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.