in 2012 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $27,220 - $28,815
Original MSRP: $35,880 - $37,880
MPG: 16 City / 22 Hwy
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2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

According to test drivers, the best thing about the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is the way it drives. Reviewers say its ride is especially car-like for an SUV, which equates to a driving experience that’s comfortable and even a little fun. Complaints include light steering and average (though very un-car-like) fuel economy.

  • "The GLK, in its suburban-sprawl way, is fun to drive. It handles especially well in the confines of the city and surrounding bedroom communities, which is where most buyers will be driving them." -- The Wall Street Journal
  • "Whether I was navigating through the mounds of snow in my alley or zipping down the highway, the GLK was perfectly acclimated to both situations. From the engine power to the actual ride-and-handling, I have zero complaints with how the test vehicle drove.” -- Chicago Sun-Times

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK comes with a 3.5-liter 268-horsepower V6 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates the base GLK at 16/22 mpg city/highway and the all-wheel-drive model at 16/21 mpg. These figures are about average for the class, but can’t match the higher ratings from competitors like the Audi Q5. Overall, however, reviewers say the powertrain is strong enough to handle around-town and highway driving, even with the extra weight of optional all-wheel drive.

  • "Powering the GLK is a 3.5-liter V-6, and this engine is superb. ...  Mated to the seven-speed transmission, the power is smooth seamless and fast. Fast to the tune of 6.5 seconds for a 0-to-60-mph time. Not bad for a 4,036-pound vehicle." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "The GLK's V6 provides good acceleration around town and for highway merging. The automatic transmission is smooth and responsive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In the hills above Malibu, the 268-horsepower V-6, seven-speed automatic transmission, and 4Matic all-wheel drive system make the GLK350 a surprisingly sporty ride." -- Truck Trend
  • "My test-ute was a 4Matic all-wheel-drive model, and I thought the engine had more than enough power to deal with its two-ton curb weight." -- About.com

Handling and Braking

The 2012 GLK-Class has a smooth, car-like ride. But some reviewers complain that the steering is too light. Overall, however, reviewers like the way the GLK drives.

  • "The GLK corners confidently with little body lean and accurate steering. Straightline stability is good, but rough roads can cause a bit of vibration that is felt through the steering wheel. The brakes are strong with good pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Despite 0.82 g of grip, the GLK doesn't offer the carlike handling of the RDX or the X3. A soft ride is backed up by one-finger-light steering, and uneven pavement results in pronounced head toss. Though refined, the GLK drives more like its G-wagen looks than its C-class underpinnings." -- Car and Driver
  • "While the steering is, in typical SUV fashion, rather slow (2.75 turns lock-to-lock,), it's accurate. The big Pirelli meats offer impressive grip, and even when they began to let go, stability and traction control quickly reeled in the errant wheels." -- Truck Trend

Next Steps: 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

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