Finally. You’re young(ish), you’re heading towards the prime of your career and you want to buy a Mercedes-Benz to show people that you’re (almost) ready to play with the big boys. You might have a rug rat or two, so you need something with room and you don’t want something that looks like a mini-mini van, so the B-Class is out of the question. Luckily the luxury German car manufacturer has the vehicle for you — the GLK.
2013 is a mid-model update year that means it gets some refreshments both inside and out. “Some” might be an understatement, as Mercedes says there are nearly 1,000 new parts in total. For starters, the huge grille between the headlights, that house LED daytime running lights, now has two chrome slats that emanate out from the three point logo to better flow with current branding. They’ve added a front skid plate (also chromed), revised cargo rails (not chromed, but still shiny) and a sportier rear bumper too.
That’s all good and fine, but lets be honest. Anyone thinking of a Mercedes wants to be pampered, and even on their somewhat cheaper SUV, the interior is pleasing. We drove the 250 BlueTEC variant that had the Dark Ash Wood accenting the all new dashboard.
If you’ve sat in the previous model, you’ll notice the shifter has been moved up to the steering column, presumably to free up more space for the centre console. While that may be so, gear selections are digital and I found myself shifting into the wrong gear since you have to be watching the instrument panel – also redesigned – to see whether you’re in park drive or reverse. That said, our 250 came with the excellent optional navigation package. I’ve tested many a nav system in my line of work, and there are equally as many bad ones as there are good. Fortunately this was the former, and what I really liked in particular was the clear indication of not only the street you’re travelling on, but also the one upcoming.
The biggest hoopla over the update has to be the new 2.2-litre diesel engine offered in the GLK 250 BlueTEC. Its 190 horsepower is greatly overshadowed by the 369 pound-feet of torque it produces at a low 1,600 to 1,800 rpm. That’s more torque than its pricier 3.5 L sibling and it comes on sooner as well, getting you from 0 to 100 km/h in about eight seconds. Driving on the highway is a breeze, and quiet too thanks to modern diesel technology. Without popping open the hood, few would be able to discern it from a gasoline-powered vehicle. At least until you went to fill it up and marveled – like I did –at the thrifty bill afforded by the 8.2 L/100 km city and 5.9 highway fuel economy numbers.
Starting at $43,500 MSRP, you won’t lose your shirt while keeping up with the Jones’. And even though it’s not necessarily a bargain when compared with some of its competitors like the Audi Q5 or BMW X3, doesn’t Mercedes-Benz just have a nice ring to it?