This opulent cocoon delivers bank-vault solidity and solitude, is enjoyable to drive, and possesses the essential Mercedes luxury touches that convince people to part with a large chunk of change.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC has one of the most comfortable rides of any small SUV. It’s also strikingly silent, with the thrum of the 241-hp four-cylinder turbo engine barely intruding upon the interior.

You also get some athletic chops that make the GLC surprisingly fun to drive for an SUV, with steering that responds crisply to your command. Forward-collision warning with automatic braking is standard—we award bonus points for that.

Read the complete 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 road test and see our reviews of the 2017 Audi Q72016 BMW X1, and 2016 Toyota RAV4.

The interior of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300
The infotainment system (left) has fussy controls with a cumbersome user interface, which can be distracting. Front accommodations (right) are roomy.

HIGHS: Ride, agility, interior finish, fuel economy, seat comfort, standard frontal-collision avoidance
LOWS: Controls, raspy engine
POWERTRAIN: 241-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cyl.; 9-speed automatic; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 22 mpg
PRICE: $49,105

Despite its small size, the 2.0-liter engine pulls the GLC with ease. The nine-speed transmission keeps the engine performing in its sweet spot. That combination returned 22 mpg overall.

The interior is elegant and well-assembled. Front accommodations are roomy and relaxed, but it’s unfortunately snug for those in back. There’s a steep learning curve needed to master the fussy controls and infotainment system, which has a distracting and cumbersome user interface.

The GLC’s predicted reliability is based mostly on the donor C-Class sedan’s below-average rating. Our forthcoming 2016 owner survey will tell us more.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the July 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.