Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
Though the 2013 GLK-Class is the junior member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family, it offers modern styling, upscale amenities and advanced safety features, just as one would expect from a luxury-branded vehicle. A development of the C-Class platform, the 2013 GLK combines the comfortable ride quality and enticing technology of the C with the versatility of a small SUV.
You'll Like The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class If...
If you desire traditional SUV features, such as a flexible cargo area and an elevated seating position, but you want it in a smaller, more practical package, the 2013 Mercedes GLK is a good choice.
You May Not Like The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class If...
Those looking for a luxury SUV with sedan-like mpg might find the superior fuel economy of the Audi Q5 and Land Rover Evoque more appealing.
For 2013, the Mercedes-Benz GLK line expands to include a new BlueTEC diesel-powered GLK250 (arriving mid-2013). The GLK350 gets a new 3.5-liter V6 with better power, response and efficiency. There’s new front- and rear-end styling, a redesigned interior, improvements to the power steering and some new equipment offerings.
Despite its entry-level price point (for the brand), the GLK’s superb interior fit and finish and high-quality soft-touch materials uphold Mercedes-Benz’s reputation for fine craftsmanship. And this year the cabin feels even richer with its cleaner instrument panel and full-width wood trim. The 5-passenger GLK features a 60/40-split rear seat and a useful 54.7 cubic feet of cargo space. While the front seats are not quite as comfortable as those in a Lexus RX or Audi Q5, they do feature 8-way adjustability and ample bolstering. Controlling the GLK’s abundance of high-tech features is Mercedes-Benz’s intuitive COMAND multimedia interface.
Complementing its stout, aggressive stance, the Mercedes-Benz GLK features strong character lines, angled wheel arches and, for 2013, new grille, fascia, headlamp and tail lamp treatments. Large windows combined with slender structural pillars provide exceptional outward visibility. The available AMG Styling Package adds aluminum roof rails and LED daytime running lights and replaces the standard 19-inch wheels with massive 20-inch twin-5-spoke wheels. Despite its tall appearance, the 2013 GLK is as easy to step in and out of as a traditional sedan.
The GLK’s well-balanced chassis and sharp suspension tuning provide enjoyable driving on curvy roads. On the highway, the ride quality is firmer than some people may expect, but the GLK’s well-insulated cabin blocks out the majority of road noise, even when equipped with the panoramic sunroof. The new 3.5-liter V6 delivers good power for typical daily driving and answers concerns we had last year about throttle response and fuel efficiency. The 2.1-liter 4-cylinder BlueTEC turbodiesel in the GLK250 offers up 369 lb-ft of torque, which translates to very strong low-speed pulling power. The 7-speed automatic transmission provides silky-smooth gear changes along with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual-style shifting. The electric power-steering system has been reprogrammed this year, and weight and feel are both much improved.
The 2013 GLK350 SUV has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $38,000 for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model. It can top out at a whopping $60,000 for a fully-loaded 4Matic GLK350. We expect our Fair Purchase Price will reflect real-world transaction prices within a few hundred dollars of sticker price. As for resale, we project that the 2013 GLK350 will hold strong 5-year residual values, better than the Land Rover Evoque, nearly equal to the BMW X3 and just slightly below the Infiniti EX35 and Audi Q5.
Standard equipment on either 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK includes roof rails, 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, Burl Walnut interior trim, MP3/WMA interface, 8-way power-adjustable front seats and Bluetooth hands-free phone capability. Significant safety features include nine airbags, Neck Pro front headrests to help reduce the severity of whiplash injuries, hill-start assist to prevent unintended rollback on steep inclines and an Automatic Brake Drying system for improved braking in damp conditions.
The 2013 GLK offers Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system as a $2,000 option. Several premium packages and stand-alone options include leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, Active Parking Assist, blind-spot and lane-keeping assist, xenon headlights, heated front seats, an 11-speaker harman/kardon sound system, voice-recognition capability, rear-seat entertainment system and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. A wide range of accessories includes aerodynamic roof containers with their own fitted luggage.
HARMAN/KARDON LOGIC7 AUDIO SYSTEMThis impressive audio system features impeccable sound quality with 510 watts, 11 speakers including a subwoofer, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and up to 10GB of storage for your music.COMAND MULTIMEDIA CONTROLLERThe 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK’s COMAND multimedia controller is conveniently located for simple operation of the audio, navigation and communication functions. Combined with the dash-mounted LCD screen, the COMAND interface allows for streamlined information retrieval to help keep your eyes off the LCD and on the road where they belong.
Under the Hood
There’s plenty of news here for 2013. The GLK350 gets an all-new and all-better engine. Still a 3.5-liter V6, the new engine is much more modern, using direct fuel injection and other advances to boost output to 302 horsepower and EPA city/highway fuel economy to 19/25 mpg. The only transmission is a 7-speed automatic, though it can drive either the rear wheels only or, with M-B’s optional 4Matic system, all four wheels. The new-for-2013 BlueTEC turbodiesel in the GLK250 (arriving in mid-2013) is a 2.1-liter four and, as the only diesel currently in the compact-luxury SUV class, it should automatically become the fuel-efficiency leader.GLK3503.5-liter V6302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg (RWD), 19/24 mpg (AWD)GLK2502.1-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4190 horsepower @ 4,200 rpm369 lb-ft @ 1,600-1,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
The 2013 GLK-Class is the junior member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. Like its larger siblings – the Mercedes M-Class and GL-Class – the compact GLK offers modern styling, upscale amenities and advanced safety features, just as one would expect from a luxury-branded vehicle. A development of the same platform as used on the best-selling Mercedes-Benz C-Class automobiles, the 2013 GLK combines the comfortable ride quality and enticing technology of the C with the versatility of a small SUV. Its total passenger and cargo space is tight compared to an Audi Q5 or BMW X3, and its price tag is a bit higher. A substantial freshening for 2013 includes the addition of the GLK250 model with a 2.1-liter BlueTEC turbodiesel engine, unique in the compact class.