The 2013 Mercedes GLK350 is a great car. The only question is whether it’s worth the money. But before you answer that question, you need to figure out how much money you’re talking about.
My test car was the fully loaded model. It stickered at $57,685. That included goodies like: Parktronic with active parking assist system ($970), Harmon Kardon Sound $(810) Premium Package (including: garage door opener, integrated compass, memory seat, panorama sunroof – $3450), full leather seating ($2100), lighting package ($1290), multimedia package (rear view camera voice control for phone), AMG styling package ($1990) and the driver assist package ($2950).
To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure that the GLK350 was worth $57,685. Don’t get me wrong, it does everything well. It’s comfortable to drive with a 302 hp, 3.5 liter V6 with direct injection. It felt like it had just the right amount of power. There when you need it, but nothing that would overpower you. Mileage fell into the decent range: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway. The GLK350 also has the Eco Stop start automatic transmission. It shuts off the engine when you come to a complete stop, and then restarts when you take your foot off the brake. There is no lag or stutter. It’s noticeable, but not in a bad way. I recently tested a Porsche Cayenne that had the same system but the radio cut out for a fraction of a second on every restart. The GLK350 had no such problem. Mated up to the 7 speed automatic transmission and it was smooth driving all day long.
But before I talk too much more about the GLK350’s attributes, let’s get back to price. At $57k, my test car has lots of competition. There are plenty of non-luxury SUVs that offer just as much for lots less. There are also some luxury brands that offer plenty at slightly less.
But let’s look at the GLK350 from a different angle. The base price is actually a lot lower. And I mean a lot. It starts at $37,090. I’ve seen plenty advertised for less than $40k. OK, so you don’t get all the goodies, but you do get a great mid-sized SUV.
So what do you lose? That’s probably a personal question. But if you can live without things like the fancy sound system or the parking assist, the stripped down version might do the job. For example, since you don’t get leather seats, you get something called MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery. While it’s not leather, it’s a good alternative and a lot easier to clean than cloth seats.
You still get 302 hp. You still get a seven speed transmission with Eco Stop Start. You still get a six speaker audio system with hands free bluetooth. You even get Attention Assist which continuously monitors different parameters of driving behavior to warn you if you’re getting drowsy. You get Agility control suspension.
You could still find some of the non-luxury SUVs for cheaper, but this is a Mercedes! You could actually drive it home for less than a lot of other luxury models that won’t give you nearly the star power (yes, pun intended). You could even carefully cherry-pick a few options and still have a good deal.
Of course you have to remember what you’re getting. The GLK350 is a small SUV. With all the seats in place you only have 23.3 cu.ft. of cargo space. Fold all the seats down and you’re up to 54.7 cu.ft. You could compare that to the Kia Sportage cargo numbers of and 26.1 cu.ft. 54.6 cu.ft. But the Kia also maxes out at 260 hp (although it does get better mileage). And of course, it won’t dent your wallet quite as much. But tell your brother-in-law that you got a Kia, and he’ll barely blink an eye. Tell him you bought a Mercedes and suddenly he’s wondering how to ask you for a loan (OK, maybe that isn’t a good reason…).
So don’t just blow off the idea of getting a GLK350 because it’s a Mercedes and clearly out of your price range. Do the math and look around. You might find yourself enjoying some German luxury at a lot less than you’d expect.