If you are looking for a sport utility vehicle that has plenty of power, but is a little more forgiving when it comes to fuel economy, the 2013 Mercedes GLK-Class GLK350 SUV is it! The 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, yet still returns 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Don’t let the six-cylinder engine worry you though, this vehicle is strong and quick. It accelerates zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which makes it one of the quickest luxury crossovers in the compact segment. The GLK350 gets an innovative seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and an ECO Start/Stop System, which shuts down the engine during idle situations. The second you remove your foot from the brake, the engine starts back up again. A very tiny 37.3-foot tuning circle ensures that the vehicle is easy to park and maneuver in small spaces while a four-wheel independent suspension delivers a smooth ride. Revised steering for 2013 is well-weighted to transfer adequate feedback. Some may find the ride a little firm, but this will really be a matter of opinion.
• Audio - The standard six-speaker audio system with in-dash CD player and MP3 capability won’t really excite many people. Fortunately, there is an optional Harmon Kardon LOGIC7® sound system available with 510 watts of audio, 11 speakers and one subwoofer.
• Navigation - An optional hard drive navigation system with Zagat® survey uses 80GB to store points of interest and maps. Access ratings for restaurants, golf courses and hotels and even find the closest ATM and gas station.
• SiriusXM - A six-month subscription comes with every new 2013 GLK350, which gives you access to more than 130 crystal clear channels.
• Bluetooth- Send, receive and end calls without taking your hands off the wheel. This also includes Bluetooth audio streaming to easily enjoy the music on your MP3 player as well.
The GLK350 is one of the few Mercedes-Benz vehicles that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety actually does crash testing on. Although 2013 results are not in, last year’s model was rated “Good” in side, roof and frontal-impact protection. Safety features worth mentioning include:
• mBrace2™ emergency communication system
• Lane departure warning system
• Driver-drowsiness monitor
• Nine airbags
• Active parking assist
• Night security illumination
• Advanced crumple zones
• Double steel beams in doors
• Adaptive high beam assist
• Blind spot assist
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Rearview camera
• Rain-sensing wipers
• Trailer stability control
• Traction control
• Child seat anchors
• Engine immobilizer
• Stability control
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Turn signal mirrors
• Front seatbelt pretensioners
• Emergency brakeforce distribution
The new styling of the 2013 GLK350 makes it one of the most distinct vehicles in the entire Benz family. This rugged yet elegant body boasts detailed headlamps, a new grille, flared fenders, chrome-finished dual exhausts and a chiseled hood. It is one that attracts attention for all the right reasons.
Also new for 2013 is a completely redesigned passenger cabin that echoes of sophistication. Brushed aluminum highlights the air vents while refined colors and rich new materials excite your senses. Gauges are legible, crisp and easy to read, with the exception of the temperature controls that are a bit low. Seating for five is provided with ample room in both rows. Some consumers will frown at the fact that leather is not standard, but others will be excited at the use of MB-Tex material, a premium vinyl that looks and feels like leather, but holds up better. Not to mention, it is a preferred choice for vegans and vegetarians!
Cargo space is a bit limited, but this is a compact SUV, so consumers should not expect much more than what they are getting. Behind the rear seat is 23.3 cubic feet, but fold the seat down and you get 54.7 cubes.