Mercedes reveals GLK-replacing GLC SUV

The Mercedes-Benz GLK has a new look and a new name for 2016.

Mercedes-Benz has lifted the veil on its GLK-replacing GLC compact utility vehicle. The 2016 GLC is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms this November.

The switch from the GLK to GLC nameplate is intended to signify the SUV's new alignment with the C-Class sedan and the styling of the 2016 GLC reflects that new positioning. The all-new GLC features a front end treatment that is similar to the mug found on the latest C-Class sedan, including a twin-bar grille and headlights with an LED "brow.”

The rear of the GLC takes styling cues from Mercedes' bigger GLE Coupe. Although the GLC's rear hatch isn't as steeply raked as the one found on the GLE Coupe, it's far sportier than the upright hatch used on the outgoing GLK. Overall, the GLC is a much sleeker vehicle than the boxy GLK it replaces.

In addition to being more curvaceous than the GLK, the GLC is also a bigger vehicle in every dimension. Overall length is up by 4.7-inches while width has grown by 1.9 inches at the front and 0.8 inches at the rear. The GLC stands 0.3 inches taller than the old GLK.

That added girth translates directly into more interior volume. Front seat passenger will enjoy more shoulder room than before while rear seat passengers get treated to an additional 1.3 inches of legroom. Trunk space has increased by as much as 3.9 cubic feet.

Anyone familiar with the C-Class sedan will feel right at home in the GLC. The GLC features Mercedes' latest center stack design, which includes a high-mounted infotainment screen, circular air vents and toggle switches for the climate controls. The GLC also comes fitted with Mercedes' latest track pad infotainment control located in the center console.

Up-level models of the GLC can be fitted with niceties like genuine leather and open-pore wood accents. A number of safety suites like Pre-Safe Brake and Collision Prevention Assist Plus will also be available on the GLC.

Here in the United States the GLC will initially be offered in 300 guise, but a plug-in 350e will eventually be offered.

The GLC300 is set to use a 241 horsepower 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 273 lb-ft of torque. The GLC300's lone transmission will be a nine-speed auto. Buyers will have the option of rear-wheel drive or Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

Details for the GLC350e will be announced at a later date.

On the suspension front, the GLC moves from a three-link setup to a new four-link kit at the front axle. The standard GLC will ship with steel springs and a variable damping system, but an Air Body Control air suspension can be specified for an additional cost.

Despite its bigger footprint and long list of convenience features, the GLC actually weighs about 176 pounds less than the GLK, thanks in large to the extensive use of aluminum and high-strength steel. Fuel economy figures haven't been announced, but look for the GLC to trump the 19mpg city and 25mpg highway ratings of the most efficient gas-powered GLK model.

Pricing information for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 is expected to be announced closer to the SUV's November on-sale date.

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