Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate full 9 point review
The C220 Bluetec diesel is a swift performer; it’s gutsy from low revs and doesn’t run out of puff beyond 4000rpm, as some diesels do. The C250 Bluetec has a little more shove at medium revs, but it’s not enough to warrant the extra it costs to buy. At the bottom of the diesel rung is the C200 Bluetec – it’s relatively slow and you have to work the engine hard to get anywhere briskly. You have to keep the revs up in the C200 petrol, too, but it feels fast enough when you do.
Ride & Handling
When fitted with the optional Airmatic suspension, the C-Class Estate is a seriously comfortable motorway cruiser. Things can become a little crashy around town, however, especially over potholes. Switch this suspension to ‘Sport’ and body control is impressive, to the point where you can hustle the C-Class along surprisingly quickly. There are several standard suspension set-ups (depending on trim level), but none of these delivers a particularly settled ride or agile handling.
The diesel engines are gruff and transmit too much vibration into the cabin, while the C200 petrol is pretty coarse by modern standards. The C-Class doesn’t shut out wind noise as well as the best upmarket estate cars, either – particularly versions equipped with the optional panoramic glass roof. There’s also plenty of road noise on the motorway.
Buying & Owning
The C-Class Estate is more expensive to buy than its closest rival, the BMW 3 Series Touring. Stick with a manual gearbox and the Mercedes has impressively low CO2 emissions, but the more popular automatic models pump out more CO2, so aren’t quite as attractive to company car drivers. Resale values are predicted to be relatively strong, however, which helps keep leasing costs down and makes the C-Class Estate worth considering as a private buy.
Quality & Reliability
Few cars in the class have an interior as plush as the C-Class’s. It all looks and feels better than what you’ll find in a BMW 3 Series Touring, and most of the buttons and controls feel reassuringly solid. Classiest of all are the AMG Line versions, whose dashboards are wrapped in man-made leather. This generation of C-Class was too new to feature in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey, but the previous model scored above-average marks for reliability.
Safety & Security
Every model has a system that’ll automatically apply the brakes to help prevent you running into the vehicle in front. There are seven airbags on hand to protect you if an accident can’t be avoided, which helps explain why the C-Class (albeit in saloon form) scored impressive marks in its Euro NCAP crash test. An engine immobiliser and an alarm help protect your car from thieves.
Behind The Wheel
Plenty of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel mean that even particularly tall drivers will be able to get settled. Visibility is pretty good, too. A seven-inch touch-screen system is standard, which can be controlled via a dial or a touchpad between the front seats. Its menus aren’t the most intuitive, though, and the touchpad can be tricky to use while driving.
Space & Practicality
There’s loads of legroom up front, and even models with the optional panoramic glass roof have plenty of headroom for front-seat occupants. This roof does cut headroom slightly for those sitting in the rear seats, but there’s still enough for six-footers. The boot isn’t huge, but there’s enough room for a family’s holiday baggage, and the load bay is a practical square shape. Folding the rear seats is a doddle; simply pull a lever and the seatbacks drop automatically, lying virtually flat.
Even entry-level SE models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, man-made leather seats, climate and cruise controls, a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers, a DAB radio and a powered tailgate as standard. We’d still upgrade to Sport trim, though, which gets 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, heated front sports seats, flashier interior trim, lower suspension, and split-folding rear seats. The top-of-the-range AMG Line cars come with 18-inch alloys and an AMG bodykit.