2014 GLK-Class New Car Test Drive
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is a line of small luxury crossover SUVs with fresh design and upscale features you'd expect from the German brand. Although it's not the roomiest of the class, the GLK-Class has refined driving dynamics and a distinct personality all its own.
Sharing its unit-body chassis with the C-Class compact sedan, the GLK-Class is a crossover SUV. Its four-wheel independent suspension with McPherson struts in front and a multi-link arrangement in the rear is the stuff of cars, and it's perfectly suited to the GLK-Class.
The current-generation Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class was refreshed for the 2013 model year. For 2014, the GLK-Class carries over mostly unchanged, save for a few color, package and option changes.
Introduced late last year, the newest GLK-Class variant is the GLK250 Bluetec, which uses a four-cylinder diesel engine designed to meet strict U.S. emissions regulations. The 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel is rated 190 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, which kicks in between 1600 and 1800 rpm. The GLK250 comes standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive. For road trips and long freeway commutes, we're a fan of the clean-diesel engine, which offers plenty of range and low-end grunt and an EPA-estimated 24/33 mpg City/Highway, making it the most efficient of the GLK-Class.
The 2014 GLK350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with direct fuel injection, rated at 268 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 2000-5000 rpm. It's available with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel drive. Fuel economy estimates for the 2014 GLK350 are 18/25 mpg City/Highway and 19/25 mpg City/Highway on 4Matic versions. Premium unleaded gasoline is required for both versions.
There's no mistaking the 2014 GLK-Class for anything but a Mercedes-Benz. Bold bumpers, headlights and front end all bear a clear family resemblance, complete with the giant three-point star integrated into the front grille. Design features are reminiscent of the GL-Class full-size SUV, including the sharp crease along the sides of the hood.
Inside is an attractive, functional cabin with a design and materials that are improved over previous generations. Large air vents have are stylish and easy to aim. We found the standard vinyl upholstery is nice, and very close in look and feel to genuine leather. The driver's seat was comfortable. The rear seats were comfortable for two adults, and a nicely trimmed cargo compartment opens up to a nearly flat space when the rear seatbacks are flipped down.
We found the new GLK350 delightful to drive. It's quick, capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 6.4 seconds, which is impressive performance, and we found it stable at 95 miles per hour. Handling is crisp and responsive on winding roads, while on the highway it's quiet and comfortable. We felt no fatigue in five hours of driving.
We're also impressed by the GLK250 Bluetec. Though the characteristic ticking of the diesel engine was audible from outside the vehicle and in the cabin at lower speeds, we didn't find it obtrusive. Acceleration is smoother and quieter than one might expect, and the low-end torque typical of diesels didn't disappoint. We'd recommend this variant for freeway commutes and long road trips.
Those considering the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class might also want to look at the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Cadillac SRX, most of which offer more backseat and cargo space than the GLK-Class.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class comes in three variants: The GLK350 rear-wheel-drive ($37,480), GLK350 4Matic all-wheel drive ($39,480), and GLK250 BlueTEC ($38,980). GLK350 models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6; the GLK250 is fitted with 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel.
The 2014 GLK-Class comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, eight-way power adjustable front seats, central controller with 5.8-inch color display, 4.5-inch color instrument cluster display, trip computer, three-spoke multifunction premium leather steering wheel with shift paddles, tilt and telescoping steering column, cruise control, automatic headlamps with twilight sensor and locator lighting, intermittent wipers, rear-window intermittent wiper and washer, 6-speaker sound system with auxiliary input, single CD player with MP3 capability, AM/FM radio with weather band, Bluetooth interface for hands-free calling, folding second row seat, rear cargo cover, roof rails, exterior chrome accents and chrome load sill plate, power windows with express up and down, privacy glass, front and rear cupholders.
Options include the Leather Package ($1,850), which upgrades to leather upholstery plus front passenger-seat memory and comfort headrests; the Premium 1 Package ($3,450) includes a sunroof, power liftgate, driver memory for power seat settings, four-way lumbar support for driver's seat, power tilt/telescope steering column, with four-way iPod/MP3 interface, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, 115-volt AC outlet in cargo area, integrated garage door opener, compass in rearview mirror. An Appearance Package ($990) substitutes 20-inch wheels and aluminum roof rails. The Sport Package ($1,990) adds AMG exterior styling, LED daytime running lamps, aluminum roof rails, 19-inch AMG wheels on the GLK250 Bluetec model and 20-inch AMG wheels on GLK350 models. A Multimedia Package ($2,860), adds Mercedes-Bennz's COMAND interface, navigation and a rearview camera.
Standalone options include heated front seats ($750); Keyless Go ($650); harman/kardon premium audio ($850); Parktronic with Active Park Assist ($970); trailer hitch ($575); brushed aluminum running boards with rubber studs ($670) and heated steering wheel ($225). All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include $925 destination charge and may change at any time without notice.
Safety features include dual-stage driver and front-passenger airbags, driver and passenger side-impact airbags, driver and passenger pelvic airbags, window curtain airbags for front and rear, driver kneebag, active front head restraints, adaptive brakes with Hold feature, Hill Start Assist, precharging, ABS, Electronic Stability Program with Trailer Stability Assist and Brake Assist.
Optional safety features include a rearview camera, lane keeping assist and blind spot assist.