Cost & verdict

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate review

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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate
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13 Sep 2016 10:43 | Last updated: 10 Oct 2018 14:01

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate running costs

The C-Class is one of the most expensive premium estate cars you can buy; like for like, it’s costlier than an Audi A4 Avant and Volvo V60. What’s more, these high prices mean high P11D values; combined with CO2 emissions figures that are no better than those of its most efficient rivals, this means the C-Class is actually quite expensive in terms of benefit-in-kind tax for company car drivers.

That said, the diesel-hybrid C300de will make are more compelling company car choice when it arrives mid-2019. Thanks to its diesel engine twined with an electric motor and a battery big enough for a claimed 30 miles of electric-only range, its average CO2 emissions drop to a tax-beating 42g/km.

Diesel models’ fuel economy figures are impressive, although they don’t quite match the class best; petrol versions, meanwhile, are way off the pace. Fortunately, if you buy a C-Class instead of leasing it, resale values will be relatively strong.

Don’t expect the high-performance C43 to be cheap to run; fuel, insurance and servicing costs will all be decidedly hefty.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate equipment

Even entry-level SE models get a worthwhile specification, including 16in alloy wheels, sat-nav, man-made (Artico) leather seats, climate control, cruise control and a rear-view camera. However, we’d definitely recommend adding Airmatic air suspension to smooth the ride.

Sport adds larger, 17in alloy wheels, full LED headlights, flashier interior trim, heated front sports seats and front and rear parking sensors. This trim also gives you the option to add the Premium and Premium Plus packs, but they are pricey.

You can pay even more by going for AMG Line trim, but we don’t think the extra (mainly cosmetic) kit is worth the additional cost.

The C43 gets larger alloy wheels as standard, plus a full AMG bodykit, AMG sports seats, a flat-bottomed performance steering wheel and nappa leather upholstery.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate reliability

Mercedes-Benz came in at 26th place out of the 31 manufacturers sampled in our most recent reliability survey - above Jaguar but below Audi, BMW and Volvo. The C-Class itself didn't do too well, either, proving to have more faults on average than a 3 Series or Audi A4.

You get a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and three years of breakdown cover. That’s similar to what most rivals offer.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate safety and security

All C-Class models get a collision prevention system that can automatically apply the brakes to help stop you from running into the back of the vehicle in front. There’s also a tyre pressure monitoring system to alert you if you have a slow puncture. All models get multiple airbags and a system that can detect if you’re getting drowsy on a long journey.

This all helped the C-Class score impressive marks in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2014. It was awarded the maximum five-star overall rating, along with good scores across the board in the individual categories; its 92% adult occupancy protection rating is better than what the A4 achieved, for instance, although its child occupancy protection score of 84% is slightly lower than the A4’s rating.

An alarm and engine immobiliser are standard on all versions, while security expert Thatcham awarded the C-Class five out of five for resisting theft and four out of five for resisting being broken into.

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The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate offers plenty of style and badge presence, but there are bigger, more practical and cheaper premium alternatives, such as the Audi A4 Avant and Volvo V60, which deliver better all-round packages.

  • Smart-looking interior
  • Good safety scores and equipment
  • Lots of engine choice
  • Expensive to buy
  • Doesn't steer or handle as well as the class best
  • Not the most practical or roomy estate
There are 5 trims available for the C-Class estate. Click to see details.See all versions
Entry-level trim is well equipped, with sat-nav, cruise control, climate control, heated front seats, artificial leather seats and automatic headlights and wipers all standard. As a result, it’s th...View trim
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AMG Line
Based on Sport, this trim brings stiffer suspension, even sportier seats, more aggressive bodystyling and even larger wheels. You also get some smart open-grain wood inserts that rather lift the in...View trim
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