Mercedes C-Class estate
Price £28,470 - £70,340
- Comfortable suspension
- Big boot and practical interior
- Luxurious cabin
- Diesel engines can be noisy
- BMW 3 Series Touring is better to drive
- Air suspension bumpy at low speeds
At a glance
"The Mercedes C-Class estate is a stylish, comfortable and practical family car."
The Mercedes C-Class estate is a more practical version of the C-Class saloon, offering buyers a 1,510-litre boot with the rear seats folded flat. The newest version of the estate was launched in the summer of 2014 and enters a class that already contains cars like the Audi A4 Avant and brilliant BMW 3 Series Touring.
The new C-Class benefits from a stylish design, a good range of economical engines and all the gadgets and luxury you would expect from a Mercedes. The car feels refined and comfortable – the only way in which it's truly beaten by a rival is in terms of handling, where the BMW 3 Series Touring really shines.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Diesel engines offer cheap running costs, but the Mercedes C-Class Hybrid is best of all
The most economical diesel model in the Mercedes C-Class estate line-up is the C220 BlueTec, which will do 65.7mpg and emit 108g/km of CO2 for an annual road tax bill of £20. By way of comparison, the most economical BMW 3 Series Touring is the 320d, which claims an identical 65.7mpg and slightly higher CO2 emissions of 112g/km.
For the more powerful diesel C-Class estate, the C250 BlueTEC, economy and emissions figures slip slightly to 62.7mpg and 117g/km of CO2. The cheapest and least powerful diesel C180 and C200 BlueTEC models, which use 1.6-litre diesel engines, are actually less efficient than the two models mentioned above – but are cheaper to buy.
The C300 BlueTEC Hybrid is the most frugal model in the entire range, capable of 74mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km for free car tax.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mercedes C-Class estate is quick but a BMW 3 Series is more fun
The most powerful diesel model, the Mercedes C250 BlueTEC, has 201bhp and will go from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, while the C220 is only slightly slower at 7.6 seconds. The 2.1-litre diesel engine in both these cars (it has been tweaked for more power in the C250) makes the C-Class estate quick but is also noisy when driven quickly.
The optional air suspension makes the ride more comfortable for motorway cruising but leaving it in ‘comfort’ mode will cause the car to lean in corners. The ‘sport’ setting helps this to an extent, but the AMG Line model with lowered sports suspension is the right choice for buyers wanting the best cornering performance. The air suspension package isn’t available on entry-level SE models, meaning buyers have to make do with the standard comfort suspension, which isn’t as comfortable as the air suspension on the motorway or as good through corners as the lowered suspension setups on the Sport and AMG Line cars.
If it’s a comfortable drive you’re after then the C-Class estate is hard to beat. However, while Mercedes has quick steering for a relatively sporty feel, when you drive it briskly the difference in involvement and feedback is noticeably inferior to the BMW 3 Series Touring.
Interior & comfort
As you'd expect, the Mercedes C-Class estate comes with a classy, upmarket interior
As with the saloon, the interior is a highlight of the Mercedes C-Class estate. Even basic models get high-quality gloss black surfaces, with satin chrome highlights. But as you move up the price brackets, you’ll get more classy trim options, and AMG Line cars even get a stylish imitation leather dashboard.
A colour screen in the centre of the dashboard plus another colour screen behind the steering wheel help give it a hi-tech feel, along with a clever touchpad that allows you to input commands like you would on a smartphone.
Just how comfortable the C-Class estate is depends on the suspension setup you choose. Entry-level models come with standard Comfort suspension, which isn't adjustable but does seem to deal with big ridges and holes well. Then there’s the slightly firmer Sport setup in higher-spec cars, which has been designed for drivers who prioritise better handling over a softer ride.
The optional air suspension gives a very smooth ride on the motorway and over small bumps, but can cause a sharp jolt over potholes. It comes with different modes to enable drivers to choose between a soft ride or a sportier setup depending on how they want the car to respond.
One gripe with the car would be in terms of refinement, as the diesel engines get noisy when worked hard. Of course, this can be avoided if you go for the C200 petrol engine – the only petrol engine available from launch.
Practicality & boot space
The Mercedes C-Class estate boasts a large and practical boot
The new Mercedes C-Class estate is longer between the front and rear wheels than the outgoing model, meaning legroom is improved for rear passengers. A reversing camera comes as standard with the Sport and AMG Line trim levels, which is particularly helpful given the extra rear bulk of an estate car.
Boot size is good compared to the other main rivals in this class. The C-Class estate has 490 litres of space with the rear seats up – the Audi A4 Avant has the same, while the BMW 3 Series Touring has five litres more. With the rear seats folded flat, the Mercedes has 1,510 litres of space, beating the 1,500 litres of the BMW and the 1,430 litres of the Audi.
Not only is the boot big but it’s very practical too, with an electronic tailgate as standard, as well as rear seats that fold 40:20:40 at the touch of a button. You can also select the optional hands-free boot, a system that allows you to open the boot by waving your foot under the rear bumper – particularly useful if your hands are full or you have the key in your pocket.
Reliability & safety
Plenty of safety technology comes as standard on every Mercedes C-Class estate
Mercedes has an excellent reputation for quality and that was evident in its ninth-place finish in the 2014 Driver Power survey. Mercedes scored highly in most categories, including reliability and build quality, and we expect the new C-Class estate to maintain this standard. Most of the cars sold will use the 2.1-litre diesel engine that has been tried and tested extensively in other Mercedes models.
The new C-Class estate has yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP but the saloon scored very highly and we expect the estate to do similarly well. The car comes with seven airbags as standard, as well as traction control, drowsiness detection and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Optional safety features include autonomous braking, lane-keep assistant and a system that can call the emergency services to your location if you’re involved in an accident.
Price, value for money & options
All Mercedes C-Class estate models come with lots of hi-tech equipment
Compare it with the BMW 3 Series Touring and the C-Class estate is an almost perfect match on both price and spec. As standard it comes fitted with faux-leather seats, a reversing camera and a powered tailgate.
If you upgrade to Sport you get 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, sat-nav and some more chrome exterior highlights. But it's the AMG Line cars that are the ones to buy if you favour style above all else. They get big 18-inch wheels – 19-inch wheels are an option – and a sporty bodykit.
A couple of good value option packs are available, too, bringing together a couple of choice extras. The Executive Pack adds an upgraded sat-nav and heated front seats, while the Premium Pack gets classy interior lighting and electric front seats.