genesis GV70 | Small Size, Big Luxury
The small luxury SUV segment is one of the most highly competitive in the automotive industry, with big sales and bigger profits. The Mercedes-Benz GLC was once our go-to choice — until the Genesis GV70 swooped in and stole the crown upon its introduction for the 2022 model year. But… now the GLC is new and improved, getting a full redesign for 2023 that includes Benz’s latest luxury accoutrements and high-tech features. But are the changes enough to unseat the very excellent GV70 from the small luxury SUV throne? Find out with Edmunds’ Alistair Weaver in our comparison test above!
The X3 is the closest direct competitor to the GLC, with both vehicles offering a strong suite of multimedia and safety technology under the guise of German luxury. The X3 has an advantage over the GLC in passenger and cargo room, and it also offers an optional six-cylinder engine that has a big power advantage. The GLC does offer larger screens and a more modern-looking interior than the X3.
The new kid on the block puts its own spin on luxury to great success, and the Genesis GV70's styling and interior quality make it a standout in this class. It's offered in four- and six-cylinder powertrain options, the latter of which gives it a big power advantage over the GLC. The GLC counters with better fuel economy and superior multimedia and technology features.
Another compact luxury SUV stalwart, the Audi Q5 offers similar performance to the GLC with its base engine but also offers a plug-in hybrid variant. The interior feels a lot simpler in comparison, so if you think that the screens in the Mercedes are too big and too busy, the Q5 is happy to slow things down a bit. The GLC is the more modern-feeling of these two vehicles in both styling and features.
Even though it's been on sale since the 2016 model year, a strong foundation and continual improvements mean that the Mercedes-Benz GLC still outshines many of its newer competitors. In fact, the GLC has only just recently been beaten at the top of our rankings of small luxury SUVs, with the Genesis GV70 edging it out to take the title for 2022.
That underlines the well-rounded ability of this compact SUV, and Mercedes is building upon these strengths with its upcoming replacement. Given the runaway success of the current model, it may come as no surprise that the changes for the redesigned GLC are incremental rather than radical. The new 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC promises greater interior and trunk space, improved refinement, and a more expansive choice of infotainment and entertainment technology, as well as enhancements to the suite of standard and optional driver aids. We recently got the opportunity to test-drive a prototype version at Mercedes' winter testing facility in Sweden.
How does the GLC drive?
Just one engine is coming to the United States in the new GLC 300. It's a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The new powertrain makes 258 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed through a nine-speed automatic transmission to either the rear wheels or, in the GLC 300 4Matic, all four wheels. The major boost in torque is due to a 48-volt mild hybrid system that incorporates a starter-generator into the nine-speed automatic transmission. That'll help boost fuel economy by allowing the engine to shut off and coast under light loads.
In addition to the standard mild hybrid, Mercedes-Benz will offer as many as three different plug-in hybrid (PHEV) choices. One will be a diesel plug-in hybrid not sold here, though the other gasoline models will likely be shipped stateside. The standard PHEV will likely be badged GLC 300e, with its electric motor boosting the four-cylinder engine by adding 135 hp and 324 lb-ft. The second PHEV is likely to be a sporty Mercedes-AMG model, its hybrid drivetrain tuned more for performance than economy. Mercedes hasn't confirmed which PHEVs are coming to the States, but we'd be surprised if a high-power AMG variant and the GLC 300e never made their way to our shores.
Our test of the GLC was of an early preproduction prototype, driving on ice and compacted snow, and it's powered by the diesel that we won't get here. Therefore, our findings won't be comprehensively applicable to the U.S. model. Still, we were immediately struck by the exceptionally quiet cabin, which was almost totally isolated from engine and exterior noise. The sense of calm was impressive, and it's partially thanks to a new noise suppression matting that Mercedes-Benz uses in the transmission tunnel.
Our test GLC had the optional air suspension, which adds rear-wheel steering, and the ride was nicely composed, even on the rough, hard-packed snow of the test area. Perhaps more important, it rode with similar composure from our perch in the passenger seat on the roads leading to the test area. The steering was light and accurate, with maneuverability around tighter bends and stability at speed both aided by the optional rear-wheel steering system. Driving it in Comfort and Sport modes on the slippery surface demonstrated just how well integrated the traction and stability systems are. The unobtrusive assistance in the Comfort mode allowed easy progress, while the systems' higher thresholds in Sport revealed the chassis' inherent balance and sure-footed stability. We're familiar with the nine-speed automatic from its installation in other Benzes, and it proved just as slick and quick in its shifting here as in the closely related redesigned C-Class.
How comfortable is the GLC?
