The small luxury SUV market is seemingly packed with as many automotive all-stars as there are athletes in the Winter Olympics. Yet among the field there’s been one model that’s consistently won more Edmunds gold than any other: the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Since the current-generation GLC debuted for the 2016 model year, it’s been Edmunds’ top-rated small luxury SUV. But that streak could finally end with the arrival of the all-new Genesis GV70.
The GV70 is the South Korean luxury automaker’s first small SUV, and it boasts impressive levels of comfort, technology and value. Is it enough to knock the GLC off the podium? Edmunds’ car experts compare them to find out.
POWER AND FUEL ECONOMY
Luxury SUVs are expected to balance power with fuel efficiency, and both rivals do a good job of that. The GLC lineup starts with a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The snazzier AMG GLC 43 packs a turbocharged V6 that makes 385 horsepower. It’s rated at 21 mpg combined.
The Genesis GV70 has two similar engine options. The base 2.5T model comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder making 300 horsepower, while the 3.5T Sport comes with a 375-horsepower turbocharged V6. Interestingly, the GV70 gets the same estimated fuel economy as the GLC: 24 mpg for the four-cylinder and 21 mpg for the V6.
In real-world driving, both SUVs are suitably quick when accelerating up to a highway entrance ramp or passing a slow-moving vehicle. But the GLC pulled slightly ahead in Edmunds’ instrumented testing, with the AMG GLC 43 accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds compared to the GV70 3.5T’s 5.3 seconds. Mercedes also offers the high-performance AMG GLC 63 that has a V8 engine good for up to 503 horsepower. For now, Genesis doesn’t have anything like that in the GV70 lineup.
Winner: Mercedes-Benz GLC
DRIVING, COMFORT, AND UTILITY
When it comes to maneuverability, the GLC’s light and responsive steering and smooth-shifting transmission make getting around town feel almost effortless. For its part, the GV70 is also easy to drive but feels a bit sportier and more stable around turns than the Mercedes.
The GLC’s soft ride gives it the comfort advantage over the GV70′s, which is sportier but not quite as supple over bumps and ruts. Seating is where the GV70 shines. Its front seats are highly adjustable and offer an optional massaging feature, and the rear seats are well cushioned and have plenty of recline. The GLC’s seating is nice, but the front seats can’t be optioned with a massaging feature and the rear seats are more upright than the GV70′s.
Roomy interiors are qualities of both SUVs, but there is a difference in cargo space. Behind the rear seats, the GV70′s 28.9 cubic feet easily beats the GLC-Class’ 19.4 cubic feet. However, cargo space is very similar with the rear seats folded down.
Each SUV has certain advantages in this category, but ultimately the GV70 has more of them.
Winner: Genesis GV70
LUXURY, TECH, AND VALUE
The base 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 starts at $44,900, including destination fees, and the AMG GLC 43 has a starting price of $60,950. The base GV70 2.5T starts at $42,595, and the top 3.5T Sport Prestige model starts at $64,095.
Luxury and tech features are expected to be plentiful in luxury SUVs, and both the Genesis and the Mercedes come standard with lots of advanced driver assist features. But the GV70 has a slight advantage in standard equipment, notably with its larger 14.5-inch touchscreen and wireless smartphone charging pad. It also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is optional on the base GLC 300.
Even the midlevel GV70 trims offer standout features such as a 16-speaker Lexicon audio system, a panoramic sunroof and ventilated front seats. These features, or similar ones, are optional on the GLC or aren’t offered. As the kicker, Genesis offers a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a very generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That tops Mercedes’ four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty.
Winner: Genesis GV70
The upstart Genesis GV70 has a slight edge in several areas and is our winner in this comparison. However, we expect Mercedes will be back with a redesigned GLC for the 2023 model year and spoiling for a rematch.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.
Michael Cantu is a contributor at Edmunds. Twitter: @N/A; Instagram: @michaelcartu.