Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mini Me

Last year I drove a Mercedes GL450 from eCarOne for about a week.   That particular week, the GL came in very handy because it was my daughter’s birthday and it was nice to be able to load all the kiddos into one car and haul off to the circus.  I recall writing a very favorite review on the GL and till this day, it remains one of my favorite large SUVs.

Last week (almost exactly a year from driving the GL), I had the chance to drive a 2013 Mercedes GLK250 Bluetec from eCarOne.  At first, I was a bit hesitant to take the little SUV because with all honesty, I never really believed in small SUVs.  I’ve always had a “go big or go home” mentality and to me, a small SUV is almost an oxymoron; sort of like brown tuxedo shoes or a wool swim suit.  I mean what’s the point of giving up handling, acceleration, and sportiness for the sake of just having a little more trunk space and really no more added comfort or seating capacity? 

What’s the point?  Well, after driving the GLK for a week and really putting it to good use, I now get the point.  And the point is that you don’t have to sacrifice performance and comfort in order to get much more cargo capacity than say a comparably priced sports sedan (a.k.a. Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series or Audi A4).  Hold on… Am I really comparing the performance of the legendary BMW sedan to that of a compact SUV?  The answer is no.  Rather, I’m saying that if you want a car that provides you an overall excellent driving experience while giving you tons of cargo space, then you can’t go wrong with the little GLK. 

From the outside, the GLK looks small when compared to the average SUV you see on the road today.  In fact, it’s not any longer or wider than a mid-sized sports sedan like an E-Class or 5-Series.  Once you get in the driver’s seat, the overall feel is still the same… you’re in an E-Class and it’s not till you look over your shoulder and see the cavernous rear cargo room that you realize this car is very deceiving!  The rear seat is again not much larger than that of an E-Class but as far as cargo space is concerned, the GLK is phenomenal.  Let me give you real world support to my favoritism…  I had the GLK during a week where I was doing some redecorating at home and accordingly I used it for trips to pick up various items.  I specifically recall one trip where I had two 12x8’ rugs (rolled), several boxes from The Container Store, several large bags of household items, and a full load of groceries.  All I had to do is fold the back seats down and everything fit with no issue… I probably had room for more!  In my opinion, that’s all you should ever try to fit inside the cabin of a vehicle… any more and you should have a truck.

In terms or practical everyday use, the GLK is a winner as expected.  What I did not expect is that the GLK is really a joy to drive.  I was expecting it to drive like… well, like an SUV.  However, this car rides and drives much more like a sports sedan.  In my opinion, it drives much like an E-Class or a C-Class… the steering is very accurate, the suspension is tight and responsive, and it accelerates very well for a car of this size.  There were many times where I had to remind myself that I’m driving an SUV, not a sports sedan.  And I’m someone who is very familiar with sporty driving!  I’ve been driving sports cars and performance sedans for years and I truly feel that the GLK deserves special notice for being a truly outstanding on-road vehicle.  I did not get a chance to test its off-road capabilities, but I think we all know that off-roading is not the purpose this car was built for.  All in all, I thing the GLK is a winner in terms of providing ample cargo room, passenger room, and overall driving enjoyment.

The only quam I have is the diesel!  I live in Texas and had a difficult time finding a gas station that sells diesel.  In terms of performance, I think this diesel powered GLK was excellent (power, torque, and economy) but unless you have plenty of stations around your area that sell diesel, I’d consider the gasoline version.  In either case, you can’t lose.

Till next time, thank you for reading.

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