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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 16th March, 2018
, updated 5th September, 2020
Mercedes-Benz looks to mark the current state of the art in full-sized vans with its third generation Sprinter range. Jonathan Crouch reports
Back in 2017, the GLA competed in a very different market to the one it was launched in back in 2014. But this facelifted version wasn't really a very different product. It was just as well then, that the original design fundamentals of this Mercedes were so strong. Stylish looks will always get any product a long way. As will class-leading efficiency - which in this case is particularly noteworthy. After all, a 4WD GLA will cost you no more to run than most 2WD rivals: that's a powerful buying incentive. It also helped this product's prospects when new that this facelift package, though mild and lacking in much substance, wasn't without merit. The styling's was usefully evolved to give the car more of a proper SUV demeanour. And the availability of features like full-LED headlamps and a surround view camera added in the kind of high-tech sheen that wealthier downsizing buyers were looking for.
And in summary? Well every compact SUV in this class from the 2017-2020 period claims to take concept of sense and sensibility and add to it something of an adventurous streak. This GLA does that too, but with a bit of extra polish. We can see why you might like it.
The Mercedes EQV is the planet-saving People Carrier, a full EV that can carry up to seven folk in real Zero Emissions luxury. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
So, how to summarise? Well, in driving this car and in owning it, you feel another, more elegant level away from owners of the brand's less aspirational C-Class Cabriolet. And a cut above the sporting convertible models that car competes with, cabrios like BMW's 4 Series and Audi's A5. There's a maturity and a class here that these sportier rivals lack. They could never be considered as a wise and cost-efficient alternative to spending £40,000-£50,000 more on a Maserati GranCabrio or a BMW 8 Series Convertible. This Mercedes could be. And that about sums it up.
A model of this sort will continually divide opinion. The folk who don't like it will tell you to save your money and buy a cheaper, more practical GLC - but then they're probably the same people who can't see the point of anything prioritising style over substance. In any case, this GLC Coupe does have substance to its proposition - at least when it comes to technology, quality and low running costs. Like its BMW X4 arch-rival, it's even reasonably spacious and practical.
In summary, what we've got here is a very complete contender indeed. Nobody actually needs a SUV Coupe of this kind, but then nobody actually needs a more conventionally-styled fashionable SUV either: there are plenty of 4WD estates that would do the job just as well. Typical buyers though, take the SUV route because it makes a little more of a driveway statement. Which means that typical buyers with the necessary budget, are probably going to like this car very much indeed.
In summary, this is, in short, very much a 21st century full-sized Executive sector conveyance, the kind of car that set fresh benchmarks in its segment in the 2016-2020 period. True, it's slightly more expensive than the competition. Also, there are rivals you could choose that'd be more dynamically rewarding to drive, though as Mercedes well knows, that kind of thing doesn't tend to be prioritised by many likely buyers.
Certainly if you can see beyond these two issues, then what's on offer here is probably the ultimate statement of technology and luxury if you're looking for a full-sized Executive segment premium brand saloon or estate model from the 2016-2020 era. It's certainly a package good enough to leave you questioning the need to spend more on a larger S-Class model. 'The best or nothing' was the slogan that Mercedes founder Gottlieb Daimler's lived by. If it's yours too, then we think you'll like this car.
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