Mercedes GLC: Judging for 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors

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When Mercedes decided to rejigger the nomenclature of its cross-utility vehicles, it did more than rearrange a few letters on the badging.

As evidence, look no further than the new GLC, which replaces the GLK in the German luxury automaker’s lineup.

This midsize CUV should be stiff competition for others in its class in our 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors testing.

Although a lot of what you see when you open the door is familiar Mercedes-signature styling, it all seems to work together most perfectly in the new GLC. From the sumptuous leather seating, soft padding on the doors and center console and ample legroom front and rear, the compact GLC presents a comfortable cabin for both driver and passengers, nailing what may be the most important element in this fastest-growing vehicle segment.

It’s also technology laden, with an infotainment screen that operates smoothly via the unique Mercedes dial-and-touchpad controller on the center console. Spanning through the onscreen menus is quick, precise and mostly intuitive, though we were stymied in trying to access the music stored on our Bluetooth-connected cellphones.

There’s a full complement of safety equipment onboard, as well, from brake assist to crosswind stabilization to blindspot detection.

And to top it off, the interior is stylish and upscale, with just the right touches of brushed chrome and buffed linden-wood trim to go with its tasteful beige-and-black color scheme. Fit-and-finish is top notch too. A peek at the cargo bay proves Mercedes paid close attention to detail, with a brushed aluminum sillplate and handle in the cargo floor.

Power comes from a 2.0L direct-injected turbo 4-cyl. that produces an impressive 241 hp. It’s mated to a 9-speed transmission with paddle shifters that are nice to have, but mostly unnecessary when piloting the GLC.

If there’s a drawback, it’s the now ubiquitous

s Mercedes gear selector. It’s sized and positioned similar to the windshield-wiper controls in most other vehicles, and easily mistaken for such. Another disappointment: Buyers get squeezed for an extra $250 if they opt for the heated steering wheel. But those things aside, the GLC is spot on when it comes to key attributes of style, comfort, quality, technology and value.

Based at $40,950, our all-wheel-drive GLC300 tester checks in at $54,360, including its panoramic sunroof, state-of-the-art Burmester sound system and lighting, multimedia and safety packages.

Anyone in the market for a small CUV with loads of style and class would do well to put the GLC on their shopping list.

Dave Zoia

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