Compact luxury SUV
The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is the successor to the earlier GLK – a machine noted for its strong sales and owner satisfaction, and for being one of the most instantly recognizable machines in its segment.
The GLC arrived as an all-new model to replace its much-loved predecessor in 2016, and was highly linked to the Mercedes C-Class sedan of the same vintage. The entry-level GLC 300 offered up a fresh and curvaceous new look inside and out, with plenty of high-end materials and metal trimmings, glossy touch surfaces galore, and bright displays rounding out the package. Look for high-end audio systems, impressive leather, open-pore wood trim, and a full array of the latest connectivity and safety equipment for the day.
With flexible interior space, elevated ground clearance, an upright driving position, good outward sightlines, and all-wheel drive (AWD), the GLC 300 is well suited to keep up with the daily grind of shoppers from all walks of life. When scoping out the GLC 300, you’ll find both standard and so-called coupe body styles, the latter offering a sleeker style alternative for some shoppers to consider.
The GLC 300 ran a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with strong low-end torque. All units run a nine-speed automatic transmission and a fully automatic AWD system.
What Owners Like
Commonly, the GLC is praised by owners and reviewers for its road manners, ride comfort, quiet and smooth drive, punchy turbocharged power, and an overall feel and finish fitting of a high-end product.
What Owners Dislike
Owner gripes tend to centre around some ergonomic issues with the interior, and some report difficulty achieving strong fuel efficiency from the 2.0L engine.
Avoid a Crabby GLC
Numerous GLC owners have reported occurrences of “crabbing,” a scenario in which the vehicle feels like it’s binding, scrubbing, skipping, or clomping over the pavement. If the GLC you’re considering is suffering from this problem, you’ll likely notice it the most when trying to steer sharply and at a low speed, on a wet surface. You’re on the lookout for a sound or sensation like the one shown in this video. Here’s some more information.
If the vehicle you’re test-driving exhibits any trouble signs, have it seen by a professional before you buy, or move to another unit.
The GLC 300 owners community has identified unwanted braking system noise as one of their main complaints. To test for it, quiet the cabin, roll down the windows slightly, and drive at a moderate speed – perhaps 45 km/h. Touch the brakes slightly for a moment. Release them, then touch them again with a little more pressure. Work the brakes in this way, applying various levels of pressure each time, while listening for unwanted squealing, squeaking, or scraping. Listen for the sound when driving (and braking) in reverse as well.
Brakes may make unwelcomed sounds for a variety of reasons, and many of them have easy or even free fixes. Other times, the problem may be more serious and expensive to address. Buying a used vehicle with a braking system that sounds funny could cost you money. If in doubt, get it checked out.
Front End / Tires
Some owners have reported unwanted vibrations, bouncing, or sounds from the GLC 300’s front end, especially over rough surfaces and over bumpy roads while braking. Most have not. Problems like this can be a sign of trouble with tire pressure, alignment, the suspension system, the steering system, or something else.
On a rough road, pay close attention to the feel of the GLC 300 you’re test-driving while both cruising and braking over a bumpy sideroad. Excessive feedback through the steering system, or excessive noise or vibration on rough roads, can be trouble signs.
You can help prevent trouble in this area by ensuring the GLC 300 you’re considering has a healthy alignment, properly inflated tires, and that it’s running all of the latest software updates.
Here’s some more reading. In this discussion, owners identify brake squeal and tire-wear/front-end problems as some of the GLC’s most common issues.
Some owners have reported trouble with the GLC 300’s infotainment system, with connectivity issues key among them. Consumer Reports has also noted the GLC’s electronics to be a weak spot.
After running through all on-board systems, menus, and functions, connect your phone and media to confirm proper connectivity and audio quality. Switch audio sources multiple times. Confirm proper back-up camera operation. Set a navigation destination. If systems show signs of lagging, choking, or crashing, have the unit inspected before you buy. Protect yourself from headaches by ensuring the GLC 300’s battery and charging system are healthy, and that the vehicle is running all applicable software updates, which can help prevent problems with on-board electronics.
While owners of the earlier Mercedes GLK-Class tend to report excellent reliability as those machines aged, GLC 300 owners seem to have more to complain about. A careful test drive and pre-purchase inspection should make it easy to avoid a model with any of the potential trouble outlined above, and a unit with extended warranty coverage of its electronics and suspension components may add extra peace of mind.
IIHS: Top Safety Pick (2020)
NHTSA: 5/5 stars (2018)
Here’s a lengthy list of recalls.