Stealthy and timeless, estate cars offer so much more than their saloon siblings can manage… well we critics say so anyway! Sadly Ireland has a very low ratio of estates to four-door saloons unlike in Europe where the ratio can be as high as 50/50 – e.g. the Ford Focus. Mercedes-Benz estates tend to deliver a longer shelf life in terms of styling and perhaps it is their rarity that accounts for this more than their resolved styling lines.
The C Class has a very impressive interior with a cabin that has a class leading dash display and layout that facilitates the latest MBUX ‘connected’ interface. A large portrait orientated touch screen is the centrepiece of a dash that looks and feels premium. There is a fingerprint scanner too that facilitates some customisation but can be a bit hit and miss to use. The ambiance is simply lovely inside. Throw in subtle backlighting and the C Class delivers a very satisfying occupant experience. The saloon C Class has a 455 litre boot whereas the estate has 490 litres. Fold the seats down and it is Ikea friendly at 1510 litres. There is plenty of room in the rear seats too with 11mmm more headroom in this generation estate. The C Estate’s size and footprint is Goldilocks so just right.
Mercedes-Benz is in transition to selling only electric vehicles from 2030 and there is no getting away from the turbo-diesel engine under our test car’s bonnet, but there is plenty of life left in fossil fuel powered Mercs and their driving range (1,000km+ from a tank) and the convenience they offer. You can order a plug n hybrid C Class the 300e in saloon and estate form for a clearer conscience. The traditional Mercedes-Benz owner remains older than the firm would like. In recent years smaller cars have helped lower its age profile a great deal. The C Class is a prime example of a model where older buyer meets young. The five seat car can be a machine for executives on the way up the corporate ladder and equally a machine for those older drivers easing away from those demands. The styling and appeal of this generation C Class is clear to see. The car is styled to target the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series hard and when you add an AMG styling kit the Mercedes-Benz C Class can really turn heads.
Our €70,776 test car is a C220d estate (from €63,965). The most expensive option is the €4,317 AMG Line interior and exterior kit. Our car sits low to the road and perhaps is not the best choice for a mature driver who wants to get the most out of their god-given hips before having to replace them. Power comes from the familiar 2-litre diesel engine from Mercedes-Benz that pushes out 200hp and develops 440nm of torque. 0-100 takes a brisk 7.4 seconds via the nine-speed automatic gearbox. Top speed is an autobahn friendly 242km/h. Average fuel consumption is quoted at 4.5-4.8 l/100km and CO2 emissions are 123g/km (WLTP) helped by a mild hybrid system. I was very impressed by how frugal the diesel could be. To have fun you need to select dynamic from the drive modes and then the C Class estate can come alive.
The C Class drives with far more spirit than the original C and even the 190 that preceded it. Years of being second or third place behind the 3 Series in terms of driving enjoyment and dynamic ability has been put to bed with a car that can be serious fun when provoked. Now before I lose the run of myself the C Class is not a hooligan, I mean it can hustle when you want it to… the realty of Mercedes-Benz driving hasn’t really changed. Once you sit in behind the wheel you seldom want to flake along, unless you are in a full AMG version, and generally are quite happy to go at the car’s own pace in smug comfort.
2.5 million C Class models have been sold since its launch in 2014 making it a key model in the line up. The C Class estate is a stealthy car that delivers in so many areas: it’s a load lugger, it’s a comfortable cruiser, it’s posh enough to mingle in society circles, it’s dynamic enough to hustle along when needed too… You’ve gotta love estates!