2013 Mercedes Benz GLK 350

By David Goodspeeddgoodspeed@blitzweekly.com

“Gleiskreuzung” is the German word I found when translating “crossover,” as in crossover utility vehicle. I don’t know if Mercedes-Benz used that in naming its entry luxury GLK (as they still refer to it as a sport utility vehicle) but I am sure you can see the possibility.

Regardless, Mercedes gives its cute ute a major makeover for the 2013 model year (inside and out) that includes some 1,000 new parts.

We recently received the 2013 GLK350 and immediately one notices the new corporate face chiseled into the body styling. The new look does, however, give an appearance of an overly tall greenhouse in proportion to the lower box.

The GLK is 10 inches shorter than sibling M-Class Mercedes’ SUVs and competes in a very crowded and popular segment that includes Acura RDX, Lexus RX, and BMW X3, to name a few.

The 2013 received a new powertrain with ECO start-stop technology and electromechanical steering as well as a host of state-of-the-art safety and convenience upgrades.

This is the sophomore offering of the platform by the automaker who ups the ante by offering 4MATIC all-wheel drive and AMG styling packages for the GLK (of which our tester had both).

The 2013’s bold-new styling gives way to a spirited direct-injected driving experience led by a 302hp 3.5-liter V-6 backed by seven-speed automatic gearbox with Direct Select Shifter, sport mode, and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Fuel economy, even with the new technologies, is only good, at 16mpg city and 21mpg highway. Ditching the 4MATIC results in highway mileage rising to 23. If you want better fuel economy out of your GLK wait ‘til next year when the BlueTec Diesel version arrives.

For now, sit back and enjoy all of the creature comforts packed into your 2013 GLK350 that can include premium audio system with media interface and satellite radio, panorama sunroof, 115-volt power outlet, full leather seating, enhanced voice control, COMAND infotainment technology with hard drive navigation system, rearview camera, comfort headrests, power liftgate, AMG styling with 20-inch alloy wheels, aluminum roof rails, brushed aluminum running boards, tilt and telescopic steering column, and rear cargo cover.

Driver assistance technologies standard on GLK now include Attention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptvie Highbeam Assist, Disctronic Plus adaptive cruise control with Pre-Safe Brake, Parktronic, and Active Parking Assist.

Underpinning the 2013 GLK350 is Mercedes’ Agility Control suspension system with selective damping that allows drivers to tailor the vehicle’s response to road conditions to their liking.

My overall driving experience in the new 2013 GLK can be described by the German word for wonderful, “wunderbar,” but fell a bit short of the exhilaration I experienced in the Bimmer X3. And the Mercedes new steering felt more like a balancing act of electromagnets than the connected feeling in the X3.

I would recommend the Mercedes to folks who like to surround themselves with the finer things in life while not being reminded of the actual task at hand – in other words, the X3 is for driving purists while the GLK is for everyone else.

Pricing for the 2013 GLK350 begins at just over 39 grand with our absolutely loaded tester coming in at $53,835.

One thing I did find a bit odd was that while most gauges were converted for U.S., the coolant temperature gauge was still in metric. And if I had to ask for one thing not found on our tester it would be ventilated seats. The dark leather was a bear in the 100-plus temps we have seen lately.