It has been awhile since I have reviewed Mercedes latest. And this week finds me in a nice place to be- The Mercedes Benz GLK250 BlueTEC. The first impressions are very good- after idle during normal driving conditions you would be hard pressed to guess this is compression ignition. But more on the little SUV later.
I am too excited about how well Distronic Plus works even on the entry-level SUV. For those who do not know, Distronic Plus is ‘automatic’ cruise control that maintains a preset distance to the car ahead- even down to a complete stop in traffic. Instead of fighting for steering-wheel controls (which are left for infotainment functions), Mercedes gives you an additional small stalk to run the works. The cruise control stalk works just like a Toyota’s, except there is a small rotating knob on the tip. Twist it and you can open or close the gap to the car in front of you. However, even the ’tightest’ setting will still allow rude New Yorkers to merge in. Cole Trickle impressionists need not apply. But for day-to-day handing off the pedal duties to the computer in traffic, the system works magnificently. The infotainment display right in the Speedo helps you figure it all out. The only thing it can’t do is tell the color and shape of the car in front of you. Instead, it makes everything a beige E-Class even if it is an orange garbage truck.
One other trick I discovered (that I would have earlier if only I read the manual) is the brake hold feature. If you get to a traffic light, just squish the brake to the floor and you’ll stay there until you give it gas (or diesel). This is some well laid out engineering. I can’t wait to try the S-Class that allows the car to manipulate the tiller as well.