The GLC has been a runaway success for Mercedes. And, for 2021, Mercedes has added more features and connectivity options.
Tinkering with successful products is something most brands are loath to do and for good reason. After all, if something is already selling well, why mess with it? As the American adage goes, ‘If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. And successful the GLC is, after all, over 8,400 GLCs have been sold in India over the past 4 years and it remains the segment best-seller. In fact, in 2020, the GLC was the largest selling Mercedes SUV in India.
Despite the success, the competition in the automotive market is fierce, and to make sure their products remain a step ahead of the competition, brands constantly keep improving their products. Similarly, while the competition in India might be lagging behind, Mercedes has still given the 2021 model year GLC a few upgrades. Chief amongst them – for me at least – is the massage function now fitted to the front seats, a segment-first, and something I’ll come back to later.
Additionally, while the GLC does not get any technical or visual upgrades, it gets a fully-digital instrument cluster, 'Mercedes me' connect technology that integrates the car with the Mercedes Me app and further integrates Alexa and Google Home functionality.
Same old, same old
On the mechanical side of things, there have been no changes. But to refresh your memory, the upgrades on the GLC have happened to the GLC 200 and 220d. The GLC 200 offers a 2.0-litre petrol engine, while our test car was the GLC 220d, which is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces 192bhp and 400Nm of torque. Helping put this power down is Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system with the help of a 9-speed automatic gearbox.
On the road, the GLC 220d feels perfectly suited for the daily commute. With peak torque arriving at just 1,600rpm, the diesel engine pulls cleanly without any turbo lag and the refinement too is quite good. And with its 192bhp output, the GLC’s relatively compact size means that getting up to regular cruising speeds is a breeze. The suspension of the GLC is also quite well set but is a bit on the stiffer side, which could also be due to the large 19-inch wheels which are fitted as standard.
But, what about the features?
Well, the more tech-savvy (and lazy) amongst us are going to be mighty excited about the new 'Mercedes me' connect system and the Alexa and Google Home integration. Now, using the MMC system, you can check the status of your car and perform certain functions – such as checking the fuel level or starting the car remotely to cool down or warm up the cabin – which can be quite a convenience if you stay in places like North India when it burns in the summer and freezes in the winter. Additionally, you can also use the MMC function to track your car or even set geofence alerts so that if your chauffeur or children have taken your car to a route you didn’t agree upon, the car will send you an alert or even find your car in a crowded parking lot.
Similarly, if you’re truly lazy, you can also ask Alexa or Google Home to perform many of these functions by issuing them voice commands. Sure, you could do the same with just opening the Mercedes app on your phone, but then some people also think that is too much work.
I also really like the new digital instrument cluster which is now a 12.3-inch high-resolution screen which offers changeable displays and is a delight to look at. In fact, it achieves a rarity by retaining the familiar round dial look in a digital form which makes it instantly readable. Something I can’t say about the digital dials of a few other manufacturers…
But, my favourite function of the upgraded GLC by far has to be the front seats with massage function. I have long been a fan of the massage seats in the S-Class and if you’re someone like me – spending long hours driving on a regular basis, despite a weak back – you know how much of a godsend a good massage seat is. And the ones in the GLC are right up there with some of the best ones. In fact, if I was in the market for a mid-sized luxury SUV, the massage seats itself would push me in the GLC’s direction purely for the comfort and relief they would provide on my daily commute.
Oh, and the rest of the car is pretty good too!
- Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d
Engine: 1,950cc / 4-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic / All-Wheel-Drive
Power: 192bhp @ 3,800rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 1,600 – 2,800rpm
X-Factor: With more features, the GLC becomes a more complete package.
• Massage seats