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GLC Tow Car Review

9373 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  LONS
After our 300 mile trip, the first towing the caravan, I thought I'd do a quick review...

Car: GLC 350d (ABC, factory fitted TowBar) Kerb-weight 1890Kg
Caravan: 2011 Sterling Eccles Ruby Maximum Technical Permissible Laden Mass MTPLM - 1600kg

Gives 84% match. It seems best advice is to keep it to max of 85% car / caravan weight ratio, although I’ve read also that the GLC can tow max of 2500kg, which would mean towing something heavier than the car? Anyway, for now I’ll stick to the 85% rule.

I’ve been towing a caravan since 2006, I’ve had various tow cars in that time from a C-Class Mercedes to a Range Rover Vogue SE, I’ve experienced both good and not so good. The car prior to the GLC was an Audi A6 saloon. We were never happy with the A6’s ability to tow. One of the biggest issues with the A6 was what I call “Caravan twitch”. This happens when you over take a lorry on the motorway and just as you’re passing it the caravan seems to get sucked into the lorry and you have to adjust the steering to prevent the sway or twitch. This is something the other half began to dread. So, I used this as an excuse to buy a GLC, I mean, for safety reasons I bought a bigger car. However, the GLC isn’t a great deal heavier than the A6, which is quite a large car.

Hitching Up

One great thing about the GLC is the rear view camera. Great for parking, and reversing from my drive, but even better for hooking up he caravan. The camera zooms into the area where to tow bar is and you get a handy yellow line that points the way. Simply line the yellow line up with the tow bar and you’re there. Very helpful and you don’t need the other half shouting “left a bit, right a bit” etc.

Behaviour On the Road

To be honest, I took a bit of an educated gamble when specifying the options on my GLC. I wanted a smooth ride, I’m not over keen on “sports suspension”, unless fitted to a sports car, I didn’t want to bump down the road. I had an Audi Q3 S Line, which had “sports suspension” and when towing the caravan it seems to almost leave the ground if travelling down a bumpy road. Passengers in the rear would literally knock their heads on the ceiling, so I was keen to avoid this. I ticked the box on the Air Body Control option in an attempt to get as smooth a ride as possible. I’d read reviews, which I have to say were “mixed”. Mercedes couldn’t find a demonstrator I could test drive. In the end I felt that as it wasn’t something I could upgrade I either needed to take a leap of faith, or possibly regret it. I didn’t think it would make things any noise anyway.

Of course, every review I read seemed to suggest that 20 inch wheels would make the ride hard. Good grief, I really wanted those 20 inch. I convinced myself that a combination of 20 inch wheels and Air Body Control would be a good choice. I’m pleased to report it was indeed a good choice. You could say that I just threw money at a problem and I wouldn’t argue, but it was important for us to get a tow car that not only towed well and felt secure, but was also a good day to day car.

The car towed an absolutely dream. No doubt helped by the 3.0 Diesel engine, but it really was rock solid. When overtaking heavy vehicles and when being overtaken by them there was no (very little) of the dreaded twitching.

We travelled to Birmingham and back, and for us it was about 300 miles combined. The caravan had no adverse effect on the car, it was a bit like having a heavy load in the boot then it was towing a caravan

Fuel economy was 26.1mph going and 21.5mpg on the way back. I’m not sure why it was less coming back, it was more windy on the road, so it might have been that.


My GLC is certainly the ideal tow car. Much better than other cars I’ve had, with the exclusion of a Range Rover Vogue SE Supercharged 4.2, both then again that only did about 13 mpg!
I’m not sure if the 360 camera would have been even better than the rear view camera for hooking up the caravan, but the rear view camera as standard worked perfectly and really helped.
As a direct comparison to the A6 (our previous car) the GLC is much better. I think a combination of the car being higher, the engine being bigger and it being 4 wheel drive made it feel a lot more secure, especially with side winds. I also think the crosswind assist helped, with the caravan it did sway just a little, but really nothing to worry about..
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Thanks for that, a great read for someone like me who has yet to hitch up our van in a fully laden state, that will happen next month and I'm not expecting problems.

Mine is only the 250d and our van is about as large as we could get and heavy at 1800kg laden which is way over the 85% suggested however I am an experienced tower.

My previous car was a 2016 Audi A6 avant quatro 2.0 tdi 190 bhp and it handled the van with ease although I suspect that the 4 wheel drive was the real difference between yours and mine. My GLC is a bit heavier and and a little more bhp

I'm a bit puzzled about the "twitching" when passing or being passed by lorries as with a large slab of a van it's always going to happen just as it does when lorries pass each other or buses for that matter and whilst the electronics on the car, and stabilisation on the van when fitted certainly must help I can't see how it would prevent it completely. Great if somehow it does though!

Mine has the 20" wheels but normal AMG -line suspension and when I towed empty I left it in comfort mode so will have to see what it's like when laden. Good choice of the bigger engine, I thought about it but felt I couldn't justify for day to day use.
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Re twitching, the A6 is the only car I've experienced it to that level, I put it down to being 2 wheel drive, or maybe the shape of the saloon ? The different size engine won't be an issue I'm sure and you'll get better MPG than I managed..

We're looking to get a larger twin axle at some point, so will be interested to hear how you get on..

This is a good read, don't know if you've seen this :-

For a mid-sized SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d has a high kerbweight of 1845kg. That’s good news for matching ratios, giving the Merc an 85% match figure of 1568kg. That’s well within the 2500kg towing limit.
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Thanks, I've seen that video on youtube, it was the only one I could find that was relevant even though the caravan is much lighter than ours. We have a 2017 Elddis Crusader Zephyr.

In my distant past I was a manager with ABI Caravans in Beverley and regularly traveled home to Northumberland so there were occasions when I would bring a van back to our Elddis factory in Consett. I had a heavy & powerful company car but have a vivid memory on day when against my better judgement agreed to take a Crusader prototype back to the factory, far too heavy, rear kitchen and no ballast so light noseweight and no stabiliser it was a bl**dy nightmare. I told them where to go next time I was asked LOL.
Very nice caravan BTW. Same sort of layout we're looking for so I'll be doubly interested in your towing experience..!

Will let you know Graham but as we had no issues with the A6 I expect it to be trouble free.

We were considering a motorhome at the time, or at least my wife was but neither of us use a bike and it would have meant buying yet another little runabout or scooter, non of which appealed.

It was the layout and spec that convinced us to buy the van despite the weight penalty, we bought it last May and it was a new model for 2017 but even so I got nearly £4k off the price despite refusing the demo model. The downside was we had to wait for a factory build and were committed to 5 weeks in Canada / Alaska and other plans so only managed to get away in the van twice.

There are a number of other makes and models around now with similar layout, some much lighter so plenty of choice.

Hello, I think Towing and Repair of Helena MT can help you on this issue.
No idea what sajib888 post is about, looks like speculative advertising to me?

Anyway reminded me I was going to follow up.

Have towed the van fully laden a number of times now up to a couple of hundred miles on each way trips so I guess a total of around 1200 miles and am perfectly happy with the 250d performance. Handles my very heavy van with ease and pretty stable even in some of the wet and windy motorway conditions we encountered.

The engine is more than powerful enough although I'd definitely have taken a 350d had there been one with the spec and factory towbar at the time.

It is a little less twitchy than my A6 quatro but the characteristics are always there to catch out the unwary. I guess it depends how fast you're going when overtaking a lorry :wink2:

Only get around 24mpg towing though.
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