The Test: Finally, a Benz SUV perfectly sized for the U.S. Mercedes beefed up the cargo space, managing to get slightly more (56.5 cubic feet in all) into the GLC300 than Lexus put in the RX 450h, while still keeping it lighter by over 700 pounds. It remains a compact crossover, but it’s wider and longer, so it offers far more elbow room on road trips. And this Benz feels quick on its toes on the highway and back roads, with surprising acceleration from the two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s not sports-sedan fast, but it’s plenty speedy to keep pace with rivals in this class.
And we love the standard Crosswind Assist feature, which uses the stability control to correct the steering angle in a gale (or when an 18-wheeler blows by). A worthy investment: Air Body Control suspension ($1,900), which allows you to manually adjust the ground clearance between 7.2 and 8.2 inches.
The Verdict: Luxury you’d expect from a Mercedes that holds its own as an affordable adventure rig.
$40,950; 24 mpg city/21 hwy