ENGINES – Ignore a car’s badge as, increasingly, it bears little resemblance to engine capacity. The rise in use of turbochargers for petrol motors and the one engine-multiple outputs policy for diesels makes it harder to compare. That said, the latter choice continues to reign supreme for long distance motoring.
EXTERIOR – Low key and classy, the car’s exterior is one of its many strong points. The transition from saloon to estate has been a successful one, with this car’s profile an elegant one but one doesn’t hamper its practical aspirations.
INTERIOR – In keeping with many premium-class cars, this C-Class boasts a dark interior full of good quality materials. Although the ambience is a sombre one, space and practicality are highpoints – especially at the rear thanks to a flat and versatile load space.
DRIVING – A more engaging car than past versions, this C-Class is easily a contender for best all-rounder in a market populated by performance car wannabes and softly sprung mini limousines. The forced induction petrol motors are impressive and the diesels prove surprisingly quiet. Key to the car’s ability to impress is the way it never feels overwhelmed regardless of what’s loaded in the back.
OWNERSHIP – In common with all compact premium estate cars, once you’ve mastered reverse parking you’re set for life. Inside that box is a practical loadspace, while the cabin is equally accommodating for adults. Pick the right engine and fuel consumption doesn’t have to be an issue, either.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Don’t fear high mileage company cars so long as they come with plenty of paperwork, as the actual miles travelled doesn’t have to be an issue. Whoever owned the car previously, its overall state should be above average. Parking dents, kerbed wheels plus fabric and trim blemishes should be minimal at best. Crucial for an estate car is the condition of the load bay. If it’s damaged it’s wise to walk away and there’s no shortage of choice in this market.
2008: Mercedes introduces the estate version of its latest C-Class variant. Understated exterior design is matched by solid build quality, modest standard kit levels and a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines. Default manual transmission joined by optional auto, while performance AMG model mirrors the performance of its saloon relative.
REASONS TO BUY – brand image, build quality, load space, versatility
REASONS TO BEWARE – understated looks, modest default kit levels, small capacity petrol variants, hard-worked load luggers
PICK OF THE RANGE – C220 CDI SE auto
WHAT TO PAY
2008 08 13,080
2008 58 13,310
2009 09 14,225
2009 59 14,670
Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.