If we were to ask you to guess Mercedes’ best selling model, we’re guessing you’d go somewhere in the sedan range that the company has been so well known for over the course of it’s storied history. You’d be wrong of course, but we’d not question your logic at hazarding a guess along those lines. If you said that the company’s small luxury SUV offering, the CLC 300 was it, we’d have accused you of doing research because why in the heck would you guess this particular model out of the blue?! Yes, the GLC 300 is the sales leader for Mercedes and as such it gets lot of attention and it gets a lot of potential equipment for perspective buyers to consider when making their choices on options. We got the keys to this particular Mojave Silver Metallic GLC 300 for a week and used it as our daily driver to send our impressions along to you.
For starters, the base price of the GLC 300 is right around $42,000 and our example as you see here had a prictag of $63,835 on the lot. That’s an incredible $21,000 in options on a small SUV! In ultra-luxury cars racking up 10s of thousands in options is not just easy, it’s almost mandatory to satisfy the tastes of that customer base, but the real question here is that if you are shopping these cars, does an additional $21,000 improve the experience and value of the car that much? The short answer is no and we’ll get to why in a minute.
Here’s a peek at the 2.0L, 255-hp turbocharged four banger that powers the GLC 300. The engine is awesome and as it is backed by a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic this little SUV is a hustler. It will run to 60mph in 5.4 seconds and can basically suck the paint off the side of an EcoBoost Mustang that is rated at 310hp. Those nine speeds and the crispness off the shifts when the sport mode is in employed are the best mechanical parts of the car. After 60mph when the transmission gets into its deeper ratios, the acceleration falls off as to what one would expect but decking it off the starting line is entertaining. The transmission is really responsive via the shift paddles as well. Knocking the car down through the gears with the paddles and listening to the engine pull its way back through the rev-range is fun as well. The 4Matic all wheel drive was seamless for the entire week and the nearly 500 miles we put on the Mercedes.
Interior layout and comfort are good and we’ll get into specifics in a minute but on a couple longer drives, we found the Mercedes to deliver on the things you’d expect it to. The interior is vault-like in it quietness, the ride (when set into the comfort/normal mode) is compliant and not jarring, and the controls for radio, cruise control, etc are all perfectly simple to operate. Long story short, this interior is very German in its straight forward layout and lack of gadgets and whiz-bangery. That also means it is not exactly soul stirring but we suspect “soul stirring” is not a required element for most buyers in the small luxury SUV category.
Styling-wise, the GLC 300 does not really deliver a whole lot of visual pop. We thought the plastic body cladding along the rockers and wheel wells took away some of the luxury image from this vehicle. This is stuff you see on Mazdas, not what we’d be looking to have if we were showing folks in the neighborhood that we could afford to have something with the Mercedes logo on the front of it. The GLC 300 does what all small SUVs do, it blends into the sea of them that populate every parking lot and traffic jam in America. We did like the wheels. Those we’re giving a thumbs up to. After that? Not mucho note on exterior styling in our book.
The always great debate with these small SUV is the split between rear interior room and cargo room. No one really hauls or works these things so the reality is that so long as you can get the groceries in it on a weekly basis you are pretty much not going to lose customers in this segment. The rear storage area in the GLC 300 is not that large but again, unless you are planning on hauling a pallet of cement we don’t see you cursing the “lack of space” in this car. The rear passenger space is better off because the rear cargo area is not as large as it could be. Folding rear seats allow enough room to jab your Christmas tree in the back if you don’t want to strap it to the roof.
The rear layout with its independent HVAC controls, nice door mounted speakers, and adequate leg room make for a decent spot for passengers, even those in the six plus foot range as one of our riders was. The seats have a firmness to them and the quality of the materials is certainly fitting of the Mercedes badge. The best thing we can say about the GLC 300 is that it is the nicest finished small SUV in the segment and while the base model materials may not be as bucks up as these, you are not giving much back if you don’t crush the option sheet.
So let’s talk about there this 2020 GLC 300 falls down for us. At $42,000 we feel like the GLC 300 is a really guy buy. You can make a lot worse choices in this segment than that. At nearly $64,000? We don’t feel like the GLC 300 delivers. So what’s with the $21,000 in options? How does one get there and what does it buy the customer? Let’s look.
Paint, Upholstery, and Trim
Mojave Silver Metallic paint $850.00
AMG black leather $1,620
Optional equipment and value added packages
Mercedes Benz textured dashboard and upper door sills $350
Passenger seat memory with adjustable thigh supports $350
Ventilated front seats $450
Panorama roof $1500
Off-road engineering package $300
Heated steering wheel $250
Heads-Up display $1,100
12.3″ digital instrument cluster $750
Three zone climate control $760
20″ AMG wheels $750
Bermester surround sound system $850
Heat and noise insulating front side dual pane glass $150
Heated car seats $580
Inductive charging $200
All season front floor mats $120.00
Driver assistance package – Various safety sensors and warnings – $1,700
Parking assistance package – Active parking assist, surround view cameras $1,290
Exterior lighting package – $850
Muti-media package – $1,250
Night Package – $400
AMG line – (AMG styling accents) – $1,600
Premium package (illuminated door sills, 64-color ambient lighting, KEYLESS-GO) $500
Destination and delivery -$995.00
And so our final impressions? The GLC 300 is Mercedes’ largest seller because it meets the current needs of customers who are looking for the elements a small SUV delivers, has brandname cache with the Mercedes logo, and does deliver more spunky performance both in a straight line and in the bends that one would expect. You can get all of those basic elements for just over $40,000. Adding an additional $21,000 to the price of the GLC 300 may provide a slight upgrade in comfort but in reality it’s just not worth the bottom number on the sticker. Buy the base model and enjoy it. Take the extra $20k and put it into your hot rod.
Hit the images below to expand them and get the full tour of the Mercedes GLC 300