Mercedes-Benz GLK
By: Scott Mortara

We Like: That Mercedes is finally giving the U.S. a small-displacement diesel engine.

We Don't Like: That Mercedes isn't letting us get our hands on it until next year.

When you first lay eyes on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK, nothing pops out as significantly changed, but according to M-B, there are more than 1000 new parts on the revised SUV. The most notable change for the GLK is the introduction of the new 2.1-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine.

The exterior gets a slew of minor changes. A new nose has the GLK looking more like the rest of its kin in the M-B lineup. New headlamps get LED running lights; the upper and lower grilles have been reworked; the new taillights have LED accents; and there are new exhaust tips and a redesigned chrome skidplate.

The interior styling is more luxurious than the previous-generation GLK's. The shifter has been moved from the center console to the steering column to allow for a few more cupholders. The rectangular dashboard vents are replaced by huge round ones poached from the SL. One of the nicest improvements is the massive piece of burled wood covering the dash from edge to edge.

While the exterior and interior changes are definitely appreciated, it's what's new under the hood that really impresses. Mercedes is finally giving us a small-displacement turbo diesel in addition to a reworked natural V-6. The new diesel is, of course, turbocharged, putting out 190 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque while promising extremely good fuel economy when it arrives in the spring. The refreshed V-6 gets direct injection and an increase in compression, giving the GLK a power bump to 302 hp and 273 lb-ft while improving fuel efficiency.

Most of the judges liked the styling changes, and everyone agreed the GLK is an exceptionally fun car to drive. It's quick, nimble, and confidence-inspiring, with exceptional braking. And the nanny wasn't overly intrusive, allowing you to slide the GLK a bit through the turns in Normal mode. In Sport mode, everything gets even better; it's not every day you find an SUV that rotates and lets you steer with the throttle.

The 2013 GLK is better in every way compared with the previous generation, but M-B didn't move the bar enough to warrant crowning it the 2013 SUOTY.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic
BASE PRICE $39,965
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.5L/302-hp/273-lb-ft DOHC -valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 7-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4183 lb (52/48%)
WHEELBASE 108.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.3 x 00.0 x 00.0
0-60 MPH 5.8 sec
QUARTER MILE 14.4 sec @ 96.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 121 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.5 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 177/140 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.93 lb/mile