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First Drive Review: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a luxe family hauler with sports car performance

The Mercedes-Benz GLC starts at $42,500 and will be on sale later this year.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC is the brand's best-selling model in the United States. This year's redesign includes key updates to make sure it the GLC doesn't lose its edge. A wide range of trims with multiple engines and body styles offer choice aplenty for luxury shoppers.

The GLC is a mid-size SUV that sits above the compact GLA and below the larger GLE. It's available as both an SUV and a coupe, but this isn't a traditional coupe – it still has four doors. Instead of a two-door version of a four-door sedan, this is a sportier version of an SUV with a lower roofline.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC comes in two variants, a coupe and a SUV.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The redesigned exterior includes chrome trims that run front to rear, new headlamps, and a new contoured grille to give the GLC a bolder look. The standard LED headlamps are smaller and in back there's a revised bumper and exhaust tips. Together these changes create a more aggressive appearance.

Both the GLC 300 SUV and coupe have are powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque paired to with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The SUV offers rear- or all-wheel drive while the coupe is all-wheel drive only. It's a responsive and controlled ride with smooth power delivery befitting a luxury vehicle.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC The Mercedes is responsive and delivers power smoothly.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The AMG GLC 63 has a more powerful 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine with 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque that's also paired to a 9-speed automatic. That healthy jump in power delivers stronger acceleration with a sport-tuned ride. If that's still not enough, then there's the AMG GLC 63 S, offered on the coupe only, which is specially tuned and delivers 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque - true sports car performance.

That's the lineup for now, but it will be expanding over the coming months and into next year. The GLC family will round out with the plug-in hybrid GLC 350e and the GLC 43 SUV and coupe.

Inside, the experience is luxe with rich wood and leather appointments that coddle passengers in comfort. There's ample room for five passengers and taller riders will find plenty of headroom and legroom, even in the coupe. Those who plan to use the GLC to haul cargo will find the SUV a better option with an additional 1.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 7.1 cubic feet behind the front seats.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC The Mercedes-Benz GLC features the latest version of the company's infotainment system, MBUX.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Infotainment now features the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), which can be operated with a touchpad, touchscreen, steering wheel controls, or voice simply by saying, "Hey, Mercedes." There's a standard 10.25-inch touch screen along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Standard safety features include brake assist, blind spot assist with exit warning, attention assist, and crosswind assist. More advanced features including active steering assist, emergency braking, emergency stop assist, active blind spot assist, and rear cross traffic alert are available at an additional cost.

Pricing for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV ranges from $42,500 to $73,750 while the coupe comes in higher with pricing from $50,000 to $84,100. Expect to see the redesigned GLC in dealerships late this year.

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The Bronze Edition model builds on the XLE trim.

Toyota

The Toyota Highlander entered its fourth generation for the 2020 model year, which brought sleek style, updated tech, and a premium-look interior. A new XSE trim joined the lineup for 2021, and for 2022, Toyota is adding a new hybrid-only Bronze Edition trim.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition adds useful features, such as a hands-free power liftgate.toyota

The new Bronze Edition Highlander builds on the XLE trim with:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Memory driver's seat with 10-way power adjustments
  • Hands-free power liftgate

Toyota notes that the Bronze Edition previews features that will show up with the greater 2022 Highlander release. Among them are the new Wind Chill Pearl color, which replaces Blizzard Pearl from the previous model, and height/tilt passenger seat adjustments.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Highlander is a supremely comfortable SUV with room for the family.Toyota

The Highlander carries on into 2022 with a standard 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. A Highlander Hybrid is available, which mates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. Combined system output is 243 horsepower. With the V6 on board, the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition is available for Highlander Hybrid models.Toyota

All 2022 Highlander models get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, road sign assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, a sway warning system, and automatic high beams. Those features and the Highlander's excellent crash testing scores were good enough for the SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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The G-Wagen was already over-the-top.

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The Mercedes-AMG G63 is rolling excess, in every sense of the word. It's huge, expensive, loud, quick, and demands attention, but some people feel that it needs even more of all of those things. That's where tuner Brabus comes in, and as this G-Wagen shows, people are willing to shell out big money to own a Brabus-tuned G.

Among other upgrades, the Brabus B40S-800 and G800 Widestar packages brought more power, 20-inch forged wheels, a lift kit, a performance exhaust, extra bodywork, and carbon fiber trim as far as the eye can see. The already impressive twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 to boost output to 800 horsepower and 712 pound-feet of torque. An AMG nine-speed automatic transmission handles gear shifts, while a dual-range transfer case and three locking differentials help the hulking SUV handle off-road duties with ease.

2021 Mercedes-Benz G63 Brabus G800 Widestar The G63's interior is opulent and spacious.Bring a Trailer

Inside, the G-Wagen features quilted Nappa leather upholstery, carbon fiber trim, and aluminum accents throughout. Features include a Burmester sound system, blind spot monitors, ambient lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, and plenty more. An AMG flat-bottom steering wheel, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and large center touchscreen highlight the front cabin. Just 900 miles are shown on the odometer.

2021 Mercedes-Benz G63 Brabus G800 Widestar Power output has been boosted to 800 hp.Bring a Trailer

The standard G63 starts at over $156,000, so it's not surprising to see one with far more power and a laundry list of custom features with a current bid price of $376,000. The B40S kit alone costs $35,000, and then there's installation, tuning, and all of the surrounding work. That's before we even get to the lift kit and other work done here. The price tag is steep, but this may be one case where we can actually add things up to see where the selling price comes from, instead of ogling at the six-figure price tag with no context.

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