New Mercedes GLC vs Lexus NX: interiors

These plug-in hybrid SUVs promise luxury and low running costs in equal measure. But which one is better?...

Mercedes GLC dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Finding a comfortable driving position is extremely easy in both cars, with electric adjustment for the steering wheel and seat (including lumbar support), as well as handy memory settings if more than one person is going to drive either of them on a regular basis. The front seats in the Mercedes GLC are broader and longer than the Lexus NX’s, as well as softer. However, we’d understand why you might prefer the NX’s relatively firm seats, because they hold you in place better through corners.

Each of our contenders offers a commanding driving position, with the NX’s lower dashboard helping you see more of the bonnet and making it even easier to place the car on the road. Both have chunky windscreen pillars that can get in the way at junctions, while the over-the-shoulder view is slightly better in the GLC, thanks to its larger side windows. Neither offers an unobstructed view directly out the back, but parking shouldn’t be too tricky, because both come with front and rear parking sensors and 360-degree cameras.

Lexus NX dashboard

In both cars, most of the dashboard controls are located on their infotainment touchscreens, with the GLC’s being slightly easier to reach. However, the NX, unlike its rival, benefits from having physical dials for adjusting the air temperature and driving mode; these are more user-friendly and less distracting to operate while driving than the GLC’s touch-sensitive equivalents.

The GLC’s digital instrument panel is larger and more customisable than the NX’s equivalent, but the latter is alone in having a head-up display that projects key information directly into the driver’s line of sight.

When it comes to quality, you’ll find some suitably upmarket fixtures and fittings in both, with leather (man-made in the GLC) and soft-touch materials covering the upper surfaces of the dashboard. For sheer visual wow factor, the GLC’s interior is hard to beat, featuring plenty of ambient lighting to bathe in at night time. However, the NX feels that bit sturdier.

Infotainment systems

Mercedes GLC

Mercedes GLC touchscreen

The upright 11.9in touchscreen looks even more impressive than the NX’s, with sharper graphics, animations and quick responses to inputs. The main menu icons are a good size, and while there are quite a few lists of sub-menus to sift through, everything on screen is large and easy to read. The touch-sensitive volume bar is fiddly to use compared with the NX’s volume knob, though. Both Android and Apple phones can be integrated wirelessly.

Lexus NX

Lexus NX touchscreen

The NX’s 14.0in touchscreen looks slick and responds swiftly to inputs. Some of the icons could be larger and therefore easier to hit on the move, but the basic layout is easy enough to get to grips with. A row of shortcut keys down the right-hand side allow you to hop between the main functions quickly, while wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto are standard. The standard sound system delivers great quality and is more immersive than the GLC’s.

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