A Class of its own
Mercedes C Class Estate
It’s not entirely out with the old and in with the new at Mercedes, as they have held on to their traditional values by offering cars that still appeal to the more mature buyer.
But over the last few years, the Mercedes brand has opened up its portfolio and enticed a new breed of younger buyer to the brand.
Cars like the A-Class and B-Class have given the German brand a new direction, and the CLA is a firm favourite of Motormouths, especially the new CLA Shooting Brake, which is the finest looking estate on the road.
And estates have been an area that Mercedes has been very strong in, with the C-Class and E-Class estates proving a popular choice among Irish buyers. Our recent test was the new C-Class estate, and it’s a car that will appeal to both young and old, with two faces offered to suit the age profile.
The sporty Merc badge in the grille gives the C-Class a stylish look that the more youthful buyer will be drawn to and the bonnet badge that has long been the signature of the Mercedes brand sits proudly for those who appreciate the more distinct look.
We’ve reviewed the saloon version of the new C-Class and both agree that it has improved significantly – it’s now a real match for rivals from Audi and BMW. The new estate is a good-looking machine also, although, in this case we still prefer the saloon.
One of the question marks over the last C-Class estate was that it didn’t provide enough boot space, as cars like the 308SW and even the Kia c’eed Sportswagon trumped the C-Class for load volume.
The new C-Class now has more space, but it’s only five more litres than its predecessor at 490 litres.
So, Mercedes is hoping that the stylish new look, refinement and upmarket interior will be a bigger draw than out-and-out luggage space. If you really wanted acres of space, the E-Class estate is a better option, if just a little more expensive.
The new C-Class estate is a good-looking car, and the curves of its saloon sibling aren’t totally lost in estate guise. Design cues have been taken from the flagship S-Class model, which helps the C-Class feel really upmarket.
The new interior is plush and, along with Audi, is one of the finest cabins you’ll find yourself in. BMW needs to up its game if it is to keep in touch with the refined interior of the other German manufacturers.
Apart from the extra five litres of luggage space, the new C-Class estate feels light and airy inside, and all five adults can be seated comfortably. There’s plenty of leg and head room for everyone and long journeys are made in comfort.
We tested the C200 CDi 2.2-litre diesel, which we have done on many occasions in other Mercedes products, and while it isn’t the most enthralling to drive, it is very refined with a decent amount of performance. The economy is very good, but we’d like to see the new 1.6 diesel that Mercedes has in its armoury. It would be a great addition to the C-Class and provide even better running costs.
The C-Class estate doesn’t feel awkward on the road and it’s a great cruising machine. You find yourself eating up the kilometres with ease. Get it on the back roads and it feels competent. The one thing we found was that the steering is a little vague. Putting it in Sport setting helps, but it just lacks a little feel that you’d get in a BMW 3-Series or Audi A4.
If you are after an estate and you find yourself in a Mercedes showroom, we’d be more tempted by the Shooting Brake, as it is a thing of beauty – and more than €10k less, but the C-Class has improved, and although the boot space isn’t class leading it is still a decent premium estate to match most rivals.
- Paul Keown and Robbie Farrell