2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is a byword for comfort and calm

The luxury compact SUV gets several updates this year, such as a new engine and advanced technologies.

Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLC-Class luxury compact SUV in 2015 and in short order it became the company’s best-selling vehicle in the United States. There are several noteworthy updates to the GLC SUV for 2020, including styling revisions, advanced technology additions, and a power increase.

I drove the 2020 GLC 300 model, which is available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. (There is also a plug-in hybrid version, the GLC 300e). My tester was a 4Matic, the Mercedes-Benz name for its all-wheel drive system.

With the destination charge included, the GLC 300 is $43,495 and the GLC 300 4Matic is $45,495.

Exterior styling changes to the new GLC 300 are restrained enough to keep the SUV looking quite a bit like its former self – it has been a popular look, after all – but definitely spiffed up. The grille and LED headlamps have been redesigned, the rear tweaked, and side chrome elements extended to run from front to rear.

The exquisite interior is enhanced by a larger display and the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system, which gives users several different ways to adjust settings, including physical controls and voice control via a “Hey Mercedes” prompt. Women named Mercedes riding in the car are sure to cause confusion. The system is customizable and learns to adapt to the user through artificial intelligence. A 10.25-inch touchscreen, HD radio, Bluetooth, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are some of its features. MBUX replaces the brand’s previous Comand interface. Though it sounds like tech to the nth degree, it’s intuitive and easy to use.

In conjunction with MBUX, there’s optional augmented video for the navigation system. A camera in front of the rearview mirror captures the surroundings and automatically shows information on the multimedia display that integrates with the video image. This includes traffic signs, information about where to make a turn or house numbers.

Active driver assistance systems have been expanded for distance, steering, lane change and brake assists, available in a $1,700 option package.

A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine powers the 2020 GLC 300 and GLC 300 4Matic with 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. That’s a horsepower boost of 14 over the previous engine’s output. The transmission is a nine-speed automatic.

Fuel economy ratings for both models are 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.

The GLC 300 has seating for five: driver and front passenger in the lap of luxury, rear-seat passengers a little short-changed on leg room but otherwise cushy. Utility and practicality are ensured by a generously proportioned cargo area.

This GLC model isn’t a raging powerhouse. There are others in the lineup fulfilling that purpose. This isn’t to say the GLC 300 is a slug, just that it’s more like a byword for comfort and calm. Engine noise, wind noise, and tire noise are barred from the cabin. The roughest of roads become pieces of cake. And it handles like a Mercedes.

2020 MERCEDES-BENZ GLC 300 4MATIC

Base price, including destination charge: $45,495

Price as driven: $60,875

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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