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Mercedes says the new for 2023 GLC SUV is “explicitly designed for off-road driving.” Well let’s be clear, this is no Jeep Wrangler. But, it does have some great improvements that make it more competent than other small luxury SUVs. The new version of the Mercedes GLC is coming for 2023, and there’s a lot riding on its success. The GLC is Mercedes’s best-selling vehicle, so it must get the new one right. The new GLC has some cool new technology that we can’t wait to try, like the “transparent hood” and the automated trailer maneuvering system.

Is the GLC good off-road, or is it an all-rounder?

The new 2023 Mercedes GLC has been designed with more off-road ability.
2023 Mercedes GLC | MErcedes-Benz

The current generation GLC is one of the more capable off-roaders in its class, and maybe that’s why it sells so well. Mercedes recognizes that most SUV buyers want to be able to go off-road, even if they don’t venture further than the dirt driveway at the end of the cul-de-sac. So, the GLC in 2023 comes with several off-road special options.

Many off-roaders are adding automatic braking for making tight turns on the trails. The Mercedes GLC goes one further by adding rear-axle steering so you can thread tight trails (or parking garages) easier. You can order the GLC with Mercedes’ magic AIRMATIC air suspension system that includes auto-leveling. AIRMATIC cars can pump up their ride height for better ground clearance. The Offroad Engineering package raises ground clearance by an extra 20 mm and adds skid plates at the front as well as underbody protection.

Mercedes hasn’t released approach or departure angles, but the GLC has a low-hanging front air dam that will likely be its limiting factor off-road. But, it does have an off-road driving light that is activated when you go into off-road mode.  While in off-road mode, the GLC can also traverse silently in all-electric mode from the new hybrid engine.

The new tech makes the GLC easier to drive off-road.

The new big 12.3-inch screen in the dash, and a second screen in the gauge cluster. It has an off-road mode that uses both displays in the SUV to show almost all of the data you’d want off-road. The display can show inclination, gradient, altitude, geographic coordinates, and a compass, as well as road and engine speeds. It will also show you the angle of your front wheels and the rear wheels if you got the rear-wheel steering option.

What is the Mercedes “Transparent Hood?”

The interior of the 2023 Mercedes GLC showing the Off-Road Mode
The interior of the 2023 Mercedes GLC showing Off-Road Mode | Mercedes-Benz

While it doesn’t have the monster ground clearance of, say, a Ford Bronco, it has enough to get over more than you would expect from a small luxury SUV. The same screen that the MBUX uses to show street info is now being used for what Benz calls a “transparent hood.” The feature shows you what is under the front of the vehicle, including the front wheels. Cameras like this have become popular on off-roaders like the Ford Raptor because they can help you avoid oil-pan bashing rocks or steep cliffs.

Towing is now made easier with the Mercedes GLC for 2023

The 2023 Mercedes GLC
The 2023 Mercedes GLC | MErcedes Benz

Most luxury SUV buyers don’t tow, but the GLC isn’t for most luxury SUV buyers. The GLC can tow up to 5,291 pounds in the GLC200 and GLC300 versions, and 5,511 pounds in the GLC 220 d (diesel) version. Any GLC can handle a tongue weight of 220 pounds, which means that you can easily carry most small campers and small trailers.

The GLC has a towing route planner built into its display. The planner takes into account road width and heights of bridges, for example, if you program it to. The Trailer Maneuvering Assist regulates the steering angle of the trailer and can stabilize the trailer when you’re backing up. When you’re going straight, tick the “pull straight” option, and the GLC will figure out how to back the trailer up in a  straight line.


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