Cartrade Comparison Test
What’s made Mercedes-Benz fill a gap that it has left void for such a long time? Would you only think that it’s because the latest SUV frenzy has made car makers spot the opportunity to make a quick buck? That’s a one sided answer. When you dwell deeper, it becomes obvious that there’s been a necessity, and car makers are now addressing that. SUVs of now act more like cars with the added safety, comfort and capability of hitting the rutted surface. Not to mention, the advantage of seating two extra passengers.
Case in point here is the Mercedes -Benz GLC. This brand has literally taken forever to get their segment contender in for the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport. With prices that start from Rs 56.82 lakh for the Discovery Sport HSE seven-seater vis a vis Merc’s new GLC220d that retails for Rs 56.21 lakh, do you believe Mercedes-Benz have got it right with their freshest Class? Let’s find out..
It is obvious that the two cars shout different design cues from the word go. Land Rover indulges its Discovery Sport with a definitive charm that instils some old school looks into the modern equation. A silver mesh grille sits high on the nose and is flanked by contemporary looking head lamps. The entire silhouette screams simple exterior lines that somehow manages not to make it look outdated. Overhangs are minimal and the purposeful approach and departure angle point towards the compelling off-road potential of this package.
As much as the Land Rover sways towards the tightly knit SUV form factor, the GLC is more about modern curves. You will agree that the entire design tends to relate more to a crossover than a full blown SUV. Dominating the fascia is the distinguished twin slat grille with the large three-star logo. Adding to the visual drama is the shiny silver scuff plate with large air dams on either side of the front bumper. Highlighting the otherwise subtle rear is a striking chrome strip enveloping and running between the exhausts.
Land Rover has stuck to traditional subtle lines with minimum curves to relay the feeling of luxury in the cabin. An array of buttons are found around the three circular air-con controls on the centre console along with a screen that sits higher up on the dash. We particularly liked the exquisite brown leather which lights up the ambience in the cabin. Even though the cabin looks dated in comparison, build quality and functionality are up to the mark.
Merc’s GLC will remind you of the C-Class and the dashboard feels lavishly appointed. A combination of leather, soft grain plastic, metal highlights and matt wood inserts throughout the dash, doors and cabin create a lush feel. However, the small dangling screen looks out of place when compared to the rest of the interiors. That aside, every bit of the cabin is put together with high calibre materials and the sense of sophistication is relentless.
With measurements in mind, the GLC is longer by 56mm and benefits from an extra 132mm in wheelbase. Land Rover’s Discovery Sport is wider by 179mm and taller than the GLC by 85mm. Superior packaging helps the Discovery Sport benefit from overall better legroom, headroom and shoulder room over the GLC. Land Rover’s seats are more comfortable too, you sit higher and more upright too, in comparison. There’s also a longer and wider boot (second row seats folded), quite unlike in the GLC whose space saver spare wheel spoils the boot show.
Land Rover’s Discovery Sport has a 2179cc diesel motor, which in TD4 form, packs 149bhp at 4000rpm and spins 400Nm of torque at 1750rpm. Merc’s GLC220d, on the other hand, gets a 2143cc engine which produces 170bhp ahead of 3000rpm. Peak torque measures 400Nm and it is displaced from 1400rpm onwards. Nine speed gearboxes with paddle shifts feature on both vehicles to take care of transmission duties.
Land Rover has equipped the Discovery Sport with Terrain Response that feeds changes to the throttle and gearbox. While this features grass, gravel and snow, mud and ruts, and sand settings for off-road applications, it offers a dedicated General and Dynamic (Sport) setting for on-road capabilities. On similar lines, Merc’s GLC has Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual modes which factor variations to the maps, steering weight and gear shift responses. Calm and sporty road driving manners are taken care of by the General and Dynamic settings on the Discovery Sport. Same with the Comfort and Sport+ modes on the GLC.
With the VBox strapped on to our test cars, we first attained 0-100kmph run times. Discovery Sport made it in 10.91sec while the GLC despatched it in a far quicker 8.49sec. In kickdown mode, the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph sprints demonstrated the GLC’s edge in performance. While the Land Rover took 6.35sec and 8.77sec for these runs, the GLC was more rapid by clocking them in 5.18sec and 6.62sec respectively. Regardless of whether you’re using the automatic gearbox’s kickdown function to pile on speed swiftly, or relying on the motor’s low-end response to accelerate sedately, the GLC constantly feels resilient over the Discovery Sport.
At slow speeds, the Land Rover with its stiffer suspension has a sharper edge to its ride. But the high speed ride is flatter than in the GLC. Though there’s lesser body roll in comparison, it does not grip as much either. That brings us to the Mercedes, and since the suspension is softer, low speed ride is richer. However, pick up the pace and the ride tends to get bouncy. Nevertheless, with more grip from the rubber than in the Discovery Sport, excess body roll is contained to an extent where it does not feel unnerving. Though both steerings are precise by SUV standards, the Merc gets away with a quicker, sportier rack that makes the package feel agile.
On one side, you have the Land Rover Discovery Sport with its spacious and comfortable interiors, better overall ride, subtle style statement, two extra seats and a bigger useable boot. And on the other is the Mercedes GLC with its modern looks, eye catching interiors, better performance and superior handling. Both are capable off road and the GLC has the added benefit of being cheaper by Rs 61,000 too. However, we need to understand that comfort and practicality is rated high on the list with SUV buyers. Now, the fact that the Discovery Sport is so much more practical than its contender is a bonus. It is also more comfortable. We’ll leave the rest to you..
Content by Santosh Nair
Pictures: Kapil Angane