The 2.1-litre turbo diesel engine fitted to our test model belies its diminutive capacity with solid outputs of 125kW and 400Nm. The chunky torque figure was especially noteworthy during our daily driving routine as it ensured the 220d never felt underpowered. Modern, small-capacity turbo diesel engines are a marvel in the way they generate and deliver their power and torque, and this engine is a shining example of that.
If you desire more grunt but diesel is still the favoured option, you can step up to the 150kW/500Nm 250d. There’s also a petrol model, but after a week behind the wheel of the 220d (mainly around town), we found it hard to argue against the oiler, with a real world fuel usage figure of 7.5 litres/100km. Even considering the impressive fuel consumption figures of the 220d, the 250d does remain the pick of the range.
While the listed starting price is slightly higher than a comparable offering from fellow Germans BMW or Audi, Mercedes-Benz argues the level of standard kit on offer from the GLC more than makes the case for that slight price discrepancy. That factor rings true in the real world too, with none of my passengers during my testing realising they were actually being ferried around in the ‘base’ model.
The cabin features signature ‘Benz build quality, fit and finish and cosseting. It matters not that the GLC we’re testing is an entry-level model, as the cabin feels as luxurious and insulated as any other more expensive Mercedes-Benz model. The leather trim is beautifully executed, and the door-mounted electric seat adjusters have that signature touch of quality too. We liked the matte dark wood panel look throughout the centre console – it’s a vast improvement on piano black finishes that highlight dust and fingerprints. An Aussie summer means we didn’t call on the seat heating function, but the seat cooling works well, making for smooth cruising on hot, humid days.
The physical size of the GLC contributes to that sensible family angle too – it’s big enough to be spacious and comfortable, but it’s not so big you’ll be struggling to negotiate tight laneways and underground carparks. If you live anywhere in or near a large city and you must have an SUV, there’s no doubt this is the size you should be considering.
Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2016