The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLC tempts with its svelte style, its relaxed demeanor, and its massive array of available features.
Even with a slimmed-down lineup this year—Mercedes-Benz pushed the pause button on V-8 models—the turbo-4 GLC300 and the twin-turbo V-6 GLC43 AMG offer plenty of compelling reasons to shop the three-pointed star.
Additional minor updates for 2022 include newly standard high-beam headlights, rear USB ports, and the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster which has been added to the GLC43.
The lineup consists of GLC and GLC Coupe, the latter of which costs a bit more and has less luggage room but tempts with its daring roofline. GLC300 versions use a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 255 horsepower. The AMG-massaged GLC43 swaps in a stiffer suspension, tweaked steering, and a host of other changes—oh, and a 385-hp twin-turbo V-6. If you know, you know.
The all-wheel-drive GLC300 4Matic rates 21 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined. With base rear-wheel drive, the GLC300 garners essentially the same EPA ratings of 22/27/24 mpg; Coupes with all-wheel drive check in at 21/27/23 mpg.
With optional LED headlights, the GLC lineup rates a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Federal testers grand this SUV a five-star overall rating for its crashworthiness. Standard fare includes automatic emergency braking, active park assist, and blind-spot monitors. Options consist of a package with adaptive cruise control and active lane control with lane-change assist; a surround-view camera system; and a head-up display.
The GLC range starts around $45,000 for a well-equipped base model with 18-inch alloy wheels, a hands-free power tailgate, power-adjustable and heated front seats, synthetic leather trim, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All-wheel drive ups the ante by another $2,000.
Mercedes offers a host of options on the GLC; shoppers can add adaptive cruise control, a big moonroof, adaptive headlights, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and premium audio, plus real leather upholstery and various trim options.
AMG and Night trim packages add fresh styling bits but don’t alter the GLC’s basic personality.
The GLC43 gets the full AMG treatment with plenty of power matched to 20-inch wheels, an AMG-tuned suspension, and a digital instrument cluster for $61,000 or so to start, though options can push a loaded-up one well above that level.
Sensible but stylish, the Mercedes GLC is a good-looking small crossover SUV. It’s curvy and flamboyant, but not over-the-top even with all the bits AMG can throw at it.
Costlier GLC Coupe models have a rakish roofline that is either a must-have or a must-avoid, depending on your perspective.
Even base GLCs look dressy enough thanks to intricate grille detailing, delicate use of brightwork, and big 18-inch wheels. The Night and AMG packages add more expressive flair without going too far.
The GLC wears less-restrained lines inside, though many models will be outfitted in conservative black and tan hues.
The wide touchscreen chucked high on the dash is surrounded by glamorous bands of wood and metallic trim, plus toggle switches and control knobs.
AMG versions push things a bit farther with their available carbon fiber, red seat belts, and contrasting stitching, though buyers can luxe or sport things up as their hearts—and wallets—prefer.
Front-seat passengers get multi-adjustable thrones with standard heating good enough for all-day comfort even without adding optional cooling and real leather.
The rear seat is good enough for two and acceptable for three, with terrific leg room and ample head space augmented by wide door openings for a small crossover SUV. GLC Coupes differ here with less head room and tighter door apertures, so they’re not the best choice for families on the go.
Long-roof models offer up 20 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row upright, which expands to nearly 60 cubes with the rear backrest flopped down. Coupes aren’t as spacious with 17.7 and 49.4 cubic feet, respectively.
No matter what’s under the hood, the GLC impresses with a supple ride and communicative steering. If not for its high seating position, it could almost be a wagon. That’s no surprise since the GLC is a close relative to the downright divine Mercedes C-Class.
The base 255-hp turbo-4 delivers ample grunt and works brilliantly with the column-shifted 8-speed automatic transmission. Step up to the GLC43 and you’ll rocket past most other cars on your way to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, about a click and a half faster than the GLC300.
Splitting the difference is the AMG Line package offered on the GLC300, which adds uprated brakes and bigger wheels, though there’s not a rough rider in the bunch.
Standard rear-wheel drive on the GLC300 can be swapped for winter-ready all-wheel drive. AMG GLC43 models deliver power to each corner no matter what, and they wear summer tires by default. Shop accordingly, snowbirds.
Sprightly and stylish, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a world-beating small crossover SUV worthy of its three-pointed star.
—by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection