The GLC brings a bit of Mercedes polish to the premium part of the mid-sized SUV segment and this improved post-2019 facelifted version of the first generation model was a significant step forward from the original. The whole of the mainstream engine range was refettled as part of this update and infotainment media connectivity took an equally large step forward. Plus efficiency, refinement and build quality represent other strongpoints. It’s a very complete package.

The History

In an era where one in every three Mercedes models sold is an SUV, this GLC is a crucial model for the brand. In mid-2019, four years into its production run, this mid-sized premium model was usefully updated to create the car we’re going to look at here.

And what an important one it was. These days, outside of the company’s front-driven compact models, hardly anything the brand makes now out-sells the GLC. Which makes it incredible that the segment it populates wasn’t even competed in by the Stuttgart maker prior to this car’s original launch in 2015. That’s because its predecessor, the GLK, was never engineered for right hand drive, an oversight that must have cost Mercedes millions in lost sales.

Still, the GLC has rapidly been making up this lost ground, helped by an ever-widening portfolio of variants expanded first by Coupe and Mercedes-AMG models. With the revised post-2019 MK1 model line-up, the range was broadened further, with mild hybrid technology, a plug-in variant.

The GLC benefitted from much the same kind of update package that was visited upon the fourth generation version of that C-Class in 2018. So this update brought the MK1 GLC a smarter LED headlamp and grille combo and inside, infotainment updated with the brand’s MBUX media system. Semi-autonomous driving tech made a first appearance, there was the option of a fully-digitalised instrument cluster and, as before, buyers got the chance to add sophisticated air suspension.

More important than all of that though, was the fact that the volume 220d diesel variant got a completely fresh 2.0-litre OM654-series engine that offered vast improvements in refinement, efficiency and technology. PHEV tech was introduced in 2020, first with the petrol GLC 300e, then with the diesel GLC 300de. In short, the GLC in all its facelifted forms was much better equipped.

What You Get

Subtle changes mark the revised version of this first generation GLC apart from the original. The fact that it’s also available in a separate Coupe body style relieves this standard SUV variant of the need to look too self-consciously sporty, but there’s still just enough visual dynamism here to interest someone who might also be considering, say, an Evoque, an F-PACE or an Alfa Stelvio in this segment.

The GLC’s cabin was always a showroom selling point and with this revised model, thoughtful changes further enhanced it. A smarter three-spoke steering wheel incorporates little touchpads, the left hand one of which can operate the much larger 10.25-inch touchscreen positioned on top of the dash. This much more sophisticated media set-up incorporates the Stuttgart brand’s ‘MBUX’ (‘Mercedes-Benz User eXperience’) multimedia platform with its clever ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice-activated functionality. It offers navigation, radio, phone, media, info, apps and store settings you can also flick between using an intuitive touchpad between the seats. Similar options are found in the instrument cluster.

Luggage space is accessed via the standard electrically-operated EASY-PACK tailgate. The load capacity on offer here is 550-litres.

What To Look For

Most GLC owners in our survey were satisfied, but inevitably, there were some who’d experienced problems. The most common problem we came across seems to be an inherent fault with all right hand drive GLCs; if you turn full lock, left or right, the outside tyre skips and jumps. The larger the wheel the noisier it is. This is a basic steering geometry issue and you need to check for it on your test drive. One owner replaced all brake disks due to bad vibration. A month ago the power steering stopped working as he went around a bend and the car had to be towed away prior to a complete replacement steering rack. In another instance, an owner’s gearbox failed.

Otherwise, it’s just the usual stuff. Check for signs of damage to the bodywork and alloy wheels.

On The Road

This facelifted MK1 GLC was rejuvenated beneath the bonnet, the key update being the introduction of the 2.0-litre ‘OM654’-series diesel unit in the GLC 220d variant that most buyers of this car in our market chose. This engine is far more refined than the rumbly 2.1-unit it replaced – and quite a bit more frugal too. The same powerplant also features in the alternative ‘300d’ model in an uprated 245hp state of tune. Both engines are mated to a package that as in all GLCs, includes 4MATIC on-demand 4WD and a 9G-TRONIC PLUS 9-speed auto gearbox, which works with the usual ‘DYNAMIC SELECT’ driving modes that alter drive response, steering feel and ESP settings.

Shortly after this facelift, Mercedes also offered GLC buyers a slice of electrified technology. The brand’s 48 volt EQ Boost mild hybrid tech features in the 258hp mainstream 2.0-litre petrol unit you’ll find in the GLC 300. Or you can opt for a plug-in variant, the GLC 300e, which mates a 2.0-litre petrol unit with a 90kW electric motor to create a 320hp total output from a powertrain that when fully charged is able to achieve up to 27 miles of WLTP-rated all-electric driving. This was quickly replaced by a GLC 300de diesel PHEV variant using the same technology. If on the other hand, speed is everything from your petrol-powered GLC, you’ll want the barnstorming V6 and V8 Mercedes-AMG petrol performance models that sit at the top of the range. The GLC 43 uses a 390hp 3.0-litre V6, while the top GLC 63 features a charismatic 4.0-litre V8, offered in either 476 or 510hp states of tune.


Image is everything when it comes to premium mid-sized SUVs and on that basis, this improved MK1 GLC proved to be a very desirable package. In terms of styling, technology and efficiency, it borrows hugely from other Mercedes models - to very good effect. A segment benchmark? You’d have to say so.