Driven: 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK

October 30, 2008
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK

2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK

You probably saw it first in the "Sex and the City" movie. And if that appearance didn't telegraph Mercedes' intended targets with the 2010 GLK sport-ute, maybe this tidbit of information will drive it home--the GLK won't be coming Stateside with its excellent Off-Road Engineering package.

No hardcore ute like Land Rover's LR2, nor a flingy turbo whiz like the Acura RDX, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK is aimed squarely at one competitor and at a few distinct buyers. Pay no attention to the BMW X3 behind the curtain, it would seem to say--and by the way, you ladies who lunch need to drive it.

We don't lunch (Starbucks is all we can afford these days), and we kind of favor the GLK's Euro off-road package. But the GLK also feels pretty capable on-road, as we found out earlier this year when we drove it in Germany. I just posted our Bottom Line on the new GLK, and while it's less striking than Audi's sleek Q5 and a relative latecomer compared to the X3, it's a capable vehicle with an interesting style.

Decide for yourself if the shape is more like the big GL-Class than, say, the last Subaru Forester or Mitsu Outlander. It's grown on me, and reminds me of a high-top sneaker, but it's hard to say if Mercedes-Benz "clients" will look at it and think plush or glamorous--even with Kim Cattrall's endorsement.

It's entirely competitive on power and especially on driving feel--of all the expensive compact utes, it probably has the best ride motions and a lightness of steering that feels better than even the C-Class on which it's based. The 268-horsepower V-6 and seven-speed automatic are willing workers, and shift paddles give the GLK a sweet sporting tilt that's missing entirely from the likes of the LR2, for example. Good interior room, great visibility, and a ton of safety and entertainment gear make the GLK a rational competitor to all of the other SUVs in its class.

Even with its 26-mpg highway rating, the smaller, nimbler 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK sport-ute comes to America at just the right time. It gets more compelling next year, when a turbodiesel version hits the market.

You can find out more about the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK and more about its performance, comfort, quality, and features in our Bottom Line--and find out what's behind our numeric ratings, too.


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