The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic arrives to play into two distinct and fast-growing segments: diesel-powered vehicles which are steadily gaining favor in the U.S. and the luxury-end of the exploding compact crossover market. The "BlueTec" or diesel powered GLK250 employs a 2.1-liter biturbo diesel engine, capable of 200 horsepower, with a very large amount of that coming on the low-end.
Mercedes says this is currently the most powerful four-cylinder diesel production engine in the world. Power is transmitted exclusively via a seven-speed automatic transmission. The 2014 GLK250 BlueTec is not to be confused with the Mercedes-Benz GLK350, which is the GLK250's gasoline-powered cousin that uses a V-6 engine good for 306 hp. As we found when we first got a sample of Mercedes-Benz's new crossover geared towards active couples and young families, the GLK250 adds a level of refinement you may not be expecting.
Model and Price
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic starts at $39,905 after delivery, a slight increase from the model's introductory price in mid-2013. Entry-level models come equipped with 4Matic all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires, dual-zone climate control, a memory driver's seat and power-adjustable passenger seat, and a 5.8-inch media screen as standard features. All GLK250's also come equipped with auto headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights. Our model came exceptionally well equipped, and was priced on the higher end of the spectrum at $58,045 after delivery.
Our model added: Parktronic with parking assist ($1,290); A Harmon Kardon sound system ($850); Heated front seats ($750); Premium Package with auto dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof and more ($3,450); Full Leather Seating Package ($1,850); Lighting Package ($310); Multimedia Package which adds Mercedes-Benz's Comand infotainment system, upgrades the media screen to 7.0-inches, and adds a backup camera ($2,860); and a Sport Appearance Package ($1,9990).
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Safety and Key Features
The 2014 GLK250 comes with the same safety features as other models in the GLK-Class, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, and a bevy of airbags. Young families will find the rear-door child safety locks and anchor system for a baby's seat especially useful. Mercedes also includes a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty on the purchase of a new GLK250, which will offer new buyers extra peace of mind.
Our especially well-equipped model included safety features such as a blind spot monitoring system, cruise control, a lane-keeping assist feature, pre-braking and -pre-crash features that assist in braking if the car senses an impending accident, and helps to warn the driver. The Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic earned an Insurance Institute for Highway "Safety Top Safety Pick" distinction for the latest model year. The GLK250 scored a "good" rating in front, side, rear, and rollover impact testing.
Family Friendliness and Utility
While young professionals may be drawn to the 2014 GLK250, families will certainly make up a large slice of the purchasing pie. 4Matic all-wheel drive will come in handy during the wet and cold months, but families will also be happy with easy to access LATCH points and enough room to maneuver a child safety seat, which will mean less time spent out in that cold and wet weather. Pleasingly, the GLK-Class has a power liftgate that opens and closes in an agreeable amount of time, and a roomy enough cargo area will hold about 20 grocery bags. Should you need to haul something, the 60-40 split rear seats fold flat by easily pulling a lever near the headrests.
Comfort and Quality
Despite being on the smaller end of Mercedes-Benz's crossover and SUV range, the Stuttgart automaker didn't skimp on the niceties. The cabin features premium materials, and angular design that matches the exterior, and no shortage of style. A sporty instrument cluster matched nicely with the circular metallic-rimmed air-vents, which help define the cabin.
Our model featured an Almond Beige Leather with Mocha trim, along with extremely comfortable headrests (a really nice feature) and premium interior lighting that were part of the Full Leather Seating Package, at a cost of $1,850. Soft-touch materials are everywhere you want them to be, and a nice panoramic sunroof keeps things light and airy on the inside. We also had the upgraded 7.0-inch media screen instead of the standard 5.8-inch screen. All passengers have comfortable seating positions and room. One gripe was with the Bluetooth, which took longer to pair with my iPhone than usual.
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How it Drives
When Americans think of diesels, they may still have the notion of a noisy, messy, archaic operation. While Mercedes-Benz has introduced the first passenger diesel vehicle in 1936, even up until the 1980s diesel cars were markedly less refined than their gasoline brethren. Fast forward to today, and it's evident with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec that engineers really worked on making a more sophisticated engine. Gone is the loud whirring and rumbling, replaced by an almost quiet hum. It's easy for an unassuming driver to not know they're driving a diesel crossover at all. Though despite the clever biturbo configuration, the GLK250 still has some turbocharger lag and is not especially quick. But while it's not as fast as the V-6 gasoline GLK350, you're never wanting for power and can quickly find yourself going faster than it feels, a testament to the quiet cabin and smooth ride.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic is the automaker's entry-level crossover and is priced a few hundred dollars below the GLK350. With class-leading EPA fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, the GLK250 rewards buyers in the longer term as well. Competition includes the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI, though that model features a more powerful engine to go along with a considerably higher starting price, several thousand dollars above the GLK250. With attractive styling inside and out, great fuel economy, ample room, and plenty of safety features and technology, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic makes a very compelling case for anyone looking for a luxury compact crossover.
Price-as-tested: $58,045 after delivery
EPA City: 24
EPA Highway: 33
EPA Combined: 28
Cargo Space: 20 grocery bags
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Estimated Combined Range: 515 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Poor