The GLK-series is an all-new model for North America, competing in the growing premium compact SUV market. While some reviewers will have you believe this is Mercedes’ first shot in this niche, the reality is the GLK is less than 2″ shorter than the original ML320, so this is hardly new territory. The M-Class has grown over the years, and Mercedes needed a small SUV to compete against the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, Infiniti EX35 and Acura RDX. With so many choices-great choices, we should add-what does Mercedes bring to the party?
For a company that has built a reputation for playing it safe, style-wise, the GLK is a rolling contradiction. For a modern, small SUV the GLK is alarmingly upright, with chiseled edges, bulging fender flares, and an in your face front fascia. The upsweeping character line is particularly sporty. Our test car was fitted with the optional Sport Appearance package, which includes impressive 20″ wheels, and oh-so-elegant brushed aluminum roof rails. I tend to think red looks out of place on any Mercedes (except for the SL), but the Mars Red finish on our test car grew on me quickly. The looks of the GLK may not be for everyone, but I applaud Mercedes for deciding to make a style statement rather than offer some lozenge-shaped bore.