An important part of our Of the Year testing actually comes after the Golden Calipers have been handed out and the dust of our awards show has settled—a year-long long-term test of our victor. Although our Of the Year competition is the ultimate crucible for determining which vehicle is most worthy of the honor, our year-long long-term test in the year that follows is an important part of validating our testing. When our metallic brown 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic was delivered to us last May after its 2017 SUV of the Year win, the pressure was on—could it live up to the award?
A quick refresher as to why the GLC earned its 2017 SUV of the Year nod, from senior features editor Jonny Lieberman: “The GLC isn’t the sexiest choice for SUV of the Year, but it’s without hesitation the smartest. The design is solid, the interior is first-class, the engineering is as good as small SUVs get, and the value proposition is strong … and despite surprising all of us with its power output, displacing just 2.0 liters means that the engine is also scarily efficient.”
Over the past 12 months, our modestly equipped GLC300 4Matic was an exceptional member of the MT Garage. It often served the thankless job of shuttling me to and from the office every day, a job in which the GLC’s serene cabin proved a welcome respite from the chaos of Los Angeles’ notorious rush-hour traffic. As we found during our SUVOTY testing, the Mercedes’ 241-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 proved to be both powerful enough to confidently shoot the gap in traffic, and efficient enough to return an impressive 23.7 mpg during its stay with us. The GLC’s nine-speed automatic was pretty nice, too. Despite a few editors’ complaints about delayed downshifts when stomping on the throttle to pass slow-moving traffic, the GLC generally was always in the right gear at the right time.
Although much of the GLC’s time in our garage was spent tooling around L.A., it also proved itself as a long-haul family cruiser, and as a capable member of the Motor Trend team supporting last year’s Best Driver’s Car and SUV of the Year competitions.
As a family car, the GLC really excels. My, uh, untraditional family—a 50/50 split between the human and canine species—has very different needs in a car. The human half of my family both the front seats to be comfortable and supportive over the multiple long road trips we took, and especially liked the heated seats and killer Burmester audio system. The two canine members of our family appreciated the wide-opening rear doors with windows that drop all the way down, the flat rear bench seat, which provides excellent visibility, and two independent rear A/C vents. All occupants, both human and dog, liked the expansive trunk that handled everything from a moving day to Ikea runs with ease.
One of the things we liked most about the GLC when we named it SUV of the Year was the relative value it brought to the compact luxury crossover segment. Where many luxury automakers nickel and dime you for options that should come standard, the GLC300 4Matic comes well equipped from the factory at its $42,075 starting price. As such, we were pretty stingy with the options. We added the $3,600 Premium Package (it included keyless entry and start, blind-spot monitoring, navigation, and ambient lighting); $1,480 for the Panorama roof; $850 each on LED headlights and the Burmester sound system; $720 on brown paint; and $580 on heated seats. Total sticker for our all-wheel-drive GLC300 was $50,405. In hindsight, we could have lived without the panoramic sunroof and put it toward the $3,150 Premium Driver Assistance Package, which includes radar cruise control and lane keep assist, among other options. It’s a pricey option, but the convenience factor of a driver-assist suite makes it worthwhile, in my opinion. Although only made available beginning with the 2018 model year, we would also add the Smartphone Integration Package for $350, as it would add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality to the GLC.
Over its 12 months with us, our 2017 GLC300 4Matic was largely trouble-free. Early on in its stay with us, the retractable cargo cover stopped retracting. It was replaced under warranty after a week’s wait for the new cover to come in from Germany. Near the end of its time with us, two other minor issues popped up: The rear portion of the panoramic roof’s sunshade wouldn’t close fully, and the GLC’s automatic wipers stopped functioning. The former issue took the GLC out of service for over two weeks as our local Mercedes dealer (allegedly) was waiting on parts from Germany, and the latter issue was solved with a software reflash.
Our GLC had two regularly scheduled visits to the dealer over the past year for service. The total cost for the two oil changes, inspections, new engine and cabin air filters, and brake fluid flush was $1,000.43. Our long-term 2017 Jaguar F-Pace 35t R Sport, one of the many GLC alternatives on the road, has a 5-year/60,000-mile complimentary service and maintenance program that has covered its sole service to date.
Through 12 months and 20,000 miles, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic has been an indispensable member of the MT Garage. Like we found at SUV of the Year, the GLC is quick, efficient, comfortable, and an exceptional value for the segment. The GLC may’ve had to fight hard to earn the Golden Calipers in the first place, but there’s no doubt in my mind that its trophy won’t tarnish in time.
Read more on our long-term Mercedes-Benz GLC300 here:
- Update 1: Learning Curve
- Update 2: Camping and Cargo Covers
- Update 3: Running Costs and …
- Update 4: Pay Attention
- Update 5: Wiper Blades Saga
- Update 6: One Bad Apple
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