The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-class is the company's best-selling model because it combines the style and versatility that consumers want. Mercedes-Benz's compact crossover pampers passengers with a luxurious interior and provides more space than most sedan trunks.
Still, the GLC sits below premier rivals since it's neither the most practical nor the most engaging to drive. Its standard power-train is dutiful albeit unremarkable, and there's a plug-in hybrid model for increased efficiency.
The lineup offers a smorgasbord of cutting-edge infotainment content as well as advanced driver-assistance technology. While the 2020 GLC-class casts a wide net for crossover shoppers, it won't catch those seeking a more capacious and exciting SUV.
What's New for 2020?
The 2020 GLC-class adds several significant updates that include revised styling, new technology, and more power. Along with an enhanced plug-in-hybrid model, which has a bigger battery and substantial torque increase, the gas-only models have a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes an additional 14 horsepower.
Mercedes says its 4Matic all-wheel-drive system has been overhauled for better handling, too. All GLCs have a redesigned grille, new LED head- and taillights, fresh wheel designs, and subtle rear-end changes. The interior receives the latest MBUX infotainment system with redundant controls and a newly available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
Which One to Buy?
We're smitten with the sportier Mercedes-AMG GLC43, which we review separately, but the GLC43 starts at $60,495 and is more crossover than most consumers want. Those considering the tamer models should select the regular GLC300 with the optional 4Matic all-wheel drive for another $2000.
Although it already has a host of desirable standard features, we'd improve its luxury cred with the Leather Seating package that swaps the faux-leather for the real deal. We'd also choose the packages to secure passive entry, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and the suite of driver assists.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission is the GLC300's standard power-train. Front-wheel drive is the default setup but all-wheel drive—called 4Matic—is optional. The GLC300 4Matic we drove in Germany had mostly responsive acceleration and well-behaved transmission behavior.
The 2020 GLC350e plug-in hybrid receives several updates that include a more powerful electric motor, bigger battery, and an improved charging system. While we haven’t driven one yet, it's set to compete with plug-in rivals such as the updated BMW X3 xDrive30e and Volvo XC60T8.
The Mercedes lacks the driving verve of the Porsche Macan—see the AMG-tuned versions for maximum engagement—but the GLC-class at least delivers a smooth and quiet ride.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With a plug-in hybrid available, the GLC-class looks to satisfy those who prioritize fuel economy. While the 2020 GLC350e has been updated for increased all-electric driving range, neither Mercedes nor the EPA has released estimates.
The gas-powered GLC300 is expected to earn 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, and the all-wheel-drive model sacrifices 1 mpg in both categories. However, we haven't had a chance to test their real-world efficiency on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The 2020 GLC-class interior delivers attractive materials, wonderful build quality, and comfortable passenger accommodations. Mercedes also stocks the GLC with luxurious standard equipment that includes dual-zone climate control and power-adjustable front seats with heated cushions.
The SUV also can be upgraded with leather surfaces, head-up display, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and more. Unfortunately, the GLC is less generous with its limited interior cubby storage and mediocre cargo capacity, which measures 19 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 57 cubes with the back seats folded.
Both volumes are smaller than the BMW X3 that offers 29 and 63 cubes, respectively.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Mercedes gives every 2020 GLC a versatile infotainment system that benefits from a variety of control inputs and contemporary features. The standard 10.25-inch touchscreen supports the company's latest MBUX software that responds to voice commands.
The system also can be operated by touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel or a mostly intuitive touchpad on the center console. While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are standard, the fanciest audio system and wireless charging cost extra.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The GLC hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Mercedes SUV also offers all the latest driver-assistance technology. Key safety features include:
Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-Benz provides competitive warranty coverage compared with premium rivals. However, the German automaker doesn't provide the complimentary maintenance that BMW and Jaguar do.
Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
Power-train warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles