Which used Mercedes C-Class estate should I buy?
Cars with the manual gearbox will be significantly cheaper, but spend more to get an automatic if you can. They're smooth to drive (the manuals are notchy), make the foot-operated parking brake less of a hassle and will hold their value better.
We'd choose a C180K ('K' for Kompressor, meaning supercharged in German), with Classic or Classic SE trim. It offers the best value: enough performance for most needs, decent fuel economy, and it's the cheapest to buy.
The C200 CDI and C220 CDI turbodiesels are refined and frugal, but you'll need to stump up a fair bit more to get the keys.
The C200K, C230K and C240 petrols are strong, too, while the bigger-engined versions (C280, C320 and C350 petrols and C320 CDI diesel) are swift and sweet if you've got enough cash to run them. There's also the ultimate C-class, the high-performance C55 AMG: bruising in every sense.
Classic is the basic trim, rising through Elegance and Avantgarde to top-trim Sport. 'SE' denotes extra kit on each level.