The new GLC's wheelbase only grows by half an inch, and while that's relatively small, it does manifest inside as a more spacious cabin. The effect, in the rear seats in particular, is enhanced by the narrow shoulders of the front seatbacks, which give rear passengers a good view through to the front. Headroom and legroom are decent in the front and two outer rear seats, with the middle seat more appropriate for children or smaller adults.
The impression of comfort is further bolstered by the aforementioned quiet of the interior in the tough conditions of our test drive. We'll need to test it on the road to be absolutely certain of these impressions, but based on our early drive in the GLC, it'll be even more serene than the very comfortable outgoing model.
How's the GLC's interior?
As a prototype, the GLC we're driving and riding in is wearing interior trim coverings to keep things secret until its official reveal later this year. It's not able to cover everything, though, and with so many of the functions, both drive- and comfort-related, contained within the large central screen it has to be uncovered while we drive it. What's obvious is that Mercedes-Benz has lifted the GLC's interior pretty much entirely from the new C-Class, which is no bad thing. That means there's a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, which offers a wide range of configurability to suit your preferences. There's also a 11.9-inch vertically oriented screen situated between the driver and passenger.
The interior materials and equipment will change as you climb the range from the base-model GLC 300, with the AMG model certain to get more sporting seats and trim. Visual packages such as the AMG Line from the existing GLC are likely to continue to be offered. We'll confirm the GLC's interior specification and options when we sample a production model at the launch later this year.
How's the GLC's tech?
Connectivity, entertainment, infotainment and convenience features are all enhanced for the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC. Featuring the second incarnation of Merc's impressive MBUX interface, that central touchscreen contains everything from augmented reality-enhanced navigation to an Energizing Coach that alters several interior functions to promote well-being on a journey. Much of that tech is optional, and Mercedes-Benz has yet to confirm standard equipment, but connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will likely be standard across the range. One of the more interesting features is a 360-degree parking camera, which also shows what's under the body when using the off-road driving mode, to help when driving the GLC on a trail.
The control of all that tech is well integrated, with all key functions easily accessed via the large central touchscreen, with submenus for lesser used functions proving relatively quick and easy to find. The new steering wheel incorporates touch control surfaces allowing further control of many functions, as well as what's displayed ahead of you on the digital instrument screen. If that's too much trouble, saying "Hey Mercedes" and asking it to turn up the heat, change radio stations, call Mom or execute other commands works pretty slickly, too. There are improved driver aids as well such as expanded functionality of traffic sign recognition, an automated parking system and a trailer assist function.
How are the GLC's storage and towing?
The previous GLC's storage capacity of 19.4 cubic feet wasn't exactly class-leading. The new version's cargo area grows to 21.1 cubes, which is still bested by many of its rivals.
Towing figures haven't been released yet, but it's not unreasonable to expect the new GLC to be broadly similar to the existing model, which again trails the best of the competition. If it's not big, capacious or able to tow as much as you'd like it to, Mercedes-Benz's salespeople will happily point you in the direction of the GLE, though for most small families, the GLC's practicality won't be found lacking in too many areas overall.
How economical is the GLC?
Since we only drove a prototype, we cannot provide any official fuel economy figures. What we can say is that with the adoption of that 48-volt mild hybrid tech with the integrated starter-alternator in the automatic transmission, the new GLC should return better gas mileage and emit fewer particulates than the car it replaces.
The current GLC has been a consistently strong performer against its competition, though it has been recently dethroned by the Genesis GV70 in the small luxury SUV class. Based on our limited test drive of the redesigned model, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC might have what it takes to snag the crown once more.
Is the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2023 GLC-Class both on the road and at the track, giving it a 8.0 out of 10. Edmunds’ consumer reviews show that the 2023 GLC-Class gets an average rating of 3 stars out of 5 (based on 20 reviews) What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the GLC-Class has 21.9 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. Learn more
What's new in the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class:
To determine whether the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the GLC-Class. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the GLC-Class's 3-star average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2023 GLC-Class and gave it a 8.0 out of 10. Our consumer reviews show that the 2023 GLC-Class gets an average rating of 3 stars out of 5 (based on 20 reviews). Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2023 GLC-Class is a good car for you. Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class?
The least-expensive 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class GLC 300 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 9A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $47,100.
Other versions include:
GLC 300 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 9A) which starts at $47,100
GLC 300 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 9A) which starts at $49,100
What are the different models of Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class?
If you're interested in the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, the next question is, which GLC-Class model is right for you? GLC-Class variants include GLC 300 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 9A), and GLC 300 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 9A). For a full list of GLC-Class models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more