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2020 Mercedes - Benz GLC 300 Chicagoland Review By Larry Nutson

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2020 Mercedes - Benz GLC 300

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

What’s not to like? I’ve just slid into the driver’s seat of Mercedes’ refreshed for 2020 GLC 300 premium compact SUV. Of course liking and disliking is a matter of everyone’s personal taste, but for me I was quite pleased with what I saw.

The GLC 300’s cabin is luxurious. The Cranberry Red and Black leather nicely bolstered sport seats, a part of the AMG treatment for $1,620, quickly kicked up the sport-side of me. Grey Oak wood trim, a black fabric headliner, brushed aluminum pedals and the AMG logo floor mats finished things out.

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Focused on the 3-spoke leather steering, finding my desired driving position was made easy with the power and heated front seats that also include an extendible lower leg support and power headrest adjustment. There’s a power adjustable steering column and all this can be “kept” in the memory function.

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Outside mirrors have a power fold feature which is a real plus when in a tight parking spot. Or, for the occasional parking on a narrow city street with the dangers of a passing large truck claiming many a mirror.

Mercedes’ steering column mounted automatic transmission gear selector is a delight. Push the stalk down for drive, push up for reverse, push a button on the end for park. And, your right hand never has to leave the steering wheel. What’s the big deal you ask? I’ve driven vehicles with shift levers, rotating shift controllers, push buttons, pull switches, all of them mounted on the center console or somewhere on the dash. You always have this movement of your right hand back and forth. I just found the Mercedes stalk on the column so simple and efficient to use.

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On the outside the 2020 GLC 300 has refreshed styling with new headlights and taillights, a new design grille with double louvres and diamond lattice. My AMG line test-car featured a chrome diamond-block grille and front bumper with an aggressive design, as well as angular exhaust tips.

Riding on the same platform as the C-Class sedan, under the hood sits a 2.0-L turbo with an output of 255-horsepower, up from the 241-horsepower on last year’s model. Coupled to a 9-speed automatic the GLC I drove was also fitted with 4Matic all-wheel drive.

Driver selectable modes include Comfort, Sport, Sport plus, and Individual. The default Comfort mode is great for around town driving where you might not need to make any rapid take-offs. The Comfort mode uses second gear to accelerate from stop. That, combined with a bit of non-linearity in throttle response produces a slight bit of lag. I preferred the first-gear starts of the Sport mode. There are shift paddles for more fun-type spirited driving control.

Mercedes says the 300 SLC will do zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. EPA test-cycle ratings for fuel economy are 22 city mpg and 29 highway mpg.

In addition to the previously mentioned drive modes an optional Off-road Engineering package provide Off-Road and Off-Road plus driver selectable modes.

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The suspension is firm, well controlled and nicely compliant. The GLC 300 I drove was optioned with no-charge summer performance tires that were fitted to 20-inch wheels. However, for the cold winter climate of Chicago, Pirelli Scorpion winter tires mounted to 18-inch wheels had been fitted to this vehicle.

The rolling outside diameter of these two wheel/tire combinations I just mentioned are the same. The is accomplished by decreasing wheel diameter while increasing tire cross-section height.

Seating is for five with plenty of front seat room but the rear can be a bit tight when it comes to legroom. A power liftgate and rear cargo cover open up to decent cargo room.

The advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) offerings have been expanded and includes adaptive cruise control distance assist, lane-keep assist, emergency braking assist, parking assist, rear cross-traffic assist, pedestrian detection, and exit warning.

The multimedia infotainment system can be controlled by touch control on the new standard 10.25” touchscreen display, by using the steering wheel mounted touch control buttons, with the touchpad on the center console, or by voice control, either with the button on the steering wheel or a "Hey Mercedes” prompt.

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More information and details on the GLC 300 can be found at Pricing for the 2020 GLC 300 4Matic is at $44,500. The test car I drove was optioned up quite a bit and had a bottom line price of $60,575.

Also available is a GLC 43 with a 385-hp turbocharged 3.0-L V6 engine. An AMG GLC 63 can be had powered by a 469-hp turbocharged 4.0-L V8. And, a GLC 350e plug-in hybrid has a turbocharged 2.0-L engine combined with an electric motor for 315 total system horsepower and an all-electric range of around 30 miles.

The GLC is a well designed and good looking compact SUV that is well suited to urban living. The overall exterior size makes the GLC big-city friendly. And yet, there is decent room to meet typical transportation needs.

For me, a pleasing and stylish cabin interior design and trim is high on my priority list, as well as good functionality of all the mechanical and digital controls.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy