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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC250d review
OWNER RATING 8.1 /10
  • Good looks, glitz and glamour; Lots of feature for the money rather than ticking expensive options; Potential long-term durability as most Mercs have
  • Low riding compare to other SUVs of similar size; Routine service should be condition-based rather than one year or 25,000km; Diesel, wind and road noise should be better; Runflat tyre with 80km range not practical for Australia
PRICE N/A
ANCAP RATING N/A

by Barry Ng

My son said, “Your old Merc ML is polluting the world and depleting resources. Get something that is more fuel efficient and fun”.

So I bought the GLC250d last year; it has done 9000 km so far. Of this, we’ve gone skiing in the Snowy Mountains three times. On a trip, average fuel consumption is about 6.1 to 6.3 L/100k which is not bad for a 1840kg car with a full load and ski roof box.

There was one trip from Thredbo to Sydney where the GLC250d returned 5.7L/100k. That is better than a Corolla!

Once over 100km/h, it will slip into ninth gear and hum along at 1500rpm. The 2.1-litre twin turbo-diesel is similar to some large Merc vans, ambulances et cetera, and therefore should outlast me for durability. Suburban driving is at about 8L/100k, which is half the fuel use in my old ML.

The car has Distronic Plus with adaptive cruise control with steering assist and lane keeping assist. Once you set it, all you have to do is casually hold the steering wheel and casually keep an on the road. You can even take your hands off the steering wheel and watch it move slightly, or look at scenery, all for 12 seconds.

Once the time is up, there will be a picture with a pair of red hands, on the wheel, warning you to put yours hands back on the wheel. If you don’t, it will sound a warning. And if you still don’t, it will cut out the cruise and slow down, assuming you’ve suffered a medical condition or fallen asleep!

At cruise it will slow down if it comes up to a slower car, all the way to a complete stop if needed. With all these, you don’t get tired even driving for three to four hours. Of course, on tighter bends, it will not be safe to let it do the navigation. It is safe enough on 110km/h highway where there are no sharp bends. And all these will work day and night and in driving rain, or snow. I haven’t try it in foggy conditions, yet.

On Alpine Way where the road is narrow and continuous white lines, if you accidently run over the line for a couple of seconds, it will show a warning picture that you are on the wrong side of the road, and automatically lightly apply the brake and pull you back into the lane. This means you can’t cut corner even if there is perfect visibility. This is a bit over cautious. There should be a button to allow you to temporarily switch it off.

The diesel engine is quite refined compared to others like Volvo or VW, and for a passenger, they probably can’t tell it is a diesel. My other V6 petrol Merc ML is definitely smoother and quieter. It also still has wind noise and road noise on coarse chip roads. I think Mercedes should invest in more sound deadening!

The suspension will easily bottom out on Comfort setting, even over normal suburban speed bumps, which is annoying. I guess with 20-inch wheels, they have to soften the suspension more.

It only has steel, and not air suspension. The Comfort setting is good on highway where it is smooth but not leaning too much on corners. If you put it in Sport, it almost transform the car into a sports car, unleashing its twin-turbo power and that can surprise people. Highway overtaking is a breeze.

The LED intelligent headlight allows you to put it on high beam all the time. It can detect if it is following another car and will cut out the high beam. I don’t know how it can distinguish between strong road reflectors (e.g. Near Lake George area) and the other car’s dim tail-light a few hundred metres away. When it detects an oncoming car, it will move the high beam to the left side of the road. But there are times where the oncoming car’s headlight is not strong enough, the high beam might stay on.

All mirrors (two outside and one inside) are auto dimming which comes in handy, especially when some idiot is overtaking me and stays in the outside lane for two minutes, blinding you on the driver door mirror if it’s not auto dimming.

In suburban running, it has detected stray pedestrians and sounded a warning. I don’t know if it can detect a kangaroo, which I hit with the ML some years ago and resulted expensive repairs.

When you sit in the GLC, it is a low car, unlike the ML or other bigger SUVs. So you don’t have the good view advantage. It is not much higher than a station wagon. I believe if you opt for the air suspension, you can raise it a bit more.

You have to remember to check the tyre pressures before a long trip because the runflat tyres don’t show visual appearance if on low pressure, unlike conventional tyres. I believe the car’s tyre pressure monitoring system will only detect if there is significant different pressure on the four tyres, but not when all are on similarly low pressure.

The runflat can only last 80km, which is useless in Australia if you travel to Alice Springs, say. In my opinion, Mercedes should provide an inflator kit or at least a small size temporary spare to allow for longer distance before repair. Australia is not Europe where 80km could be in another country!

The GLC is made in Bremen, Germany and there is absolutely nothing wrong for the past 12 months, unlike the Merc ML which is made in Alabama, USA. That car was a nightmare in terms of quality, material, and workmanship. Mercedes said it doesn’t matter where their cars are made, it is of the same standard. They obviously have not seen my ML!



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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC250d review Review
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