Like many other New Zealanders, it’s around about now that I start thinking of my summer holidays. Where to go, where to stay, how to get there and what to do. There are so many options out there and, to be perfectly honest, even when we’ve agreed on a destination, pleasing the family in terms of accommodation, airline and entertainment can be a bit of a headache (and quite costly). I guess that’s why I prefer packages. To me, packages take away the pain of indecision, they are a method of getting what I (we) want, served up in a succinct and ultimately very affordable way. And it’s packages that have made the Mercedes-Benz GLC even more desirable.
Although the GLC only joined the Mercedes-Benz family in 2015/6 it has already proven to be a crowd favourite. It fits very nicely into the sweet spot of being part of the largest segment of the SUV market (mid-size), it has all the styling and finesse of the C-Class sedan, it of course has SUV practicality, comes loaded with technology and can be adapted to suit virtually any discerning Mercedes-Benz owner.
Like any premium airline, the GLC’s (I am reluctant to call it) ‘base’ model comes with a whole host of goodies: ambient lighting; Garmin Map Pilot navigation; EASY-PACK electronic tailgate; five driving modes; LED intelligent headlights; 19-inch alloys; 4MATIC all-wheel drive… I could seriously go on and on. However, knowing full well that their clients demand that little bit (a lot) more, Mercedes-Benz have put all the bespoke options into tidy packages that are not only to easy choose from, but (just like a fully inclusive holiday) also much easier on the finances when combined.
Take, for instance, the GLC I managed to review. It is the 250d, so comes complete with a very refined and very frugal 2.2L, 2-stage turbo diesel engine and 9G-TRONIC transmission. Again, it offers their 4MATIC all-wheel drive, open pore wood trim and the full suite of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance technologies. However, to increase driver comfort, it also has the ‘seat comfort package’ – making them heated and fully adaptive with three memory settings (including door mirrors and steering wheel) plus, to add to its sporty appearance, it boasts the AMG Line Pack with 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloys, AMG body styling (with front and rear aprons), Sports suspension, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, paddles and AMG stainless steel pedals and AMG mats – the combination makes quite the transformation.
Mind you, had I preferred more sunlight, I could’ve requested the ‘vision package’ (panoramic glass sunroof and head up display). Want to be more connected? COMAND package (a 21.3cm TFT colour display, HDD navigation, CD/DVD, 590-watt Burmester sound system). Had an adventurous lifestyle? The ‘off-road engineering package’ might be for you (AIRBODY control suspension, off-road exterior, sump protector and off-road driving modes: incline, slippery, trailer and rocking assist) – I think you get the point.
Back to the 250d. It slips effortlessly into my executive/family lifestyle. Commuting is a breeze, with a quick flick of the ‘adaptive cruise control’ (DISTRONIC) stem, the distance was set to follow the traffic, while ‘lane keep assist’ kept me very well centred. The elevated driving stance gave me plenty of visibility and the ‘parking assist’, with its 360-degree camera, took all the pressure off when I arrived at work.
The GLC felt perfectly at home in the city. It navigated the complex maze of the inner streets with a bold sense of belonging, compact enough to slip through narrow downtown lanes with ease but certainly stylish enough not to do it unnoticed.
Out on the freeway, the 250d seemed to widen. It felt spacious and roomy with the powertrain quietly devouring the k’s as I headed north out of the city. It changed lanes with SUV confidence and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system made light work of the rainy driving conditions and the twists and turns that followed.
Just like a popular holiday destination, mid-range SUVs have become very en-vogue within the automotive world. The choice is ever increasing and the individual models can have an accessory list that is simply mind boggling. The Mercedes-Benz GLC offers up European prestige, stunning good looks, impressive interior finishing and rides high on the curve of technology. It too has nigh-on limitless options, but, with its comprehensive list of simple ‘packages’, the Mercedes-Benz GLC satisfies both choice and, ultimately, value – making it one very classy package.