2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class has the rugged look U.S. shoppers want, in a sensibly sized package. We only wish it were a little more fuel-efficient.

Among crossover utility vehicles, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class holds a unique position: A buff and rugged-looking appearance, more boxy than the likes of the BMW X3 and Acura RDX, is paired with a driving feel that's surprisingly carlike, and packaging that feels much like a tall station wagon. As such, the GLK delivers a sweet spot for those who want a rugged look, high seating position, and strong performance.

With what's close to a classic, upright SUV profile, with hard-edged details, the GLK takes the exact opposite tack in design direction compared to most rival brands, except for Land Rover. The GLK doesn't bear much family resemblance to the larger ML-Class from the outside; rather, it looks like a scaled-down version of the big GL-Class. Yet it's not pure box either. The overall look is clean and distinctive, but one that might have to grow on upscale buyers; in the profile, we also see a slightly larger interpretation of the mid-'90s Japanese crossover designs for vehicles such as the Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Inside, it's more of the same: The GLK's instrument panel bears a striking resemblance to BMW interiors—and a lower-set version of what's used elsewhere in the M-B lineup—but the gauges and controls are remarkably straightforward. A wide swath of wood trim that helps dress up some of the obvious plastics and underscores a vaguely retro tone that lingers through the cabin.

All 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class models for the U.S. remain powered by a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine—and called the GLK350. The V-6 makes 268 horsepower, more than enough to give the roughly 4,100-pound GLK strong acceleration—about 6.7 seconds to 60—and feels relaxed during normal driving. That ample power is transmitted to the road through 4MATIC four-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission. .

Off-roading is not the GLK's forte. But its four-wheel-drive system adjusts as the various traction systems determine where torque is needed most. What the GLK does do well is get you home safety in foul weather; the 4Matic system excels in distributing power smoothly on a snowy road and avoiding wheelspin.

The GLK's cabin and cargo areas are roomy and upright. In front, the driver and passenger will find the seats supportive and nicely tailored, and taller drivers especially will have no problem finding a comfortable driving position. In the second row, the three-person bench has good enough knee room, and the straight-back roofline affords a lot of headroom—plus the seats flip and fold to create a cargo area of 54.7 cubic feet. The standard upholstery in the GLK320 is a synthetic, which we've found to be just fine, but leather is of course available.

Mercedes-Benz has tuned the GLK's suspension to be taut but well damped; it doesn't allow the GLK much body motion, but the suspension will soak up most roughness from the road and the cabin stays tight and quiet even over rough roads or in high-speed cruising.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class might be one of the most affordable vehicles from the German automaker, but take even a brief look at the feature set and there's no mistaking it as a luxury vehicle. The GLK's standard equipment list is comprehensive and includes 19-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, leather trim, a panoramic sunroof, and Bluetooth connectivity. A six-CD changer, Sirius Satellite Radio; a rear-seat, twin-screen DVD entertainment system; a power liftgate; a navigation system; bi-xenon headlamps with washers; LED taillights; and 20-inch wheels are among the options.

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October 12, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class 4MATIC 4-Door GLK 250 BlueTEC

Replaced my f150 and my mini!

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This is my 4th diesel, although they weren't consecutive, and I like the way the diesel torque feels. I did get the towing package as. Have a 5 x10 enclosed trailer and I use it for hauling materials, dump... + More »
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September 26, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class 4MATIC 4-Door GLK 350

Overall a very good suv

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I plan to buy a GLC when it appears this fall. I hope it will be as good or better than the GLK350. The GLK is very reliable,fun to drive,good handling and very good acceleration. The visibility is outstanding... + More »
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May 16, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class 4MATIC 4-Door GLK 250 BlueTEC

Smaller is not less

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We traded a VW Touareg for the economy of a Mercedes Benz Diesel. Going from 17 MPG to over 30/33 MPG is a pleasure. The MB GLK 250 is nimble, has more Bells and Whistles than we will ever use. Push button... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class 4MATIC 4-Door GLK 250 BlueTEC

Reliable, tires hug the road fo a very smooth driving, great GPS!

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A great car that is very reliable, maneuvering and driving is stable, GPS has been greatly improved from older Mercedes Benz. Fuel economy is okay since it is diesel but I would prefer an electric car in the... + More »
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April 22, 2015
For 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class

Mercedes GLK 350 review

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well, overall is a great SUV, but I had issues with breaks and wheels. ABC break system seems doesn't work on ice. it locks the weels. Whiles can't handle minor pot holes. Wheels require alignemtns and balance... + More »
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April 20, 2015
For 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class

Excellent diesel engine, very good MPG

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BEST SUV I EVER HAD. Very confortable on HIGHWAY. I did 40 miles per gallon US FROM Canada to Florida.
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April 17, 2015
For 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class

Superlative, with the exception of consumption in city

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Soft on the route and city, even off road. Safe and reliable driving Poor communication and recognition system Powerful engine, torque more than enough.
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June 7, 2015
For 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class

good value

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very dependable car , never give me headache... nice sport utility .
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April 17, 2015
For 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class

Really good, but not perfect

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I really like my GLK, but it does have a few issues. Mine only has the "Premier" package so it has electronics from the 1990's. No backup camera, nav, integrated car management system. All of that costs... + More »
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June 20, 2016
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class 4MATIC 4-Door GLK 350

Big car, with small trunk

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This is my first Mercedes, and I like the car a lot. Small trunk is an issue, but after trying the GLE 500 Hybrid an even bigger car with almost 100 liter less trunk, I realized that good planing and hanger -... + More »
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