Mercedes C-class Estate
Saloon is our favourite compact exec. Is load-lugger as good?
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”