THE C200K Touring is impressive, and expensive. It seemed too good for a car worth $58,978, and it was. Mercedes loaded the test car with $27,827 of options, so we were really testing a $86,805 C-Class wagon.
The biggest option was the $12,786 AMG Sports Package, an expensive body kit.
There was also voice-operated satellite navigation for $4163 and the Vision Pack ($4799), which included bi-xenon headlights with cornering function, a sunroof and a mega Harman-Kardon Logic7 sound system with a beefy subwoofer.
And there was the luxury climate control at $1281, the Easy Pack Tailgate at $1070 and the $3728 18-inch AMG alloy wheels and modified suspension.
The last option, along with the body kit, makes the car look fantastic, but spoils the ride.
Make no mistake, the firmer suspension setting and bigger wheels are great fun on a smooth, twisting road. You can throw the wagon into turns with great confidence and it hangs on. It also turns in sharply and goes exactly where you point it.
But if the road is anything but marble smooth, your kidneys will take a hit as the suspension passes on every single lump, bump or ripple in the road.
The roads we drove it on were far from perfect and the C200K spent the week jolting the driver and passengers, which made it fairly easy to hand the keys back.
That said, given how nice a standard C-Class sedan is to drive, a C200K Estate without the harsh suspension will probably be far better than its BMW 3 Series rival.
It has lots of space in the rear seats and the cargo area is big enough for most loads with the seats in place. Fold them down and it takes large items, including a mountain bike, with ease.
So steer clear of all the options except for the Easy Pack tailgate.
Returning to your car with bags of shopping and opening the tailgate with the key fob is nice, especially when it’s raining.
You don’t have to put your shopping down and, apart from anything else, it will probably impress your friends.
The wagon’s engine is adequate but no fireball. It’s not the smoothest powerplant at idle and the five-speed automatic is adequate.
THE BOTTOM LINE
THE standard model is a nice alternative to a prestige crossover wagon, but the fully loaded test car is overpriced and the suspension too harsh.