After a long wait, I finally got my hands on the latest Mercedes Benz GLC. The GLC is now locally assembled here in Malaysia, and it comes with better equipment than the fully imported model. The GLC is one of Mercedes Benz’s hottest selling SUVs, priced within reach of most upper-income groups, and it is definitely cheaper to run than the GLE. So, this time round, I will be taking a closer look at the latest Mercedes Benz GLC, and see how much improvement Mercedes Benz has made for this model.

For the Malaysian market, we only get the GLC 300 variant here. And as standard, the GLC 300 comes with an AMG line package, which enhances the sportiness of the vehicle. With this latest GLC, it carries the latest Mercedes Benz family look, giving the SUV an elegant vibe with a touch of masculinity. After seeing the proportions of this new vehicle, the older one does look a tad smaller.

With this AMG line, the logo sits proudly on the front grille. If that one large badge is not enough, the 3D pattern within the front grille is an individual small Mercedes Benz star. Besides the front grille, the GLC gets a set of LED headlights. These headlights feature the matrix LED feature, which turns on the high beam without glaring at other road users. This AMG line also brings a sporty-looking bumper, perfectly incorporated into the vehicle’s design.

Moving to the rear, you find a more typical Mercedes Benz design. The taillights now have similar graphics to the taillights of the latest GLA and A-class. Additionally, you get a rear bumper with chrome surrounds, a signature Mercedes Benz look. To complete the exterior of the GLC, it comes with a set of 20-inch rims. But for the tires, they are fitted with 255/45 R20 tires upfront, and 285/40 R20 tires in the rear. The tires make the vehicle look wider than it is, especially from the back.

Regarding its interior, the GLC shares the same dashboard layout as the C-Class sedan. On the dashboard, you will find a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 11.9-inch infotainment screen sitting in the center. As the latest Mercedes Benz, it also runs the latest MBUX system that gives you new graphics and wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Additionally, the GLC’s infotainment system includes an off-road mode. Although not many people will take their GLC off-road, this mode allows the car to tackle rougher terrains with some additional driver aids.

Apart from that, the infotainment is hooked up to a 15-speaker Burmester 3D surround sound system, providing you with the ultimate audio experience. With this latest GLC, it gets the dragonfly-style steering wheel. This wheel may not look striking, but it’s definitely comfortable to hold. It feels chunky in my hands, giving the wheel a solid feel.

In the driver seat, you have plenty of adjustments for comfort. I quite like the seating position, as it gives me that cocooned feel while being in the driver seat. And this seat provides a good level of support, which held me in place when tackling the twisty roads. As for the rear seats, they are as comfortable as they look. The only downside is the legroom, while it’s definitely sufficient for most people, it’s also not the biggest out there. Headroom is plenty, and I feel three regular adults can sit behind without feeling claustrophobic. Rear passengers also get their own AC vents at the center, and a rear sunshade to block the sun out if they wanted to.

For the locally assembled GLC, it adds on a large panoramic sunroof. While it does let light in to brighten up the interior, I believe we could do without it and add other features to the SUV. As for the boot, the GLC comes with a generous 620L of boot space, quite huge regardless of the vehicle’s size. And this storage area can be further expanded by folding down the rear seats.

Powering this SUV is that familiar 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. For the latest GLC, it comes with 48V mild hybrid technology to boost engine efficiency. This engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, and power is sent to all four wheels through the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. This powertrain has the ability to produce 258 hp and 400 Nm, allowing this SUV to reach 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, with a top speed of 240 km/h.

During acceleration, this engine delivers ample power to propel the GLC. Keeping up with traffic and overtaking can be done without even stressing the engine. The downside of this engine is the turbo lag, which may cause some delay in throttle input. This trait is emphasized due to the 4Matic system, which further amplifies this characteristic. I don’t really feel it when the car is already moving, but from standstill, it’s pretty obvious. On the flip side, this transmission does a good job of keeping the engine within the powerband, and the gear shifts are creamy smooth, barely felt while driving. During my time with the GLC, I averaged a fuel consumption figure of 10.3L/100km, which is OK considering I was driving it mostly in the city. If doing long distances, I believe the fuel economy would be even better.

In terms of the ride, you can definitely feel the solidity of the suspension, designed for the smooth roads of Germany. But on our Malaysian roads, it does transmit some of the road imperfections into the cabin. Nevertheless, the suspension rides with a sense of sophistication, providing consistent grip even on uneven roads. This suspension also does a good job of reducing the body roll of the vehicle while in the corners. As for the handling, the GLC comes with a sharp steering wheel. I can just point at the corner, and the SUV just turns into it. Paired with the all-wheel-drive system, this vehicle gives you plenty of confidence to tackle corners in a stable manner.

To bring this SUV to a stop, it is equipped with a set of decent brakes. The brake pedal provides ample feel and feedback, allowing you to confidently slow the vehicle down. On the safety side, the GLC is equipped with some basic driver assistance systems. While it didn’t affect me, I believe Malaysians would appreciate it if Mercedes-Benz swapped the panoramic roof for a full suite of driver assistance systems. The GLC comes with Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Brake Assist, PRE-SAFE® system, and Tyre pressure monitor as its standard safety systems.

The locally assembled GLC is now priced at RM391,888, which is RM30k cheaper than the fully imported model. While the specification largely remains unchanged, it is now priced closer to the older model. The latest GLC does bring better technology and drivability when compared to the older model, making the old car look outdated. I think the GLC is a decent vehicle to drive if you like SUVs. One improvement Mercedes-Benz could make is to remove the panoramic roof and equip the SUV with full advanced driver assistance systems.

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