The Inside

Mercedes has been reshaping its lineup for the past few years, and the interiors of models like the C-Class and new E-Class have taken on a more angular appearance. That's true in the new GLK350, too, which features bold swaths of aluminum trim on the dashboard and doors (burl walnut wood trim is optional). The overall appearance is quite luxurious, trimmed in high-grade materials.

The GLK350's seats are finished in standard MB-Tex simulated leather, but real leather upholstery is included in the optional $1,750 Full Leather Seating Package, along with the wood trim. MB-Tex does such a good job impersonating the real thing in terms of appearance and texture that I initially thought my test model was equipped with leather. The front bucket seats have supple cushioning and are supportive thanks to a long bottom cushion that provides good thigh support. They feel like a favorite chair that makes your muscles relax the minute you sit in it. Heated front seats and a driver's-side memory feature are optional.

Most controls are logically arranged, and numerous features are accessible in multiple ways. For example, you can select the optional navigation system by pressing a button on the dash or by using the Comand system's multifunction controller on the center console. Comand comes with the navigation system, and of the knob-based systems out there, like BMW's iDrive and Audi's Multi Media Interface, it's one of the better ones thanks to intuitive onscreen menus. BMW, however, has closed the gap significantly with its latest generation of iDrive. The GLK350's air conditioning controls, however, aren't in the best spot; they're very low on the dash.

The backseat is fairly tight for adult passengers and feels a little smaller than the XC60's. With the driver's seat adjusted for my 6-foot-1 frame, I had to sit with my legs to either side of its backrest in order to have enough legroom. The 60/40-split backseat's backrest is nicely reclined, however.

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    Restarting the tire pressure monitor
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    Front air bags
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