Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350

Mercedes-Benz GLK3502013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350
By Barbara & Bill Schaffer

As gas prices remain high, many new car shoppers are giving up larger luxurious vehicles and making the move to smaller models that offer the upscale features to which they have become accustom.? One of the most popular categories shoppers are flocking to is the premium compact sport utility segment.

One of the top models in this upscale category the last few years has been the Mercedes-Benz GLK, and for 2013 the model underwent a redesigned taking on more aggressive styling cues from the other vehicles of the distinctive Mercedes-Benz lineup.?

GLK Interior As the baby of the Mercedes SUV lineup (it is smaller than the full-size M-Class and the GL-Class), the GLK is one of the smaller vehicles in this compact segment.? However, the petite size is perfect for an active couple or young family.? Rear seating is snug, but the rear cargo space is generous at 23.3 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks in place or 54.7 cubic feet when the seatbacks are folded.? It also has available power liftgate for easy access to the cargo compartment.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 also picks up on other brand features including a shift lever moved to the right side of the steering column accompanied by paddle shifters on the steering wheel to allow the driver better control.? The new dash is accented with an expansive slab of finely finished burl walnut about mid-level and the full width of the dash.? The burl accent is also used extensively on the center console.? The standard seating material is the classy synthetic leather, Mercedes calls M-B Tex, which is difficult to tell from the real thing, but for those who insist, leather is an option and is even included on the new door panels.

GLK Interior?????????? Also new is a 4.5-inch color display screen mounted in the center of the instrument cluster.? The screen, which is linked to the multi-function steering wheel can call up a variety of helpful information like the odometer, fuel range, audio information, oil level, distance and time traveled and average speed and mpg. Vehicles equipped with COMAND navigation use the display to show next-turn directions and contact information.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 uses a combination of four-wheel independent suspension, electric-assisted power steering and a multitude of technical aids, which give the GLK handling and driving characteristics more like a sport sedan than an SUV.

The heart of the GLK performance rests under the hood in the direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which drives the rear wheels or with the optional 4Matic all-wheel drive through a seven-speed automatic transmission.? The standard 302 horsepower engine is capable of an impressive 0 to 60 mph time of 6.5 seconds while also scoring an EPA rating of 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway (24 mpg when equipped with 4Matic.) ?The drivetrain performance and economy is enhanced in the new model thanks to the efficient transmission, the innovative ECO stop-start and some other fuel saving technologies.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350  (Rear View)??????????? Early in 2013, GLK will be offered with a diesel option with a model called the GLK250 BlueTEC 4Matic.? The 190-hp clean diesel engine produces 369-lb.ft of torque (96 more lb.ft. than the gas engine) and is expected to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. ?Fuel economy numbers have not been announced, but should be significantly better ?than the gasoline engine.

Mercedes-Benz vehicles are always leaders in technology, and?the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350?leads the category with features like Active Park Assist, Attention Assist (driver alertness monitor), blind spot warning, Lane Keeping Assist, active cruise control, adaptive high beams and several other features that make the driver?s job easier and safer.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 pricing starts at $37,995 for the two-wheel drive GLK.? The 4Matic all-wheel drive adds $2,000. With all the major options, the GLK 350 pricing tops out at nearly $54,000.

The Mercedes-Benz GLK drives more like a sport sedan than an SUV.? The handling, steering and braking is precise and delivers excellent driver feedback.? Anyone shopping for a premium compact SUV, should put the GLK high on their ?must drive? list.2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350

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