2010 Mercedes Benz GLK

GLK picI really liked the Mercedes Benz GLK. I shouldn’t for any number of reasons, starting with its lack of a manual transmission option, to its excessive price tag, to its abysmal fuel mileage.

But still…

The ride is excellent. The steering response it firm, with just a hair of roll in the corners brought on by being an SUV (if you find an SUV, big or small, that doesn’t lean in the corners, call me). The brakes were solid. It looks like a serious SUV, but in a more compact package. I’d call it rugged looking, but there’s just too much chrome for that. The interior was up to Mercedes standards, meaning lots of quality plastic and high-grade leather. For some reason the driver’s seat felt cramped, even though the overall space was more than adequate. The central command center seems to squeeze the legs a bit more than necessary, but it isn’t something I’d worry about for too long. I mean, come on, this car is plush. An when you’re driving it, all you can think about is bounding through the Sahara, chasing Leftist rebels while your buddy working the turret gun sends them a jaunty hello.

But, but, but…

The base price is around $36,000, and unlike most cars, you can find one on the dealer’s lot that’s within a few grand of that. But if you want an option or two, like navi, the trick sunroofs, or maybe Bluetooth, expect to pay for it. Our test vehicle tipped the scales at just over $49,000, and it didn’t have everything. And when you consider that that price puts you in ML territory, it’s time to take a step back and rethink this one.

But, damn, what a car. But, sweet Jesus, what a price.


I made sure my belt was tight. Again.

“Okay, sir, all you have to do is let off the brake pedal, and the car will begin creping forward,” I said.

“I do not creep! I engage!” To prove this, he let go of the brakes, and stood on the gas. The 4Matic system kept all the wheels glued to the road. The GLK accelerated hard down the narrow access road. The Generalissimo stomped on the brakes.

“See, that wasn’t so bad—”

He stood on the gas. This process repeated four times before I grabbed the gear selector and popped it in Neutral.

“I give up! Automatics are the Satan’s answer to sloth!”

I actually agreed with him, but I was determined to teach him how to drive one anyway. We were running out of cars to test, and I still had a few hundred community service hours to work off. Picking up trash on the highway seemed less appealing than strapping myself into a car as the Generalissimo tried very hard to kill me. Call me crazy.

“Sir, all you need to do is let go, and then gently get on the gas.”

“But my left foot! It feels so….unloved!”

“Can you brake with your left foot?”

“Blasphemy!” He reached into his tunic and whipped out a blackjack. I came to a few minutes later with a golf ball on my forehead filed with some kind of body fluid. My thumb left an imprint in the center of it when I tried to gauge its depth. My left eye wasn’t working as advertised. I smelled blood. Pretty sure it was mine.


The Generalissimo sat in the driver’s seat, arms folded across his chest. He chewed on the lower half of his mustache, and sniffled.

“Did you hit me with that—”

“I am a failure as a man,” he said.

“Yes, yes you are.”

He glared at me. Or, at least I think he glared at me. Hard to see through those mirrored aviators he has on all the time.

“Look,” I said, “this isn’t all that hard. I mean, hell, it’s a Mercedes. You love Benzes.”

“Indeed, I do, but I cannot abide their unwillingness to import vehicles without a proper transmission. It is…cruel.”

“I agree.” I blinked, hoping my left eye would regain its proper orbit in time for me to finish the driving lesson. “But we don’t run their company. We also don’t have any say into what kind of transmissions a car can have. If we did—”

“We wouldn’t have to drive cars like this!”

“Indeed. And can you please stop yelling? The bump on my noggin is starting to gain sentience.”

“Never!” He took off his seat belt. He got out, screaming at the trees and demanding an audience with someone called Mon Presidénte. I caught something about wanting to send a team of heavily armed men into Stuttgart to bring the German devils to their knees.

“Crap.” I reached for the handle, but it was locked. “Screw it.” I wished him well, then passed out.

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