‘Competent’ 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC Gets Burned

When someone or something is considered competent, that’s generally a good thing. But for a luxury automaker, “competent” is a slap in the face. Car and Driver recently called the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC “wholly competent.” Here’s why that’s an insult to this high-end crossover SUV. 

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a perfect representation of a luxury compact crossover. According to Consumer Reports, not many SUVs come close to the 2021 GLC in passenger experience. The plush, leather-lined interior makes the GLC so comfortable that passengers won’t want to leave their seats. 

Consumer Report says the 2021 GLC is an exceptional experience for the driver too. The standard model packs a 2.0 liter, 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine roaring from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. And the nine-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and swiftly. All of those features give the 2021 GLC an exhilaratingly sporty drive.

Where the 2021 GLC falls short

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The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC aced all of its NHTSA and IIHS safety tests.  However, it missed out on the top prize. This is where it falls short of the 2020 model year, which scored the IIHS Top Safety Pick. But the 2021 GLC comes equipped with myriad modern safety features, such as forward-collision warning, emergency braking, braking assist, and blind-spot warning.

Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and Car and Driver agree the GLC lacks cargo space. It lags behind other vehicles in its class, such as the BMW X3. And U.S. News slaps the GLC for “cramped” rear seats in the coupe model.

Another limitation that U.S. News, Car and Driver, and Kelley Blue Book agree on is that many of the GLC’s advanced driver aids cost a lot extra. Therefore, only the pricier GLC trims are significantly better than rivals such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

The “wholly competent” slam

Sure, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC blew away the competition with its IIHS Top Safety Pick, spacious interior, and great fuel efficiency. But the 2021 GLC falls behind in some categories where the 2020 model excelled. 

Furthermore, compared with competitors such as the 2021 BMW X3 and Audi Q5, the 2021 GLC stumbles in categories like cargo space, towing capacity, and price. Especially because the GLC and X3 are very similar, the small details make the biggest differences. 

Though the 2021 GLC’s limitations seem minor, luxury carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz strive to create the ultimate driving experience. As such, they’re held to a higher standard. That’s why “wholly competent” is an insult to the German manufacturer. But regardless of the 2021 GLC’s minor drawbacks, Consumer Reports still ranks this Benz the fourth-best luxury compact SUV on the market.