It’s not uncommon for vehicles to get slapped with labels based on stereotypes. One of the more derisive ones I’ve heard over the years is a pejorative reference to mid-size luxury crossovers as “parent mobiles.” Although it’s usually more sexist than that, with moms taking more flak than dads, for reasons I don’t need to explain.
Perhaps, though, this stereotype doesn’t need to be so negative. If you need to haul children and/or pets and/or aged parents around the suburbs and you have the means to shop upmarket, you could do worse than the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Sure, it’s a tad boring, but that’s OK. Comfort is the name of the game here – although this Benz doesn’t completely sacrifice sportiness.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gets a mild hybrid boost that works pretty seamlessly, with an output of 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission and power gets to ground via all-wheel drive.
That power gets put down quietly – very little engine noise intrudes unless you’re summoning the upper rev range – and smoothly. The GLC is a tad heavy, but there’s enough grunt here for the urban dash. Fling it into a corner and you’ll get a bit of body roll but the GLC handles with competence. It’s not as fun as something with an AMG badge, but it’s fine if your priority is commuting or people hauling.
The ride is definitely luxury-crossover smooth. So, too, is the overall user experience.
That extends to the cabin – the digital gauge system is easy to read and configure, and the large infotainment screen is easy on aging eyes. It’s not super difficult to navigate, either, though the haptic-touch controls are hit or miss. MB does haptic touch better than others but sometimes old-fashioned knobs and buttons are still the best way to go.
On the other hand, the futuristic interior design is one of those “eye of the beholder” things. Some will dig it, some not.
One thing that stuck out to me is that while luxury brands sometimes soak buyers when it comes to MSRP, the as-tested price for the GLC 300 4Matic I drove was a reasonable $56K. The base price checked in at under $50K.
That sum gets you dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and starting, Bluetooth, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, power sunroof, active brake assist, attention assist, rearview camera, blind-spot assist, LED headlamps and taillamps, LED daytime running lights, and adaptive high-beam assist.
Options included “Nappa look” for the dash, a panorama roof, heated steering wheel, satellite radio, an advanced USB package, 19-inch wheels, a driver-assistance package (active steering assist, active lane-change assist, active blind-spot assist, evasive steering assist, and more), and another package that included a 360-degree camera, Burmester audio, and navigation.
All this in a pleasantly inoffensive package.
Maybe I am showing my age. Maybe my wilder days have truly faded. Or maybe I contain multitudes and can appreciate the most intense muscle car as much as I can a comfortable SUV that blends.
Either way – the GLC 300 4Matic isn’t going to inspire lust, but you’ll feel just fine hanging its key fob on the hook in your garage.
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