The C-Class Estate is priced to compete with the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring, and offers similar leasing costs, but comes better equipped. Manual versions are slightly more economical than autos, but all are very competitive for fuel economy and emissions, attracting low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax for company car owners. With a remarkably low CO2 rating, the C350e petrol hybrid also promises to be popular with company drivers as it falls into the lowest possible BIK bracket. While Mercedes claims similar economy figures for the 200d and 220d, our True MPG tests showed the 220d to be quite a bit thirstier than its less powerful brother.
Cash buyers should benefit from strong residual values, but servicing costs are significantly higher than for its rivals from Audi and BMW.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate equipment
You’ll get a reversing camera, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, electrically adjustable front seats in artificial leather, DAB radio, 20-disc CD changer, 7.0in infotainment screen, 40:20:40-splitting and folding rear seats and electric tailgate and luggage cover all as standard on entry-level SE trim. To this generous specification, mid-range Sport trim - our preferred choice - adds a Garmin sat-nav, front seat heating and a self-parking system. AMG Line’s additions are mainly cosmetic, with special styling accents inside and outside for a sportier look.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate reliability
We’re yet to poll customer satisfaction for the current C-Class Estate, but the previous generation proved above average when it came to reliability, which is a good indicator that it will also fare well, and any niggles with the long-serving diesel engines should have been ironed out a long time ago. There’s a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which matches BMW and beats Audi’s offering.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate safety & security
Safety is another strong suit for the C-Class Estate; even entry-level models are equipped with a collision-prevention auto-braking system, seven airbags, drowsiness detector, pedestrian impact mitigation and tyre pressure monitoring. It won five out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing.
The car also rates highly for security - its standard-fit alarm and immobiliser helped it score the full five stars for theft resistance and a commendable four out of five for break-in resistance.
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There’s a healthy level of equipment as standard even on the base level C-Class Estate. Some of these are key items to make life with a wagon easier, such as an electrically powered tailgate, a motorised load bay cover that raises when the boot opens, rear seats that split and fold 40:20:40 and a reversing camera. Other highlights include DAB radio, climate control, cruise control, (man-made) leather upholstery, electric height, backrest and lumbar support in the front seats and a collision warning system that adds brake pressure in extreme situations.
Our pick Sport
In addition to the generous kit list on SE trim, Sport brings luxuries such as sports seats (heated in the front), LED headlamps, front parking sensors and parking assistance that helps manoeuvre you into spaces. There are also 17in alloy wheels, and the C350e Sport also gets the highly recommendable, comfort-enhancing air suspension as standard. Sport models also include sat-nav in the form of a fairly basic Garmin system - upgraded navigation is part of the pricey but extensive Premium Plus technology pack. Suspension is lowered by 15mm but tuned for comfort rather than performance.
Building on Sport trim, AMG Line brings 18in alloys, aggressive styling touches at the nose, tail and sideskirts, and interior touches to include special seats, pedals and steering wheel. The brakes are upgraded, too, and the suspension again sits 15mm lower than on SE models, but with a firmer set-up than for Sport variants. Overall, unless the cosmetic touches ring your bell, you’re better off choosing Sport.
The Mercedes-AMG C 43 and extreme C63 and C63 S get large alloy wheels as standard, plus a full AMG bodykit, AMG sports seats, a flat-bottomed performance steering wheel and nappa leather upholstery. Of course, these performance versions also get a whole host of mechanical upgrades over cheaper C-Classes.