Mercedes C-Class Estate (2014-2017) interior
There’s more than just a hint of S-Class about the C-Class Estate’s upmarket, minimalist cabin. Unfortunately, its unintuitive infotainment system lets the side down
The C-Class Estate’s cabin looks great. It sports a simple, elegant dashboard with a number of neat metal air vents and barely any buttons. In terms of desirability, it’s just ahead of the impeccably built, but rather dull, Audi A4 Avant’s interior.
Almost everything you touch feels solid and expensive, even in entry-level SE guise. The door handles and switches have a cool-to-the-touch metal finish and anything that’s designed to move does so with a smooth, sturdy action.
SE and Executive Edition models have to make do with a high-gloss plastic centre console that’ll show up even the smallest of scratches. Sport models feature more solid – and significantly more expensive-looking – metal trims but the cherry on the C-Class Estate’s cake is the gorgeous unvarnished ash wood trim you’ll find in top-spec AMG Line cars.
All models come with what Mercedes calls Artico – read artificial – leather seats. They’re easy to clean, hard-wearing and you’ll struggle to tell they’re not the real deal.
Sport models and above come with the option of £795 real leather seats, a fantastic £900 panoramic glass roof and even a £350 air freshener – an expense you can probably do without.
The Mercedes’ cabin looks better than a BMW 3 Series Touring’s interior but can’t quite match Audi’s bullet-proof build quality
The infotainment system is the cabin’s achilles heel. Entry-level SE models come with a basic seven-inch low-resolution screen surrounded by a thick plasticky frame. You do get a CD player and Bluetooth connectivity as standard but, unlike in an entry-level 3 Series Touring, you can’t get it with satellite navigation.
Mid-range SE Executive Edition models come with a Garmin navigation system but it looks fairly outdated in the C-Class Estate’s otherwise modern cabin. The maps themselves are presented in 3D, which is a nice touch, and the system zooms in on tricky junctions to help you pick the right lane at the right time.
Inputting a postcode is made tricky by the complicated scroll wheel and touchpad arrangement. It’s neither as intuitive, nor as comfortable, to use as BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s MMI systems. There are a few physical shortcut buttons to help you access key features quickly but they’re mounted up on the dashboard instead of by the scroll wheel.
Hand over an extra £2,995 for the Premium Plus pack and you’ll be treated to a much improved Comand infotainment system. It’s still not quite as user-friendly as BMW’s iDrive but it comes with a larger 8.4-inch screen with crisper graphics and handy voice control features.
The £2,995 Premium Plus pack not only comes with an accompanying app that’ll let you turn on your car’s heating remotely, it also features keyless entry, electric front seat adjustment, a panoramic glass roof and a Burmester stereo as standard. This 590W item comes with 13 upgraded speakers and sounds absolutely superb. Get ready to blast out some Wagner on your way to the antiques auction – or just enjoy the smart-looking laser-cut metal speaker grilles.