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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/19/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is unchanged.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is a two-row crossover available in rear- or all-wheel drive. It is also available with a fuel-efficient diesel engine in addition to a gas-powered V-6.

Overview

Two engines are available in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class: a 3.5-liter V-6 with 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque in the GLK350 and a turbodiesel 2.1-liter I-4 rated at 200 hp and 369 lb-ft in the GLK250. Both are paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is only available in the GLK350 while all-wheel drive is an option and standard on the GLK250. Fuel economy is decent in V-6 powered models with the rear-drive variant achieving 19/25 mpg city/highway while opting for all-wheel-drive drops those numbers down to 18/24 mpg. The diesel-powered GLK250 is the most fuel-efficient at 24/33 mpg. Towing capacity is good for such a small crossover with up to 3,500 pounds.

For a crossover, the 2015 GLK’s handling is notable, with good body motion and steering feel. This doesn’t come at the cost of ride quality -- the GLK maintains its smooth ride even when equipped with larger wheels. Refinement is impressive in the diesel-powered GLK250 with good NVH and “a surprisingly muted, almost soothing, rumble rather than the expected high-pitched clatter.”

High-grade materials are used throughout the cabin, and there are comfortable seats regardless of whether it has the synthetic MB-Tex or the optional leather upholstery. Seating is good for four adults while cargo space is more than adequate with up to 54.7 cubic feet of volume with the rear seats folded. Tech and safety features are plentiful including navigation, Harman Kardon premium audio, and a host of safety aids such as lane keeping assist, and active blind spot assist.

The NHTSA has not crash tested the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-class. In IIHS testing, the crossover earned a Good score on four categories (Good is the highest possible score) and offers Superior front crash prevention (front crash prevention awards include Basic, Advanced, and Superior).

UPDATE: Available safety aids include blind spot warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and Surround View camera system. The Driver Assistance Package bundles additional safety features such as Pre-Safe, which prepares the car for an accident by closing the windows and sunroof, and adjusts the front passenger seat in the event that the system detects a collision or a rollover. Pre-Safe Brake builds on the Pre-Safe system by sounding an alert to let the driver know of an impending collision and even apply 100 percent stopping power to reduce the severity of the impact.

What We Think

Since its 2013 refresh, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class has become a more convincing proposition in the midsize luxury crossover segment with an available diesel engine, well-appointed interior, and good performance. In a 2013 First Test of the GLK250, we said that the diesel engine offers better fuel economy while giving up little to its gas counterpart. The additional torque in the GLK250 means that passing and merging are not an issue even at high speeds. Steering response, as we noted on a 2013 First Drive review, could use some improvement since it is slow to respond particularly at lower speeds. Refinement is likewise similar between the two models with only a slight difference in the engine note distinguishing the diesel-burning model from its gas-powered counterpart. On the downside, while the interior is well-built, it is missing some features offered in some of the GLK’s competitors, such as standard leather seating and a larger infotainment screen. Furthermore, we said in a 2013 First Test review of the GLK350 that adding options—which are mainly packages—means the crossover gets expensive quickly.

You’ll Like

  • Fuel-efficient diesel engine
  • Refined and comfortable cabin
  • Strong acceleration with either gas or diesel engine

You Won’t Like

  • Steering is slow to response at low speeds
  • Adding options causes the car’s price to get expensive quickly
  • Leather isn’t standard equipment

Key Competitors

  • BMW X3
  • Audi Q5
  • Lexus RX
  • Volvo XC60
  • Acura RDX

Rating

4 star

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