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2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 4matic Review

2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 4matic (select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 4matic



Model: 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 4matic
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 268 hp @ 6,000 rpm/258 lb.-ft. @ 2,400-5,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 108.5 in.
Length/Width/Height: 178.2 x 79.4 x 66.9 in.
Tires: P235/45R20
Cargo volume: 23.3/54.7 cu. ft. /rear seat up/down
Fuel economy: N/A/ 18.4 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gal.
Sticker: $34,775 (base)

The Bottom Line: A smaller version of the GL SUV, the GLK looks almost like a Toyota Highlander, with Mercedes-Benz styling cues and luxury, of course. The GLK also invokes the more angular G-Class, which M-B claims is an ancestor. This is a Mercedes-Benz, with all its blessings and foibles. It is solid, powerful and luxurious.

Mercedes-Benz is slowly becoming the sport utility manufacturer of all time. The German manufacturer now sells the G-Class, the GL-Class, the M-Class and the R-Class. To this mix they have now added the GLK, s shorter version of the GL that competes, size-wise with the Toyota Highlander and its ilk.

Make no mistake about it, the GLK, while compact, is a true Mercedes-Benz, much in the same way the compact C-Class, with which it shares a platform, earns the three-pointed star. The GLK has all the luxury features one would expect from its parent, with decent performance as well. No, this isn't an SL, but it is a good compact SUV. But as a compact, the rear seat legroom is compromised.

Front seat comfort is very good. The seats offer decent side support, although you won't be entering any races with this vehicle.

The GLK also has excellent road manners. Many SUVs, even the car-based ones, have stiff suspensions that make traveling on anything but smooth, flat Interstates a chore. The GLK can handle rougher roads without jarring your kidneys.

With 4Matic, Mercedes-Benz's permanent four-wheel drive technology, the GLK offers very good traction in slippery and mild off-road conditions. We drove the GLK in some pretty nasty rainstorms and felt confident in our ability to turn and stop.

The GLK also has 4-ETS (4-wheel electronic traction system) that can get you going even when only one wheel has traction. In addition, the GLK has what Mercedes-Benz calls its Agility Control suspension, a combination of a three-link front and multi-link rear suspension. this system adjust the dampers based on road conditions and the driver's style for a better ride.

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that's rated at 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The wheels are driver through a 7-speed automatic transmission that has tough shift if you want to drive it manually.

We felt there was excellent cargo capacity for its size. The maximum is 54.7 cubic feet, with 23.3 cubic feet behind the rear seat. But you can also adjust the rear seats to have one up and one down and still carry three passengers and their skis. For our use, the GLK served us well in multiple trips to the garden center and had room enough to carry plants to our daughter's house.

The entertainment system consisted of a standard AM/FM/CD/AUX audio system up front and a DVD player for the rear passengers with individual screens mounted on the backs of the front seat headrests.

The instrument panel is clear, with white-on-black dials. The speedometer has a blue center that's unobtrusive. I liked the cruise control display. It marks down from the high end of the 160 mph speedometer and you also get a digital readout in the information display. When you go off cruise control, the speed number is reduced in size, so that you know what speed you'll be headed back to. I still don't like the location of the cruise control stalk, which is mounted just above the turn signal stalk and is often mis-hit. My daughter liked the panoramic sunroof, that offers a complete full opening sunroof for the front passengers and a tilt-up one for the rear.

To operate the COMAND infotainment system, there is a knurled knob located just in front of the center console and easily accessible for the driver. This is very intuitive and doesn't require the driver to take his eyes form the road to operate. This controls the radio, CD/DVD player, DVD/hard disc navigation system and telephone controls. The readout is a 7.5-inch color screen.

The Mercedes-Benz GLK isn't going to steal customers form the less expensive compact SUVs on the market, but it will attract potential Mercedes-Benz buyers who may be looking for something different.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate