For the aspiring C-changer
This wagon is not an SUV yet it’s growing in popularity — go figure
THE new load lugger in the compact Benz family has just gone public.
The C-Class Estate is revealed with a predictably smooth and well-shaped body, and a flexible luggage space that includes a 40-20-40 split-fold rear seat for the first time.
The anti-SUV in the range sells to about 500 Australian families each year and Mercedes-Benz tips similar sales when the new model arrives in November, even though it now has the compact GLA and the coming GLK on the SUV front.
“An Estate buyer is someone who doesn’t want a traditional SUV. It’s not irrelevant. Absolutely not,” says Mercedes-Benz spokesman David McCarthy.
“Sales of the C-Class Estate have risen steadily over the last seven years. If we were lucky we used to sell a couple of hundred a year and now we’re doing upwards of 500.”
The Estate plan is for two petrol and two diesel engines, plus the thumper AMG C63 version. The price should reflect the premium over the sedan, about $3000. McCarthy says: “The overwhelming reason people buy an Estate is because they want the practicality,” adding that buyers should find extra space and greater practicality in the new wagon.
“There are some extra rearend options. There is an electric tailgate and the new split-fold system means it is a four-seater, not a three-seater, if someone is carrying skis or a surfboard.”
SUVs dominate local roads but, he says, “There are still people in Australia who want an Estate. Wagons are (from movies) about the Wild West and there is nothing wild about our Estate. Unless you’re talking about the C63, of course.”
The C-Class rollout begins with the arrival in August of the sedan, followed by the Estate in November, then the Coupe in about a year. The AMG C63 cars arrive in the first quarter of next year.