Mercedes C-class Es­tate

Saloon is our favourite com­pact exec. Is load-lug­ger as good?

Auto Express - - Contents - James Brodie James_brodie@den­nis.co.uk @jim­my­brods

IN Is­sue 1,531 we named the facelifted Mercedes C-class saloon as the Best Ex­ec­u­tive Car at the 2018 Auto Ex­press New Car Awards.

Now we’ve driven the re­vised Es­tate ver­sion for the very first time. Al­though it plays sec­ond fid­dle to the four-door from a pop­u­lar­ity per­spec­tive, the wagon is still a hugely im­por­tant mem­ber of the C-class team, and a rea­son why the model found its way into the top 10 best-sell­ing cars in the UK in 2017.

Mercedes’ fo­cus with this re­vamp isn’t all cos­metic, ei­ther. De­sign changes are few and far be­tween, in fact, with the recog­nis­able up­dates lim­ited to a set of new lights and bumpers. In­stead, the tech and in­fo­tain­ment grab the head­lines, along­side im­proved en­gines.

We’ve al­ready sam­pled the all-new 1.5-litre 48-volt mild-hy­brid petrol unit in the C 200, but that’s not the only fresh en­gine in the C-class range. A new diesel ar­rives, too, with the mar­que’s lat­est 2.0-litre straight from the E-class.

It’s an en­gine that we’ve long been wait­ing for. The C 220 d has been the best-sell­ing C-class model for some time, but the old 2.1-litre mo­tor was far from per­fect. It was al­ways a lit­tle gruff, and its lim­ited torque re­serves meant it felt stretched on the mo­tor­way. The newer en­gine has largely ad­dressed these prob­lems in the E-class, so now it’s time to test it in the smaller C-class.

Per­for­mance has cer­tainly im­proved. The 0-62mph dash takes seven sec­onds, while the size­able 400Nm of torque is prob­a­bly all you’ll ever need in every­day driv­ing. It’s de­liv­ered in a smooth, lin­ear fash­ion, with the nine-speed au­to­matic gear­box feed­ing power to the car’s rear wheels, shift­ing through its cogs with min­i­mal fuss. As ever, se­lectable driv­ing modes let you change how re­spon­sive the car feels, ac­cord­ing to your mood.

It’s more re­fined, too, al­though not by as much as you might hope. Its im­pact doesn’t feel as great as it does in the E-class, seem­ing a lit­tle less hushed. It’s an im­prove­ment, but the C 220 d still isn’t as quiet as it could be.

Claimed fuel econ­omy of 58.9mpg is de­cent, mean­ing this is the pick of the C-class range for driv­ers who rack up the miles. Just be care­ful of your choice of wheels; the 19-inch rims on our test car push CO2 up to 132g/km, adding £310 to your first-year tax bill over the same

“The wagon is still a hugely im­por­tant mem­ber of the Mercedes C-class team” “The size­able 400Nm of torque is prob­a­bly all you’ll ever need in every­day driv­ing”

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