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2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic (photos)

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 crossover is as close as it gets to a C350 wagon for U.S. buyers, but is it close enough?

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

Shorter than you may think

The GLK350 looks larger than the C-Class sedan in photos, but the two cars share a platform. The GLK is actually slightly shorter from nose to tail and from axle to axle than a C350.
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Bold styling

The bold corporate face of Mercedes-Benz is certainly not anonymous. Exaggerated headlights and a massive tri-star badge dominate the front end.
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High seat

The GLK's roof sits almost 10 inches higher than the sedan upon which it's based. That gives the driver more headroom and a higher, more commanding seating position.
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4MATIC

The GLK350 is available in both rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive trims. The 4MATIC system features a permanent 45/55 front/rear torque split, but can shift up to 70 percent of power to either axle.
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Power lifter

With the optional Premium package, the GLK350's rear lift-gate gains power actuation, lifting and lowering with the touch of a button.
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Rear hatch

The GLK's primary advantage over the C-Class is its maximum cargo space of 54.7 cubic feet.
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Fold flat seats

In order to take advantage of all of the space for bulkier items, you'll need to fold one or both of the rear seats flat.
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Sport appearance

An optional $990 Sport Appearance package replaces the stock 19-inch wheels with these 20-inchers. For $1,000 more, you can have AMG-style 20s and an AMG-inspired body kit.
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3.5-liter engine

Under the angular hood is this 3.5-liter, direct injected V-6 engine that outputs 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
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Inviting cabin

With our blend of almond wood and mocha leather, the GLK350's cabin is warm and inviting.
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Dashboard

Mercedes-Benz puts the GLK owner's money to good use with good cabin materials and solid construction.
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Sitting with power

Eight-way power adjustable seats are standard on the GLK350, but you'll need the Premium package to add three-position driver's seat memory, lumbar support, and a power adjustable steering column.
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Steering wheel

The GLK350's electronic power-steering allows the driver to effortlessly guide the responsive crossover around potholes and bendy roads.
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Instrument cluster

The instrumentation is a blend of classic tri-gauge styling with a modern, circular LCD located in the center of the speedometer.
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Steering-wheel controls

The steering-wheel controls are simple enough and intuitive. This bank gives the driver control over the LCD in the instrument cluster.
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Steering-wheel controls

However simple, I found a few frustrations with these controls. For example, there's no dedicated button for skipping forward and back. Instead, Mercedes-Benz expects the driver to handle that via a menu or a dashboard button.
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Physical buttons

The lower dashboard is ripe with buttons for audio and phone controls. Odds are that you'll never actually touch half of these buttons.
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LCD interface

Most of the infotainment interactions will take place on this LCD located at the top of the center stack.
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COMAND controller

The GLK350 doesn't feature a touch screen, so you'll be navigating between navigation, audio, and phone functions with this COMAND controller.
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Digital audio

The Premium package adds USB connectivity and an iPod/iPhone media interface. If you only spec one option, it should definitely be that package.
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Cover search

Using the COMAND controller, I was able to access this Cover-Flow-type search function.
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Audio sources

The full array of media sources includes AM/FM, SiriusXM, USB, iPod, Bluetooth Audio, SD card, analog auxiliary, a 10GB hard drive, and a single-slot DVD player, but you'll need both the Premium and Multimedia packages.
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Bluetooth hands-free

Hands-free calling is standard, giving the driver access to a Bluetooth paired phone's address book and call logs.
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Text messaging

With phones that support it, the COMAND system is able to download and display incoming text messages. If you're driving, the text will be hidden, but a tap of the COMAND controller will cause the message to be read aloud.
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Mercedes-Benz Apps

The GLK350 comes standard with the Mercedes-Benz Apps suite, but we don't think that it's worth the $14 monthly subscription.
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Mercedes-Benz Apps

Mercedes-Benz Apps gives the driver access to Google Local Search, Yelp, and Facebook.
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Yelp reviews

Entries found through Yelp feature a star rating, a phone number for calling, and an address for navigation.
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Yelp reviews

Additionally, you can view the last few user reviews for each destination. This would be especially useful for choosing restaurants on the go, if it weren't so slow and tedious.
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Options and packages

The GLK350 is available with a wide array of convenience and safety features including adaptive cruise control and an automatic parallel parking system. However, checking too many option boxes can push the GLK right out of your price range.

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