The C-Class Estate is quiet, comfortable and won’t cost the earth to run but you couldn’t exactly call it fun…
You can get the C-Class Estate with two petrol and two diesel engines. It’s also offered with a hybrid drive system in C300h and C350e guise and can be had with 4Matic four-wheel drive, too.
Pick a C200 model If you spend most time driving around town. Its 2.0-litre 184hp petrol engine will return around 40mpg and it feels noticeably smoother than both diesel versions.
The 170hp C220d diesel will return around 50mpg and is your best bet if you’re looking for a quiet motorway cruiser. Unfortunately, it rattles like an errant pound coin in a washing machine when you accelerate hard.
The optional air suspension is so comfortable it might just send you to sleep – thankfully, the C-Class Estate comes with so much safety kit it can almost drive itself
More powerful C250d models feel faster but they’re no smoother and will use slightly more fuel. They are, however, offered with Mercedes 4Matic four-wheel-drive system for a little extra grip in slippery conditions. Don’t think this £1,600 option turns your smart estate into a mini monster truck – it’ll still be flummoxed by anything more challenging than a slightly muddy field.
The most efficient models are the C300h and C350e hybrids. The former can return around 55mpg while the latter can cruise along in electric-only mode for as many as 19 miles. Both are significantly more expensive to buy than conventional petrol or diesel versions but they’ll be noticeably cheaper to run. The C350e model is even exempt from the London Congestion Charge – ideal if you live or work in the Capital.
A £1,600 nine-speed automatic gearbox is available on all but C200d models and, in a car as relaxing as the C-Class – it’s basically an essential.
The C-Class Estate is fairly relaxing to drive thanks to its light controls and quiet cabin. Unfortunately, visibility is hampered by a thick pillar where the windscreen meets the front doors that produces large blind spots at junctions.
All models come with a handy reversing camera as standard but, for a little extra peace of mind, pick an SE Executive Edition model or above – they come with a self-parking system that’ll manoeuvre you into parallel and bay parking spaces automatically.
Entry-level SE models lean quite considerably in tight corners while AMG Line versions are a little too firm – especially over rough roads. Mid-range Sport models offer a far better balance of comfort and handling. If you’re willing to part with £895 you can fit Sport and AMG Line models with a fantastic air suspension system. It does an excellent job of smoothing out rutted road surfaces and can even lower the car’s body slightly to make it feel more stable at motorway speeds – only your bed is more comfortable.
The optional £1,695 Driver Assistance Pack comes with a vast array of sensors and systems that help the C-Class Estate stay within its lane on motorways and keep a safe distance from cars ahead. It’ll automatically brake if it senses an impending collision ahead and even steer you back on course if it detects you’re getting a little too close to vehicles in your blind spots.
These active safety systems all helped the standard C-Class achieve a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2014. The testing regime has been made significantly stricter since then but the C-Class Estate is still an impressively safe family car.