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Mercedes GLC 220d vs BMW X3 M Sport vs Range Rover Evoque: Comparison Review


We get our hands dirty with three fifty-lakh rupee SUVs, to figure out which one deserves a spot in your garage!

 

Mercedes GLC 220d vs BMW X3 M Sport vs Range Rover Evoque

 

The rain gods showed no mercy. We witnessed a downpour so heavy we had to seek shelter in the cars for a good three hours before we could get back to testing. Aimlessly staring at the roofline in the Mercedes, I had an epiphany. 

 

A while back, we had ploughed through broken terrain like it was a cakewalk. And, later in the day, we did some more of that, just for good measure. You see, it's not every day you spend over Rs 50 lakh on a brand new set of wheels. And when you do, it'd be a shame if you couldn't drive it when the weather screamed for one, eh? Cue the half crore SUV brigade. The de-facto upgrade for someone who is used to something like a Toyota Fortuner or a Ford Endeavour. For someone who's used to big muscly SUVs, no matter how fun to drive, low-slung sedans just don't cut it anymore. 

 

GLC vs X3

 

These three SUVs in particular though, have very similar recipes. They are at ease in the urban jungle and can be reasonably fun to drive when you give them the beans. And, while none of them can be hardcore off-roaders, none of them mind a bit of mud-plugging if you're careful enough. So, which one do you place the hard-earned half a crore on? 

 

GLC 220d vs X3 M Sport vs Evoque

 

Exterior 

BMW X3 M Sport (3/5)

Mercedes-Benz GLC220d (4/5) 

Range Rover Evoque (4.5/5)

If the X3 wasn't painted in the same shade as a strawberry, I'm certain it would have blended in with traffic, just like the GLC did. The M Sport trim gets a different set of bumpers and wheels, which make it draw quite a lot of attention. Like I said, the Mercedes is happy being covert. Finished in brown, it barely caught anyone's eye. The Range Rover is the polar opposite. It screams and thumps its chest for attention. And if you didn't give it any, we're pretty sure it'd throw a fit too. 

 

The X3 is a big, plus size BMW and it looks the part. The trademark kidney grille and squared off 'corona ring' DRLs make it look in line with other SUVs in the automaker's line-up. It got a facelift recently which isn't the best it could get. The reworked face with sleeker headlamps struggles to gel with the bulbous proportions. Also, we really wish the alloys were an inch bigger and, like Cyrus said: "the design is too 1995". We have seen some crazy wheels from BMW (M4 GTS, anyone?) and this one just does not go well with the car. Thankfully BMW will give you the option to choose wheels at the dealer level. Choose wisely! 

 

Range Rover Evoque

 

If this hasn't been hammered in a million times already, let's go over it one more time. The Evoque looks amazing! The crisp lines, sloping roof and two-tone colour scheme is a lovely recipe. And it's got even better with the update. The updated daytime running lamp setup and the subtle revisions to the tail lamps are just what the doctor ordered for the baby Range Rover. I've lost count of the number of times an enthusiastic kid tugged onto his dad's hand pointing at it, or how many times the reckless biking teen turned around whilst riding for a another look. The Evoque looks brilliant in a bright shade such as a red or an orange, but, surprisingly, drew just as much attention in a plain-jane white. 

 

The GLC is the SUV avatar of the C-Class. And that is exactly what it looks like. The LED headlamps and large two-slat grille remind of its sedan sibling. Unlike the other two, the Mercedes is suave and sober. Nothing over the top, nothing quirky, nothing out of place. Nothing wrong? Almost. I'm not a big fan of the chromed skid plate or the way the tail lamps taper off as they flow into the rear quarter panel. That apart, the design is genuinely likeable and won't look dated anytime soon. 

 

Summing up, then. Want to get noticed? Pick the Evoque. Want a mammoth? Hello X3. Want to blend in and lay low? GLC it is. 

 

Mercedes-Benz GLC interior

 

Interior, Space and Features

BMW X3 M Sport (3/5)

Mercedes-Benz GLC220d (4/5)

Range Rover Evoque (3.5/5)

Typical. That's the word I'd use to describe the dash of all three cars. All three dashboards are finished beautifully and smothered with leather, brushed aluminium, wood and all sorts of fancy materials - there's pretty much nothing that wouldn’t make you go wow. If you've been in a Mercedes, BMW or Land Rover before everything looks familiar and feels just as plush. 

 

GLC rear seat

 

The GLC's interior mimics the C-Class’s. Bits like the high-set centre console, aluminium finish on the air-vents and knurled toggle switch for the Dynamic select are all bespoke, and typical Mercedes-Benz. What looks slightly out of place is the free-floating iPad-like screen placed on the dash. It could've been better integrated into the overall design, or even hidden itself away like some Audis. The interface although pretty straightforward to use, feels dated in terms of design and graphics. Considering our smartphones have spoilt us silly with slick user interfaces, Mercedes could've tinkered around to make the experience a tad better. 

 

BMW X3 M Sport

 

And that is exactly where the Evoque shines. The clean, clutter-free layout of the dash is as simple as it gets. The thick slab of brushed aluminium running across the dashboard, the signature rotary knob for the gear selector and large panoramic sunroof all work together to remind you that you're inside something Victoria Beckham helped design. The touchscreen infotainment system is amongst the easiest to use and is paired with brilliant Meridian speakers. There's a fine balance of light and dark shades that make the cabin look larger than it is. 

