Mercedes-Benz: 2015 C 200 Estate review

Mercedes-Benz: 2015 C 200 Estate review

There are many people who still prefer a traditional estate to an SUV in the premium executive sector hence Mercedes-Benz have offered such a variant in the C-Class range since it first appeared in global markets in 1993.

2015 C 200 Estate headlamps onPrior to the introduction of the W123 series Touring models in 1978, Mercedes-Benz was not noted for large production volumes of station wagons but that has changed dramatically in the preceding 30 years and today there are no less than four estate-type vehicles in its line up.

There’s the C-Class Estate, the CLA-Class Shooting Brake, the E-Class Estate, and the CLS-Class Shooting Brake (review here) , and all four have quite different customer demographics.

Today’s fourth-generation C-Class Estate is longer, wider, and more accommodating than ever before, and will easily fit five passengers and their luggage. The design of the exterior and interior mirrors its much larger luxury S-Class sibling, and indeed the new C-Class was fitted with a number of new technologies which were derived from the larger vehicle such as Active Parking Assist, even before they made their way to the mid-sized E-Class.

Spec

2015 C 200 Estate interior upholsteryThe C 200 Estate arrives in standard trim with the key features being 18-inch 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels, Artico man-made leather upholstery, LED high performance headlamps, electrically operated front seats, and Garmin Map Pilot navigation, and an electric tailgate, all for $74,900.

A hymn of praise goes to the reversing camera with internal grid lines which is also married up to front and rear parking sensors.

Mercedes-Benz New Zealand had added a number of options to this particular car, being the digital TV tuner for $990, the Comand package for $2990 and the Vision package for $3990.

The Comand package replaces the standard audio system with a 13-speaker Burmeister unit, a more advanced satellite navigation system, and a 10GB onboard hard drive.

Additionally the Vision package was also installed which adds a panoramic glass sunroof with two roller blinds and heat-insulating glass, and upgrades the headlamps to an intelligent LED system with adaptive high beam assist plus, active light function, motorway mode, plus a cornering light and enhanced fog lamps.

The final piece of the Vision package is the head up display with virtual image windscreen projection.

Other standard features include the active parking assist system which will parallel park the car for you with the driver only needing to use the accelerator and brake pedals, plus there is the excellent adaptive cruise control as well as collision prevention assist plus.

The C 200 also receives the Agility Control suspension set up with selective damping which allows the driver to choose from five different modes depending on how comfortable or sporting they desire the ride quality to be.

Inside

2015 C 200 Estate TFT screenReferring to the C-Class as a baby S-Class has become a common theme amongst many motoring writers and not just because of the similarities of the exterior design, the cabin of the C is far and beyond a cut above the competitors.

Brushed aluminium detailing is combined with piano black laquered surfaces as well as the grey-coloured Artico material to create a cabin that looks and feels luxurious and expensive.

Other cabin highlights include the instrument cluster with silver-coloured sports dial instruments and red needles as well as the illuminated door sill panels with Mercedes-Benz inscription.

The modern interior layout sees the death knell of the foot operated parking brake in favour of an electric system thats activated at the flick of a switch, and moving the gear lever selector from the centre console to the steering wheel column has allowed the Benz designers to make better use of the space between the driver and passenger seats for cupholders, storage space and the media interface controls.

A 7-inch TFT screen sits proudly in the centre of the dashboard and provides clear and crisp detail for the navigation, audio, and other functions it controls.

Finally the leather wrapped steering wheel with finger tip controls and flappy paddles isn’t a trendy flat bottomed number but still gives the cabin that premium feeling of being inside a Benz.

I do have one complaint though about the standard spec, heated seats for the driver and front passenger should be a standard feature in this class of car at this price tag, not part of a $1290 seat comfort package.

Power

I’ve said before that the humble 2-litre engine is no longer humble in the E 250 Special Edition sedan review (read here) and the C 200 Estate also proves the same case.

It has a 135kW/300Nm version of the direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder 1991cc Mercedes-Benz petrol engine matched up to a seven-speed automatic transmission, called the 7G-Tronic Plus.

Our rear-wheel-drive test car can do the zero to 100km/h sprint in 7.5 seconds yet return a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.2L/100km, a figure that not a long time ago was only achieved by diesel units.

It’s truly a remarkable engine and gearbox combination that provides more than enough get up and go when required, but doesn’t cost you a fortune at the service station.

Experience

2015 C 200 Estate tailgateMercedes-Benz have moved to a 40/20/40 rear seat split in the C-Class Estates which allows much greater carrying versatility and flipping the seats down is made easier by a switch located just inside the powered tailgate.

It allows you to have two passengers and some skis on board or one passenger and a bike, or no rear passengers and 1510 litres of capacity for a plethora of storage cartons.

Despite what might on paper to be the heavier vehicle thanks to the extended roofline and more glazing, the C 200 Estate feels just as sporting to drive as its sedan siblings, no doubt due to the fact that underneath they share the same suspension system.

Just like the C 250 sedan we drove last year (review here) the C 200 Estate offered a comfortable ride, with lithe handling, and plenty of opportunity for the driver to enjoy both at legal speeds.

Verdict

Even without the additional options fitted theres a huge amount of specification and technology in the standard $74,900 C 200 Estate, and its ability to combine the space of a wagon with the grace of a sports sedan was impressive, and I suspect it is for this reason that many people will choose this car in preference to an SUV.

Price $82,960 as tested

Pros:

  • Grace
  • Space
  • Pace

Cons:

  • Seat heaters should be standard at this price point

Words:

Pictures: Robert Barry / Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific

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