Read Caroline’s Mercedes-Benz GLC hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying the brand’s mid-size SUV in Ireland, now available as a hybrid.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is Mercedes’ answer to the mid-size SUV. Slotting between the GLB and the GLE in the brand’s SUV line-up, the GLC is a premium five seat SUV that looks good anywhere.

Changing Lanes got a drive in the Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d soon after it was revamped in 2019. It was a stand out drive and impressed me for its power, refinement and the quality of the cabin experience. Under the bonnet was a diesel engine, a default choice at the time for a new SUV on the Irish market.

What’s new for the Mercedes-Benz GLC?

How things have changed in a relatively short space of time. This time I’m testing the new GLC diesel hybrid, badged GLC 300 de. It could be the best of both worlds. Diesel economy and convenience for motorway driving, combined with the option to drive in zero emission electric power in town and city driving. An SUV with a conscience?

In fact Mercedes-Benz has been quietly refreshing their product range with a suite of new hybrid models. Popular models like the CLA, GLA, GLE, E-Class and C-Class are now available as hybrids, some petrol and some diesel.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC
The Mercedes-Benz GLC

In Ireland the GLC range starts from €58,515 for a 220d diesel with 194 hp, or from €65,407 for the AMG Line model with sportier styling and more equipment.

The new diesel hybrid GLC is available from €66,735 with 306 hp and a high spec AMG Line Premium trim level and 4MATIC all wheel drive. Running costs are potentially very low, with annual motor tax a breeze at €140 per year.

The GLC still looks really sophisticated and classy, with neat proportions and timeless Mercedes design cues. The car on test has the AMG Line exterior features including 19″ alloy wheels, diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome, AMG front apron with sporty air intakes and chrome trim element, and an AMG diffuser-look rear apron with a black insert.

Other standard features for the GLC 300 de include a powered tailgate, LED high performance headlamps, ambient lighting, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign assist and a 9 speaker advanced sound system.

Inside the GLC

The interior of the GLC is an older generation Mercedes interior but it still has all the quality and elegance we expect from the German brand. The GLC 300 de on the market here also has a very high specification.

In terms of digital technology, the 10.25 inch display comes as standard with smartphone integration. There’s also a full digital 12.3 inch information panel behind the steering wheel. It’s not the latest set-up from the E-Class or the new C-Class with some older graphics, but it still is easy to use and works well.

All materials feel good to touch and there’s a full leather interior.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz GLC
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz GLC

In the cabin the GLC does feel more spacious and practical than a C-Class for example thanks to more headroom and a raised ride height. The transmission tunnel does eat into space for the middle seat passenger, but the two footwells are large and it will be comfortable for two in the rear.

The integration of the battery for the GLC hybrid means that there has been some impact on boot space. Capacity is down from about 500 litres to 395 litres in the hybrid. For a family car this is a bit disappointing, though thankfully it does have a flat floor with neat storage underneath for the charging cables.

Driving the Mercedes-Benz GLC Hybrid

A diesel hybrid is a rare thing, but now a strong feature of the Mercedes line-up as we move forward in this new era of electrification. How successful is it in the GLC?

Safe to say, the GLC has a huge range of powertrain options available from front wheel drive models to 4MATIC all wheel drive, and petrol, diesel and diesel plug-in hybrid.

We can vouch for the power and refinement of the 220d four cylinder diesel engine based on our previous experience, but what happens when you add a battery and electric motor?

More power for a start. The GLC 300 de hybrid has 306 hp and 0 to 100 kmh is just 7.2 seconds. It’s matched to a silky 9 speed automatic. When you hit the accelerator, the GLC responds with enthusiasm.

If you are willing to charge the vehicle (which you really should if you are buying a plug-in hybrid) then you can drive on electric power alone for a range of up to 45 km. But this depends vastly on your speed and style of driving and is best for low speed driving around town to make the most out of it.

Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 6.4 litres per 100 km (with very little charging!), which is good for a big four wheel drive SUV.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is now available as a plug-in hybrid
The Mercedes-Benz GLC is now available as a plug-in hybrid

Did you like it?

The GLC handles the road nicely, it’s powerful and refined as you would expect of a premium vehicle.

The diesel plug-in hybrid offers flexibility, but the electric driving range is best exploited in urban driving situations. In these scenarios it’s an SUV with a conscience: driving in zero emissions electric power in built up areas and cities.

You will be glad of the diesel engine out on the larger roads and motorways. Even in 4MATIC all wheel drive spec, this car will return good economy.

Yes it looks expensive compared to the entry level 220d diesel, a fine car in its own right. But the plug-in hybrid GLC is offered in the most attractive AMG Line specification with lots of equipment on board and all wheel drive. And it’s competitively priced against rivals.

This is an older generation Mercedes now but it’s still a quality vehicle with the right mix of prestige and plug-in hybrid for today’s market.

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz GLC 300de 4MATIC 
€62,300 (Range from €58,615)
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel electric plug-in hybrid
306 hp
6.2 seconds
Top speed: 230 km/h
CO2 emissions:
49 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year