A recommendation from Consumer Reports is a big deal for most automakers. The endorsement is an assurance to shoppers that the product has been thoroughly tested and vetted. Vehicles that receive a CR Recommended designation earned it through high owner satisfaction, reliability, performance, and safety scores. And this year, only one 2021 Mercedes-Benz SUV won the distinction.
Which SUV was it? And what did Consumer Reports have to say about it?
A large Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup
Mercedes-Benz offers six SUVs in 2021: GLS, GLA, GLC, G, GLE, and GLB. Yet only one earned a Consumer Reports recommendation.
Most of the SUVs in the MB lineup fared well in CR’s road test. (Consumer Reports hasn’t tested the 2021 G-Class yet.) The problem is that most have mediocre predicted owner satisfaction ratings and poor predicted reliability scores. Both the GLS and GLE got 1 out of 5 ratings for reliability and dismal overall scores of less than 50 out of 100.
Only the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC earned a recommendation from Consumer Reports. (However, it’s possible CR could recommend the G-Class once its testers have evaluated it.)
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC
The latest Mercedes-Benz GLC is a compact crossover that takes luxury seriously. Based on the C-Class sedan, it’s a strong competitor for the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
The GLC offers the polished and potent driving experience fans of the brand expect. Though it’s elegant and lavish, the drive isn’t tame. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, harnessing 255 hp. It handles exceptionally well and boasts responsive steering.
The interior is upscale and harmonious, with an abundance of chrome and wood to accent the liberal use of soft-touch materials. The front seats are multi-adjustable for great comfort and support, even on road trips. But the back seat isn’t exactly roomy.
However, the ride is among the most comfortable of any available SUV, according to CR. The cabin is well-insulated against outside noise. The only downside to the interior is the information system, which the CR team found complex and distracting.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC also provides plenty of driver assists. But you’ll have to upgrade to higher trims to get all of them. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and forward-collision alerts comes standard, but you’ll have to pay extra for features like adaptive cruise control.
Why CR recommends it
So, why did CR recommend the 2021 GLC alone in the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup? Consumer Reports gave it an overall score of 75 out of 100. It performed well on CR’s road test but received average scores in predicted owner satisfaction and reliability.
However, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a luxury compact SUV that offers an exciting ride with better-than-average comfort. Even with the standard engine, you have enough power for an athletic ride that’s truly enjoyable.
On the inside, the GLC is a study in opulence, and it’s supremely comfortable. It looks good and feels even better. The front seats, in particular, are incredibly supportive and comfortable.
A new GLC 350e plug-in hybrid model gets an all-electric driving range of around 28 miles. There’s also a high-performance AMG version, along with a coupe-like configuration that doesn’t have as much visibility or cargo space as the original.
All in all, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC is an SUV that offers a well-heeled and enjoyable experience. It’s fun to drive and sublimely comfortable.