It is fairly easy to get in and out of the C-Class Estate - the swooping roof line might make it a little difficult for those of you with mobility problems, although the front door aperture is quite wide.
Ease of Use
It is fairly easy to get in and out of the C-Class Estate - the swooping roof line might make it a little difficult for those of you with mobility problems, although the front door aperture is quite wide. Our test car was fitted with optional leather upholstery (£1,295 on Sport models) which made moving around in the car easier than cloth and of course it looked better.
The sports front seats are comfortable and offer good lateral support and we had no complaints after spending a good 12 hours in them in one sitting.
Finding the optimum driving position was relatively easy both the front driver’s and passenger seats have an electrically adjustable height and backrest angle and manually-adjustable fore-and-aft position and seat cushion angle. We understand from Mercedes that at 290 mm, the new C-Class Estate boasts the longest longitudinal seat travel in this market segment. The steering column is adjustable for both height and reach, so it should be easy to find the ideal position for most drivers.
If you want more control or if more than one person is likely to drive the car, then there is a Memory Package (£950) available which comprises fully electric front seats, steering column and driver’s door mirror with three memory settings. Or if you want the ultimate in seating you can opt for multi-contour front seats (£310) which allow occupants to adapt the contours to suit their anatomy or personal preferences. This is made possible by separately controllable air chambers beneath the seat padding.
Generally all round vision is pretty good but rear vision is hampered by the small rear window. We also had the rear cargo net in place (keeping luggage in the boot area in the event of an accident), which makes it a little tricky to see through. Although the C-Class Estate is easy to park, we feel that rear parking sensors should be standard.
We doubt that you would be considering an estate car without wondering about the load carrying capability. Conveniently the powered tailgate opens and closes at the push of a button, to open it you either press a switch located on the interior panel of the driver's door, pull the handle above the rear number plate or press a button on the ignition key; to close it you press either a button on the inside of the tailgate or the switch in the driver's door panel.
Compared to its predecessor there has been an overall increase of 146 litres by slightly increasing the length of the car by 55mm and width by 42 mm. With the seats up there is enough space for 485 litres of luggage or 690 litres to the roof line. If you fold down the 66/33 split rear seats, you can create a virtually flat floor, which will accommodate a load 1800mm long and 1200mm wide or 1500 litres using the VDA method of measurement. This means you can carry 1500 litres of your favourite ice cream or there is enough space to carry four golf bags and their trolleys. According to Mercedes the largest cuboid that would fit in could be 943mm x 599mm x 1465 mm equates to a volume of 827 litres, or approximately two and a half washing machines.
We would recommend the optional Easy-Pack load-securing kit (£170) which allows you to partition the load compartment and to secure your luggage. It is perfect for those of you who hate their luggage shifting around, whilst driving.
We do have two criticisms - we thought that the indicator / wiper stalk is set too low below the cruise control stalk and the C-Class still features the, hated (in our opinion) umbrella / foot operated parking brake.
There are the usual creature comforts such as windscreen wipers that are automatically activated when they sense rain. The headlights can be automatically set to come on at dusk or when entering tunnels.
We would have liked to have seen Xenon headlights as standard on a car of this price; you do get a ‘projector beam’ halogen system as standard. You need to pay a £725 for Bi-Xenon headlights. For £975 on Elegance and Sport Models you can have the Intelligent Light System which includes a Country mode which illuminates the verge more broadly and brightly; Motorway mode the range of vision is increased by up to 60 per cent above 55 mph, while at 70 mph the beam of the bi-xenon module on the nearside is elevated slightly; enhanced fog lamps, activated at speeds below 40 mph when the rear fog lamp is switched on, improve driver orientation. The Bi-Xenon headlamp on the nearside is pivoted outwards by eight degrees, while lowering its beam of light at the same time which illuminates the left half of the road more brightly and reduces the degree of glare from light reflected back by the fog. Depending on the steering angle, yaw rate and vehicle speed, the active light function pivots the headlamps sideways by up to 15 degrees in fractions of a second to greatly improve road illumination. On a long sweeping bend with a radius of 190 metres, the driver is able to see 25 metres further; finally the cornering light function integrated into the fog lamps in the bumper improves safety at junctions, when turning into side roads and on tight bends.
We liked that in the illuminated glove compartment, which is fairly accommodating at 6.4 litres that there is a 12 volt power socket and an auxiliary jack for connecting an external audio device such as an MP3 player or iPod.
The interior rear mirror auto dips at night and so does the driver’s exterior mirror but for some reason not the passenger side exterior door mirror.
The two outer rear seats are equipped with ISOFIX child seat fixings, with top tether. Our BeBe Comfort child seat fitted easily and securely. There is the option of integrated child seats which fold out of the rear bench seat cushion at the push of a button, and now offer the benefit of a wraparound head restraint (£270.The C-Class Estate features Dual Climate control and although the controls are a little on the fiddly side, it works very well. It is possible to opt for a three-zone system at £470, which is the first such system to be offered in a car of thiS-Class and it allows rear seat occupants to select their own temperature settings.
Mercedes Benz C-Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz C-Class Estate 220 CDI|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||137 mph|
|Transmission||5-Speed Automatic Gearbox|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||58.9 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 02/02/09)||£29,014.67|