 

X3 rear seat

 

On the other hand, the all-black theme inside the X3 makes the cabin look cramped. The saving grace is that the large windows let a lot of light in, to negate the claustrophobia. The design is what you've seen in every other BMW and that includes a screen and rotary controller for the iDrive, wooden trim panels scattered on the dash and the door pads, and a tiny M badge on the steering that reminds you of what you have at your disposal. 

 

Range Rover Evoque interior

 

 

In terms of sheer support and snugness, the front seats on the BMW score full marks. The added bolstering on the side holds you tight, and slightly stiff cushioning aside, there's very little to complain. The Mercedes comes in a close second purely because it is the most comfortable of the lot. The front seats don't hold you in place as well as the BMW but are just perfect for a comfortable cruise. The Evoque is more or less similar to the GLC. Our only complaint will have to be the near rock-hard headrest. 

 

 

Evoque rear seat

 

 

What about the rear seat where the ‘Seth’ is most likely to spend his time? The GLC, hands down. The backrest is reclined at a comfortable angle, and there's plenty of support for the back and thigh. The Evoque comes in second for space and comfort, and in the BMW's case, you should be fighting for the driver's seat anyway.

 

 

Mercedes-Benz GLC in action

 

 

Engine, Ride and Handling:

BMW X3 M Sport (4/5)

Mercedes-Benz GLC220d (3.5/5) 

Range Rover Evoque (3.5/5)

Hop inside the X3 and it makes its sporty intentions clear. In case you plan on going corner carving over the weekend the BMW has to be the one parked in your driveway. The 3.0-litre motor in the 30d is an absolute cracker and has ample torque to pull away from a traffic light before everyone else. Couple that with a slick shifting 8-speed ZF transmission and you know you are bound to have fun with it.

 

 

BMW X3 M Sport

 

 

For the enthusiast, the communicative steering and well-mannered suspension is satisfying. Until you come to terms with the sheer bulk of the thing that is. Even in the super serious Sport mode that stiffens up the springs there's a fair bit of body roll that can unsettle occupants. Also, it is the only one here that makes its rather large size known. The steering is one bit heavier at low speeds compared to the others and getting used to the dimensions takes some time.

 

 

Range Rover Evoque

 

 

The GLC is pretty much car-like in that sense. You can jump in and drive off thinking of it as a large hatchback. A super light steering and soft suspension setup make city commutes a breeze. Mercs have always been known for their plush ride quality and the GLC is no different. It has the softest setup, which is forgiving on a day to day basis. It doesn't crash and thud through potholes and glides over them with aplomb. It doesn't mind a spot of cornering either. We'd have liked a little more feedback from the steering (it feels slightly dead) and a little less roll though. That said, these aren't big deal breakers in our books.

 

 

GLC in action

 

 

The 2.2-litre engine is paired with Mercedes' new 9GTronic gearbox that feels far quicker than the older 7-speed unit. In Comfort or Eco mode the gearbox will find every little excuse to upshift. While this is jolly good for fuel economy, it can get irritating when you want to get a move on.

 

 

X3 M in Action

 

 

The Evoque falls somewhere in between the two Germans. The 2.2-litre motor feels just about adequate lugging the weight of the Evoque around. It isn't outright quick, but you'd find it oddly unnerved and relaxed at triple digit speeds as the Evoque masks speeds brilliantly. The transmission is quick to respond and handles city spins and highway sprints equally well. We'd have appreciated more eager downshifts, but drive with a relaxed right foot and the Evoque is more than happy to mimic your mood.

 

 

Evoque off roading

 

 

The Evoque’s suspension is tuned for the urban environment much like the GLC. That said it isn't as comfortable as the Mercedes though. Undulations get the better of the Evoque more often than the GLC. Also, the engine sounds a bit gruff once you start pushing it. A little more damping and noise insulation would have been nice. 

 

 

X3 vs Evoque vs GLC

 

 

Before we wrap this section up, let's answer a key question. Can they off-road? Well, let's start with the fact that BMW calls the X3 a SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) and not SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle). Muck, mud, slush and everything in between is best left to the Mercedes and the Range Rover. While the GLC gets dedicated off-road modes that let you negotiate tricky terrains, the Evoque goes one step ahead and brings Terrain Response to the game. Just tell the Range Rover what you see out of the window, be it sand, snow, mud or grass and it will figure out everything else. That's years of Land Rover off-roading heritage available at the click of a button.

 

So, in case you like your SUV with a dollop of extra go-power, the X3 should be the de-facto choice. The Evoque and the GLC are more suited for everyday driving, with the latter edging past purely because of the pliant ride. 

 

 

X3 M Sport vs GLC vs Evoque rear

 

 

Verdict

BMW X3 M Sport (3/5)

Mercedes-Benz GLC220d (4/5)

Range Rover Evoque (3.5/5)

The X3, especially in its go-fast M Sport trim, is the one to pick if you like your SUVs fast, but you will have to let go of a supple city ride and the occasional off-roading jaunts. The Range Rover loves mud-plugging and is easily the best looking of the three though it has a slightly lethargic engine-gearbox combo. The Mercedes is neither the most fun nor the most handsome of the lot, but it combines a neat blend of quality, reliability and class in an extremely value for money package. And of course, that’s besides the fact that even today, it is the three-pointed star on the hood that’s a bigger status symbol for a lot of people than the roundel or the green oval. 

 

Recommended Variant : GLC 220d 4MATIC Sport

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