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Mercedes will sell boatloads of this revamped diesel SUV

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 4MATIC

Mercedes-Benz

A collection of lines and creases and angles and corners define the sheetmetal of the revamped 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK. Your eye may like it, or not. Whatever you think of the GLK's design, what we can all agree on is the value here.

Turn your eyeballs to the 2013 GLK 350 4Matic with a starting price of $44,900. Now open them wide to take note of the GLK 250 BlueTec 4Matic diesel with a base price of $43,500. Mercedes has put serious effort into improving its second best-selling model in Canada. The company says the compact GLK has a cabin with better materials – thankfully – new gear, saucier trim, new infotainment systems and "nearly 1,000 new parts in total," heralds the company in its product outline.

Every GLK gets all-wheel-drive and a load of safety gear, from rain-sensing wipers to anti-whiplash headrests and more. To save fuel, there's a stop-start system for the V-6 engine, rated at 302 horsepower. To save even more fuel, get the diesel. Both come with a slick-shifting, seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, if you're so inclined.

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From the outside, the grille, the front apron, LED daytime running lights, standard 19-inch five-spoke wheels and privacy glass are the standout changes for 2013 – along with chrome exhaust tips and roof rails and LED tail lamps, among others. You can also pay extra for a huge glass sunroof, active Bi-Xenon headlights, and 20-inch wheels for the gas rig.

Inside, well, this is where the real changes have happened. Merc has done some nice work. The dashboard and instrument cluster look expensive and function well and with clarity and simplicity. The switchgear is satisfying to operate. And you get plenty of goodies in even the base model, from a solid audio system with USB and Bluetooth, to a 5.8-inch display, wood trim, dual-zone climate control, power front seats, folding rear seatbacks and vinyl upholstery referred to as "Artico" leather.

The gas GLK comes standard with the AMG Sport Package, which is an extra $1,000 on the diesel. It includes stitched door panels, stainless steel pedals, a Nappa leather steering wheel, 20-inch wheels and AMG add-ons. The value, indeed, is there.

Make no mistake, the GLK's cabin has enough room for four adults, five in a pinch. The gas engine is new and powerful and, with combined fuel economy touted at 9.7 litres/100 km, it's reasonably efficient. But the diesel gets a combined 7.2 litres/100 km. The gas engine is smoother than the diesel, but not by much. And given the diesel comes at no price premium, it's obviously the best choice for most drivers.

Mercedes Canada has a winner here and will sell boatloads of GLKs, especially diesels, in the coming months. Time for the competition to respond.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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