Home' Open Road Western NSW : OR0317 Contents NOT ALL AUSTRALIA’S BEST CARS winners announce
themselves early on. It’s only after final testing and number
crunching that some rise to the top. One example is the
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d, which was equal top in just three out
of 20 scoring criteria, but still took home the laurels.
New to market in 2016 as a replacement for the GLK, the
GLC utilises the W205 C-Class sedan’s accomplished platform
and drivetrains. Stretched to suit its SUV design brief, the GLC
gives rear seat passengers 60mm more space overall by way
of better leg and head room and a higher seating position.
Depending on how many seats are folded down, cargo space
is a generous 500-1600 litres.
Under the bonnet is a 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
pumping out 150kW and 500Nm, with a nine-speed auto and
4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. It has less weight to haul
(1845kg) than some and the GLC matches the second-placed
Volvo XC90’s performance, although doesn’t have the muscle
of the third-placed Jaguar F-Pace.
You don’t equate impressive fuel economy with anything
larger than a compact SUV, but the GLC claims just 5.7L/100km.
The extent of standard equipment is also eyebrow-raising and
includes cross-wind assist, keyless entry/start, privacy glass,
dual-zone climate control, trip computer/multifunction display,
remote-folding rear seats, five-speaker audio and sat nav.
Hop inside and the C-Class sedan’s association is immediately
evident, particularly from the B-pillar forward, where style
meets comfort in leather-appointed and powered front seats,
a well-finished dash, the latest in connectivity, and clear and
commanding vision forward and to the sides.
The ride is rather firm, particularly over corrugations and
expansion joins, which isn’t surprising given the taut suspension
and tall 20-inch alloys. This can be eased with an optional
($2490) Airmatic suspension system. But this firmness also
equates to sharper handling and, although not quite as dynamic
as the F-Pace, the Merc feels agile and athletic on a twisty road.
Lastly and importantly, the GLC doesn’t compromise on safety
and includes electronic stability control, autonomous emergency
braking, parking sensors, a 360-degree reversing camera and
nine airbags. Also standard is a Driver Assist package with active
radar cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot
monitoring, collision detection and rear cross traffic alert.
Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription
It might have slipped a place from last
year, but the Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription
still ticks many of the boxes discerning
buyers demand. This is reflected in class-
leading scores for standard features and
ergonomics and equal class-leading
scores for safety and seating comfort.
Its ergonomic and comfort prowess
is evident in the front seats, which
offer plenty of adjustability, including
powered lumbar support and cushion
extension. Second-row passengers
have no complaints either, with space,
comfort and outlook all good.
The SUV’s standard and safety
features are extensive. Mention should be
made of two world-firsts upon its release:
a run-off road protection package and
auto brake at intersection capability.
Best AWD SUV
It’s a lot of small things that combine to push the
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d ahead of the pack
Engine: 2.1-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder Transmission: nine-speed
automatic Power: 150kW Torque: 500Nm Fuel consumption: 5.7L/100km
(claimed) ANCAP: HHHHH Price: $77,335 (indicative drive away)
Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 30d
The F-Pace is Jaguar’s first SUV.
Available in 10 variants, it differs to some
others because it’s a five-seater (not
seven) and its all-wheel-drive is biased
to the rear rather than the front wheels.
At around $100,000 drive away, the
powerful R-Sport 30d version – with its
220kW/700Nm 3.0 -litre twin-turbo
diesel V6 – makes for an impressive
drive. Weighing less than many of
its competitors, the Jag is light on its
feet and this contributes to its overall
dynamism. The steering is well weighted
and torque vectoring keeps the Jag
tracking where the driver wants it to go.
It does have a high purchase price,
depreciation factor and insurance costs,
but in all other areas it’s more than a
match for the two above it.
The XC90 (above) and the F-Pace (below).
48 OPEN ROAD
OR0317_BC_08 AWD 65-125 + Dual Cab.indd 48
13/02/2017 9:53 am
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