Car Reviews

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 de SUV Review

Mercedes has launched a diesel-electric version of its smooth GLC SUV.

Mercedes has launched a diesel-electric version of its smooth GLC SUV.


Pros: image, quality, capability

Cons: only for those with a decent budget

We’ve been fans of the Mercedes GLC ever since it arrived on the Irish market in 2015. Loosely aligned with the C-Class range, it has always felt like a more substantial car than that, competing with the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. In 2019, the GLC was updated and now there are new powertrain options to consider, including the diesel-electric plug-in hybrid model tested here, badged GLC 300 de.

Mercedes GLC Design

That 2019 facelift brought with it all-LED lighting, restyled bumpers and a new look for the radiator grille, so the core design wasn’t changed. Hence, it remains a handsome SUV rather than one that grabs attention. The 300 de version is identifiable only by its badging and a subtle cover in the rear bumper for the charging port.

Mercedes GLC Interior

Inside, you could say that the GLC is beginning to show its age, certainly against its own Mercedes siblings. All the latest models get a more impressive looking infotainment setup. Nonetheless, there’s a lot to like about the GLC’s simpler layout. Crucially, it all works very well, and the cabin feels of very high quality. Along with that, there’s loads of space, front and back, though this hybrid version’s boot volume has been reduced to accommodate the battery pack underneath.

Mercedes GLC Performance & Drive

Under the bonnet of this GLC is the company’s well-proven 2.0-litre diesel engine, and it’s quieter than ever. It’s assisted by a 90kW electric motor to produce up to 306hp and 700Nm of torque. And this car feels pleasingly brisk when you want it to, effortlessly accelerating up to speed, aided by its smooth automatic gearbox. It can, according to official numbers, travel up to 50 kilometres on a fully charged battery, too. As with all plug-in hybrids, you must plug it in to an external source to keep the battery topped up if you wish to maximise the car’s efficiency.

Mercedes GLC Pricing

The 300 de costs from €62,300, which sounds like a lot, given that the cheapest diesel model is about €10,000 less. However, the 300 de comes as standard with 4Matic four-wheel drive and, at a minimum, the AMG Line exterior paired with the Exclusive interior package. A similarly specified GLC 220 d – which is much less powerful, remember – is nearly as expensive.

Carzone Verdict: 4/5

Plug-in hybrid diesels are few and far between, and might make more sense if we had zero-emissions zones in our cities, but nonetheless, if you’re in the market for a high-spec diesel GLC, and you have an easy way to charge up the car at home, then the 300 de might make for a useful first step towards electrification.