I was never an SUV or multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) fan. A small family of four does not need the extra legroom. The sudden urges to change lanes, floor the pedal and feel that adrenalin rush, much to the ire of the Mrs, has shielded me away from SUVs or bulky MPVs.
The “brand X” saloon with 245 horses that rush from zero to 100km/h in about 5.9 seconds (in sport mode and traction control off) and a top speed of 250km/h deliver the driving pleasure.
But SUVs have become the car industry’s greatest success story in recent times. The reinvention of what was once an off-road vehicle into a luxury, fun-filled daily drive with all the features and comfort of a saloon is received with open arms.
Sales of SUVs are registering phenomenal growth. In some countries, the roomier SUVs had outstripped sedan cars. For example, US car sales in June saw trucks and SUVs help automakers to post profits.
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd sold 5,913 vehicles for the first six months of this year and SUVs accounted for 1,233 units, proving that it is a key segment for the German carmaker. Worldwide, the brand — famous for its three-pointed star emblem — posted record overall sales for the first-half of 2016.
The premium compact SUV is one of the biggest markets in the industry. Mercedes-Benz has been eyeing the premium mid-sized SUV market for years.
After the GLK, Mercedes-Benz introduced the sleeker, well-tailored and fierce looking GLC 250 4Matic AMD line.
The five-seat GLC 250 4Matic is already giving the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 a run for their money. And it is not difficult to understand why more people are drawn to the SUV market and the Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4Matic AMD.
Space and Comfort
The moment you enter the GLC 250 4Matic AMD, you are showered with sporty elegance, luxurious features and space. Sidesteps come standard with the SUV and help you to ease your way into the cabin.
Saloon-car drivers will appreciate the roomier cabin. Panoramic sliding sunroof adds to the luxury. Internally, the dashboard is cleanly designed, rugged and sporty.
Such changes have given the German carmaker new followers, especially from young executives who eventually become Mercedes lovers.
The dashboard is similar to the Mercedes C-class. All dials are accessible and easy to understand. Those rounded central air vents give you the sporty feeling.
Drivers who are used to the traditional gear stick located between the passenger and driver seats will need to adapt to the GLC 250 4Matic’s column-mounted gear selector.
Driving is aided with a head-up display; current speed, speed limits and other relevant information are projected directly at eye level without being obstructive.
As a family car, this SUV offers a generous load space of up to 1,600 litres. Space constraint is not a cause for concern, especially for those on family excursions or holidays. There is plenty of space to pack your stuff. For entertainment, the GLC 250 would enthral its passengers with a 590-watt, 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound System.
Performance and Handling
The car is powered with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It delivers 211hp at 5,500rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1,200rpm to 4,000rpm. The engine packs enough punches to outrun those 1.5cc cars.
The engine is mated to a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission connected to an all-wheel drive. It races from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds and factory rated 6.5 to 7.1 litre for every 100km. The GLC 250 reaches a top speed of 222km/h.
Performance-wise, the GLC 250 4Matic can easily outclass many rivals. Beyond the horses and reaching the 0-100km/h mark, the handling is smooth, almost like a saloon car.
On a winding road with the pedal pressed hard, the GLC 250 4Matic shows its prowess, comfort and confidence. The suspension and damping system absorbed the speed.
With the agility control suspension with selective damping system and a 20-inch run-flat tyres hold the SUV on the road. On a straight road and with the acceleration pedal floored, it speeds almost like a demon at higher revs.
The 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission system rapid gear changing gives an unnoticed gear shifting feel. The nine-speed transmission offers better fuel consumption. The 360-degree camera and active parking assist are a joy to use. A feature the Mrs will love to use for those tight parking spaces.
Fast and indeed safe. The GLC 250 4Matic AMD is equipped with Mercedes-Benz PRE- SAFE System. It is a state-of-the-art safety system which users will appreciate. This intelligent system prepares the SUV before an accident even occurs. A network of sensors detect conditions that suggest a collision may occur and help prepare the driver and the SUV before the crucial moments.
The system will tighten the front seat belts, and adjust the front head restraints and passenger seat if it senses an oncoming accident. Even the system will close the windows and sunroof automatically to protect the passengers in the cabin. I must say the system is very comprehensive and secure.
The car also comes with Collision Prevention Assist, a radar sensor that scans for possible collision and assist the driver to slow the car. It does come handy for those easily distracted drivers in slow moving traffic.
Overall, this is an elegant yet rugged and sporty SUV with distinct and polished characters, features which can easily convert an avid saloon driver to become an SUV fan.