The Mercedes GLC 300 checks a lot of the right boxes in a luxury SUV. It has a nameplate that impresses the neighbors, sure, but it also has plenty of room, plenty of power and plenty of the luxury features you expect in an SUV of this caliber. But so do many others. Audi, Acura, Lincoln, Genesis, and even the Q5’s little brother, the Q3, may be great alternatives for the Mercedes GLC at less than $45,000.
The Mercedes GLC 300 is the brand’s sales leader
The Mercedes GLC 300 is all new for 2023 and starts at $43,850. There’s a reason that the Mercedes GLC is Benz’s best-selling vehicle ever. The interior has been spruced up with a new, sleek, two-cockpit feel split by a large center screen. The big news is that it’s packed with technology inside, and in the engine bay, with a new hybrid version and four gas versions and even promises some off-road abilities with an available air suspension that can jack up the body a few inches.
The Q5 is Audi’s Mercedes GLC alternative
The Q5 undercuts many of its rivals on price. Audi sells more Q5 SUVs than any other SUV. It makes sense because the Q5 combines powerful engines, quattro all-wheel drive, five comfortable seats, good cargo capability, and a badge that makes the neighbors jealous. It comes in several trim levels, but the base 2022 version starts at $43,500.The Q5 45 TFSI version starts at $43,500 and comes well equipped with all-wheel drive standard, leather and wood trim, several driver’s aids, and a large touchscreen.
A new version of the Q5 is expected in 2023 as a 2024 model, according to CarsDirect.com.
The Q3 is a smaller, cheaper, alternative
The Q3 has 48 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded, while the larger GLC only has eight cubic feet more at 56 cubic feet. In terms of tech, it has Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display like the Q5, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Q5 has heated seats standard, and navigation, but those are options on the Q3. The Q3 is outgunned in the engine bay by the Benz, whether you pick the Premium Q3 45 TFSI, or the Premium Plus 45 TFSI quattro, which have either 184 horsepower or 228 horsepower.
However, the smaller Q3 does undercut the Benz on price, with the Premium starting at $38,700 or the Premium Plus starting at $42,000.
The Genesis GV70 is the Korean Mercedes GLC alternative
The $42,900 Genesis GV70 in 2.5T all-wheel drive trim outguns several SUVs on this list with its 300-horsepower engine and long list of standard features. The Genesis is Hyundai’s luxury brand, and like other Hyundais, it packs in a lot of features and technology. Even in Standard trim, it has a hands-free liftgate, leatherette seats, navigation with a 14.5-inch screen paired with an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster, heated seats, and Genesis’ suite of driver safety aids.
The Genesis also has a generous cargo hold with a bit more space than the GLC, with 57 cubic feet of room.
The Lincoln Nautilus is the American GLC Alternative
Many Mercedes buyers won’t cross-shop their RX with a Lincoln, but the Nautilus makes an excellent case for luxury and value. The Lincoln has a beautiful interior with soft-touch leather, a large 13.2-inch touchscreen with the easy-to-use SYNC 4. It starts at $44,090.
Options like heated seats, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 with 355 horsepower, better audio, and Co-Pilot360 can get expensive. They can push the Nautilus’ price to more than $55,000 quickly.
The Acura RDX is the sporty alternative
Acura RDX cuts a sporty line through Acura’s SUV lineup. The RDX slots below the MDX, and thus only seats five. It has a powerful 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and an interior that lets everyone know this is a driver’s SUV. Its highlighted big knob in the center of the stack changes driving modes. Acura makes a big deal of its NSX sports car influencing the design of the RDX, but that doesn’t mean passenger comfort or tech was abandoned.
The Acura RDX starts at $40,600, and all-wheel drive is a $2,200 option. The RDX holds 58.9 cubic feet of luggage with the rear seats folded.