in 2013 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $30,052 - $32,101
Original MSRP: $37,090 - $39,090
MPG: 19 City / 25 Hwy
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2013 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.

Reviewers agree that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK’s standard V6 engine is powerful, but they say that rivals like the Audi Q5 have sportier handling.

  • "We sampled a well-equipped V6 model that stickered for an eye-popping $53,075, and the GLK is a nice combination of power and refinement." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The V6 engine is one of the GLK350's strong suits, delivering swift acceleration and better fuel economy than before." -- Edmunds
  • "The small, responsive crossover is well suited for city and highway driving." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

The Mercedes-Benz GLK offers two engines. The base engine is 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 with stop/start technology. There’s also a 190-horsepower, four-cylinder diesel engine, which is a first for the GLK. Both engines are paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional. According to the EPA, the base engine averages 19/25 mpg city/highway without all-wheel drive and 19/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. The base GLK’s gas mileage ranks near the bottom of the class. The diesel model gets 24/33 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class.

Reviewers think the base engine has great acceleration from a stop. All models come with stop/start technology, which shuts the engine off when the car has stopped to conserve fuel. Most test drivers can barely tell when the system cuts on and off, but a few think its transitions are abrupt. The automatic transmission also receives mixed reviewers. Some test drivers say it’s very smooth, but one thinks that it doesn’t downshift on time.

  • "It was solid in corners and through the twisting roads of Virginia, and the seven-speed transmission is silky smooth. The power boost for the V6 for the new model year is evident in the effortless launches onto open roads and the eagerness with which the rig takes off from a standstill." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Stomping on the throttle from a stop launches the 4183-pound SUV hard and without tire chirp, thanks to its four-wheel grip." -- Forbes
  • "The new engine stop/start system operates seamlessly and limits the noise and vibration often associated with these systems. The seven-speed transmission can still be slow to downshift in its default setting, but selecting Sport mode sharpens up things considerably." -- Edmunds
  • "The new start/stop system is nearly transparent in normal driving, and the transmission kicks down quickly for more passing power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Initially, how the GLK drives depends a lot on one little button: The new-for-2013 Eco automatic stop/start system. When the feature is engaged, the engine shuts off while stopped at traffic signals and automatically restarts when your foot leaves the brake pedal. It's jarring, both in sound and feel." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Several test drivers report that the GLK has accurate and responsive steering, as well as a smooth ride, but some say competing luxury compact SUVs like the Audi Q5 are sportier.

  • "Its ride is smooth and handling is confident with the 19-inch wheel package, and the new electromechanical steering is accurate and nicely weighted." -- Forbes
  • "The stiffer suspension and 20-inch wheels of the AMG versions added a more sporting feel, but didn't seem to improve handling quite as much as they degraded the ride." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK's most notable characteristic is its rock-solid feel over every bump and road imperfection. Even the worst potholes and railroad tracks pass with a muted thump. The well-damped ride might be too firm for some people, but the GLK is otherwise a well-tuned luxury vehicle that glides along freeways with comfort." -- Edmunds
  • "Differences in suspension tune give the crossover a smooth ride that dulls the worst bumps. However, it's still firm enough that you don't forget that the bumps are there." -- CNET
  • "The GLK's competitors, the Audi Q5, BMW X5 and Acura RDX, are all quite sporty. While the GLK does offer a carlike driving character, it isn't as agile as its rivals." -- MSN

Next Steps: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

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