Driving the entire range of the latest SUV's born under the good three pointed star is a unique experience indeed.
Needless to say that we were delighted to receive the invitation from the dynamic PR people of Mercedes Benz Cars to put their state of the art SUV's through their paces on the steep, sandy hills in Mont-Saint-Guibert. What an experience it was, and we invite you to look here at the accompanying photos...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Mercedes people thought of everything, like a detailed Tripy guide instrument for the on-road test course...
Mercedes is going from strength to strength, and has recently revamped and extended its SUV range. Their cars do look the part, and are totally impressive just looking at them, admiring their very good styling and impeccable build quality and finish, but, even more important, they are also truly formidable when you drive them.
We started our SUV driving experience behind the wheel of the GLC 220d, which we first put through its paces on the open road.
The car was equipped with the well known 120 kW Diesel unit, coupled to the excellent nine speed G-Tronic Plus automatic box, which irons out the power flow so smoothly. This GLC is everything a comfortable all round vehicle should be.
It is very entertaining to drive on the open road, can be driven in a quite sporting manner, has plenty of pulling power in any circumstance, is compact and agile enough to be delightful in dense urban traffic, and offers good visibility last but not least through its higher stature, which nowadays many (female) drivers prefer. We again were impressed by the build quality and finish, and the excellent and well thought out ergonomics, so common throughout the entire range of Mercedes automobiles. When you have driven a car with the good star already, you immediately feel completely at home in this one…
Impressive GLC 220d, also off-road...
You can understand that we are very keen to lay our hands on one for a more extended test, but here we were offered the chance to experience the capabilities of this GLC 220d on very serious off road terrain.
The driver guiding us for a first tour around the track was an expert amazone, who changed her horses this time for the mechanic stallions from the Stuttgart stable. It was truly amazing what this car can do, and we could believe our charming driver when she said that for the whole demonstration week, under very heavy rain and in the wettest and muddiest of conditions, the car never ever got stuck even on the most difficult stretches of the terrain site.
What was most impressive was the way this GLC was able to deliver traction and good pulling power on the steepest of muddy hills, and even start off without difficulty when one had stopped in the middle of the very steep hill.
The descent function is also one has to experience to believe it. Just push the function button and the car will do all the rest for you. You will descend in all safety. Indeed, this Mercedes brings you safely home, whatever the road, whatever the circumstances.
But there is much more to come, on the GLE, we drove in the AMG version, and the magnificent "G" with the 5 litre V8... just stay tuned!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The range of Mercedes SUV cars and wonderful driving experiences warrants a report in several parts... just stay tuned on these columns!