Mercedes C-Class estate (2008-2014)

"The revised Mercedes C-Class estate marks a big step forward in quality, and the new engines offer a class-leading blend of performance and economy."

Carbuyer Rating

3.9 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Efficient engines
  • Classy, solid interior
  • Comfortable on the motorway

Cons

  • Not as practical as rivals
  • Smaller engines feel underpowered
  • Quite expensive

Mercedes knew there was room for improvement with the C-Class, and the latest estate doesn’t disappoint. The interior has been redesigned, with higher-quality materials, a more attractive dash and a slick integrated media screen. Changes outside are more subtle, and include new bumpers and lights. It’s still not the most spacious estate, but with a clean new range of direct-injection petrol and diesel engines, all featuring stop-start technology, it’s one of the most efficient premium models on the market. It’s as comfortable as the C-Class saloon, too, plus has the same wide range of options.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Efficient engines slash running costs

All the engines in the range are more fuel efficient than in the previous car, particularly the clean-burning petrols, which all have direct injection. The 3.5-litre V6 boasts an extra 34bhp, but fuel economy has been improved by 31 per cent, too. All models come with stop-start as standard to reduce emissions.

This helps keep day-to-day running costs quite low, although parts, servicing and insurance bills will be above average, as on most cars in this class.

Engines, drive & performance

Automatic gearbox makes for a relaxing drive

The new C-Class Estate has a relaxed, quiet character when fitted with the larger V6 engines, and the suspension is biased towards comfort rather than cornering. There’s plenty of grip, but the car is less engaging than BMW’s 3 Series Touring. All the engines have been updated for stronger performance and economy.

We’d go for the C220 CDI: it offers 168bhp and does 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds, but has tax-friendly emissions of 128g/km. The optional seven-speed auto box is a must. Its seamless shifts suit the Estate’s character, although it can be hesitant to change when driving fast.

Interior & comfort

One of the most comfortable cars in its class

Some of the effortless luxury of the bigger S-Class is captured in the refined, comfortable C-Class Estate, although Sport models have a harder ride, due to their stiffer suspension and bigger alloy wheels. The C-Class is also very quiet, with only the smaller diesels sounding a little coarse when pushed.

There’s lots of passenger space inside, but while the driver’s seat has plenty of adjustment, the rear seats are surprisingly firm – which is a real downside on longer trips.

Practicality & boot space

Clever boot makes up for limited size

This isn’t the biggest estate around. With the seats up, the C-Class has 485 litres of space – less than an Audi A4 Avant – although that rises to an impressive 1,500 litres with them folded. All cars have an electric tailgate, plus storage rails and hooks to stop loose bags from moving around. The fixed parcel shelf can make folding the seats tricky, however. Rear legroom is decent, although passengers may find the firm back seats uncomfortable on longer journeys.

Reliability & safety

Updated model continues to improve Mercedes’ reputation

The previous C-Class was a big step forward in terms of reliability, and there have been few major problems with the 1.2 million-plus cars sold worldwide. This new model has moved on even further in terms of build quality, plus it’s safer than ever, with 10 new passive and active safety systems on board. These include a pedestrian-friendly pop-up bonnet and attention assistance as standard, while Pre-Safe emergency braking, active lane keeping, blind spot assistance and speed limit assist feature on the options list.

Price, value for money & options

More expensive than rivals, but well equipped

There are three trims, and all are generously equipped. The entry-level SE has alloy wheels, cruise control, climate control, parking sensors and a leather multifunction steering wheel. The luxurious Elegance adds chrome trim, LED running lights and a storage pack for just over £1,000 extra, while the top-spec Sport gets xenon headlights, sports suspension and seats, steel pedals and steering wheel paddles for the auto box. The C-Class is more costly to buy than its premium rivals but, as before, should retain its value well.

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Recommended

Top 10 best estate cars 2024
Best estate cars 2024
Best cars
8 Feb 2024

Top 10 best estate cars 2024

Top 10 best fast estate cars
Best fast estate cars
Best cars
12 Jan 2024

Top 10 best fast estate cars

Most Popular

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
octavia vrs hot deal
Deals
19 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month
cupra ateca
Deals
16 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong
KGM Torres front quarter
News
19 Feb 2024

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024