The small new Mercedes-Benz GLK350 SUV is just the thing for a lousy economy, with technology necessities such as Bluetooth included standard, and a base price that undercuts the BMW X3 by $5,000. The GLK gives Mercedes-Benz a competitor in the fast-growing compact, or entry-premium, SUV segment. The GLK stands out with its navigation system, wide range of entertainment options, and the ability to omit all-wheel-drive and save $2,000. You can drive off in a reasonably equipped GLK350 for less than $40,000. Mercedes-Benz GLK350 Slideshow: Click Here In a test drive in and around Santa Barbara, Calif., the GLK350 with its 268-hp V6 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission was a pleasant vehicle to drive no matter how twisty the back road. Actually, Santa Barbara makes it pleasant to be driving in most any vehicle with a valid inspection sticker. But the GLK is really at home anywhere as a comfortable place for four to travel around town or cross country and be nicely entertained while under way. Mercedes-Benz is also doing its best to undermine the longstanding reputation of German automakers for sticking us with lousy navigation systems by reaching out to Mitsubishi for a very nice navigation system that uses both the Comand controller (their version of iDrive) and voice input. This system debuted in 2007 on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and was rated third best among 79 vehicles in the 2008 J.D. Power Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study. The GLK-Class SUV is based on the C-Class chassis and shares common traits ranging from the navigation system to the cramped location of the Comand controller on the center console (and hard for the passenger to access if bottles are in the cupholders) and the placement of the Comand function buttons (radio, navigation, phone) on the center stack rather than next to the controller.