For the as­pir­ing C-changer

This wagon is not an SUV yet it’s grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity — go fig­ure

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER

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.

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