The best SUV all-rounder? The Mercedes GLC

If you must drive an SUV then you could do a lot worse than the Mercedes GLC. Sure, it’s not the cheapest model on the block but the mid-size GLC is the best all-rounder in this sector.

And I would try and stretch your budget to the 250D – an engine that’s a step above the 2.0D in the Jaguar F-Pace. The Mercedes doesn’t feel stretched when pushed hard.

Combined with a classy interior (apart from the carbuncle infotainment screen!), cool looks and decent handling, the GLC is a match for any other premium brand offering.

Just remember that you need extra long legs to avoid those annoying and rather pointless side steps…

The carbuncle that is a dashboard screen – Mercedes GLC

Mercedes won’t like me for pointing this out but the infotainment screen on the GLC is an absolute eyesore.

Somebody has gone to great effort to ensure the centre console is slick and smooth – somebody else decided to stick an ugly screen in the middle.

It’s like sitting in a beautiful lounge, with every seat facing an ugly black TV screen. What’s that all about?

I recently visited a hotel in Scotland with a large, gilt edged mirror in the bedroom. Turned out to be a TV when you found the on/off button. Brilliant.

It’s not just Mercedes, many cars have the carbuncle problem. Perhaps a unit that simply disappears into the top of the dash when not needed is the answer?

Step One – how to get out of a Mercedes GLC

You might think that after 50 odd years I would have mastered the art of stepping out of a car.

In the sixties, debutants were taught how to step in to a car in the most demure way possible. Not easy in a skirt and high heels I imagine.

Now it seems I need to retrain myself for cars like the Mercedes GLC, which have side steps. For every time I leave the driver’s seat, I can’t stretch beyond the edge of the step itself.

This results in a dirty line down the calf of my trousers – and no end of dirty words coming from my mouth.

So who decided we need steps to get in and out of an SUV? Land Rover nailed it with retractable side steps on the Range Rover but personally, I can;t see the point.

If you can step into a car, you probably shouldn’t be driving it…

The Mercedes GLC – even gives a proper Merc ‘clunk’ when you shut the doors

I think I might have found an SUV that I actually want to buy. Perhaps because the GLC shares its platform with the excellent C-Class – this is the best mid-size SUV I’ve driven in ages.

The GLC isn’t going to set your pulses racing but as an all-rounder it ticks many boxes. Great looks, sensational interior and a very decent engine that pulls well.

It’s also refined and built like a proper Merc – a decent clunk when you shut the doors and oozing quality.

For performance, you need to move up the range but with simple off-road driving aids and enough ground clearance for light off-road use, the GLC is a serious contender…

Mercedes’ first premium compact SUV – the GLC

It’s been a bit of a SUV-fest on Car Couture of late. All that will change shortly but in the mean time, the Mercedes GLC is one of the newest models in this expanding sector of the car market.

And it’s a beauty. Mercedes has been generous by lavishing the GLC with a fantastic, premium interior and good looks. It’s a cut about the blandness of several key rivals – although the rear end is less exciting.

Ignoring the ridiculously quick AMG GLC 43 and the 3.0 V6 350d, the more powerful model most buyers will opt for is our 250d.With 204bhp it is the perfect all-rounder for real-world driving.

For now, I just have to get my head around the workings of the infotainment system. The screen sits like a carbuncle on the dash and there’s a crazy mouse for the left hand. Interesting…