Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate measures up in class space race

Elegant Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate boasts class-leading space and improved versatility.

Elegant Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate boasts class-leading space and improved versatility. - Credit: Daimler AG - Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars

Following on from the new C-Class saloon, this estate variant boasts more space, technology and refinement than its predecessor, says Iain Dooley, of the Press Association.

What's new?

Converting a saloon into an estate car is a little more difficult than just bolting a box on the back. This Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate presents an elegant, streamlined profile while boasting class-leading space and improved versatility over the car it replaces.

Away from the car's ample rear, it offers the same high-quality ownership experience as the saloon. The result is something akin to that of a scaled-down S-Class, what with the plush cabin, high-quality materials, the wide range of clever entertainment and safety kit available and an obvious bias towards ride comfort and refinement.

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Looks and image

It's not just you thinking that the new C-Class looks like a mini S-Class. The former's curvaceous exterior blends sweeping lines with a wide, purposeful stance – just like its much bigger brother. UK buyers might mourn the absence of the traditional three-pointed star on the bonnet in favour of Mercedes' more contemporary alternative, but the overall result is a graceful-looking compact executive estate.

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Space and practicality

You want space? You've got plenty of space with the C-Class Estate. Mercedes bosses are boasting of a class-busting 1,510 litres with the rear seats down and 490 litres with the seats up. Furthermore, they split in a more practical 40/20/40 arrangement. A powered tailgate and rails to keep your belongings from crashing around in the boot all help boost the car's practicality. Up front there's ample room for occupants plus there's a good level of oddment space for busy families.

Behind the wheel

With its clear bias towards comfort and refinement, the C-Class Estate offers a plush cabin, low levels of wind and road noise plus a polished ride capable of dealing with the worst roads you can find. Perfect for company executives and private owners racking up the miles, the core C-Class range has a major diesel slant. The likely best-selling C220 diesel is complimented by the more powerful C250 model tested here.

In this 204hp guise the car offers brisk performance while the standard fit seven-speed automatic gearbox does much to take the edge of stop-start commuting and contribute towards supermini levels of fuel economy and emissions. Refinement is also a notch above the 220 oil-burner as the extra 30-odd horsepower ensure you're not having to push it as hard. Overall it's a smooth operator, and the first-in-class option of air suspension makes sure the car remains composed whatever you throw in the back.

Value for money

Mercedes is a premium brand for a reason – its cars boast an above-average cabin ambience, while more recently the firm has focused increasingly on developing hi-tech intelligent safety systems. This all costs money, but even the low-spec C-Class models look good in the metal. Furthermore, all cars are surprisingly economical – the diesels especially so – allowing you to make genuine savings all year round.

Who would buy one?

If you're the type keen to mix refinement with practicality, a premium-spec estate car like the C-Class would be a smart choice. Especially so if you're not a fan of bulky people-carriers or don't need the go-anyway attributes of a lofty 4x4. Despite its carrying capabilities, the C-Class estate retains a relatively modest footprint, allowing you to easily navigate supermarket car parks.

This car summed up in a single word – elegant.

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