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Saturday, November 25, 2017
Mercedes' golden age of design continues with 2017 C-Class Wagon
C Class wagon is a lovely and wonderful car that combines the best of a sedan
with most of the utility of an SUV/Crossover. I call that a winning
get the "I’m a wagon guy" out of the way first. I'm a wagon guy. I
love 'em - they're like a sedan except you can haul a big screen TV in them - depending
on the size of the screen.
I love them
so much I put my money (or my wife's, anyway, since what's mine is hers,
apparently) where my word processor is and bought a sport wagon as my current
car. That was back around 2012 when I'd had enough of trunks but wasn't ready
yet to go the SUV route. And it's easily the best car I've ever owned, kind of
a practical blend of my beloved 1983 Toyota Supra (which I drove happily for 20
years) but with more power, all-wheel drive and 22 years of newer technology
Mercedes C Class Wagon
only forestalled the inevitable, because my dear wife has informed me our next
vehicle - unlike our current wagon - won't have amanual transmission and it will be an SUV
because she's tired of shifting, and wants to sit higher to see the traffic
better, which makes her so much like so many other people in the automotive
marketplace these days that I wonder why I ever married her.
I learned that I was going to get a week behind the wheel of Mercedes-Benz'
current C-Class wagon - the C 300 4MATIC - I was ecstatic: not only do I love
wagons but Mercedes-Benz is currently (in my never humble opinion) in a golden
age of automotive design. The company has traditionally made excellent luxury
cars but they haven't always made the most attractive ones. Some generations
have been a tad dumpy, or too angular, or whatever, with stodgy interiors that
may have befitted the legendary marque's historic reputation, but which didn't
make my heart go 'zing' like others did.
was then. But today's Benzes - at least their bread and butter C and E classes,
are beautiful inside and out. Oh, I still don't think they're as attractive as,
say, Audi or Jaguar, but they've come a long way and I definitely wouldn't be
embarrassed to have one in my garage. Even better, Mercedes' cars are beautiful
underneath the skin, too, thanks to their state-of-the-art design and
says on its media website, the new C-Class (wagon, coupe or sedan) is "a
visual treat with its modern, dynamic design that at the same time exudes
sensual purity, arouses emotions and, to top it all off, presents high-tech in
perfect fashion." Sure, it's marketing gobbledegook, but it's also true.
When was the last time you looked upon a Mercedes (other than their sports cars
and AMG models) as sexy and emotion-enhancing? Well now you can.
The C 300
4Matic, which according to Mercedes-Benz Canada's website starts at $46,000
CAD, is only available in Canada in the one basic configuration (the turbo four
and the all-wheel drive), but it's a nice one. Sure, I wish the Benz brigade
would offer a C 400 4MATIC, with thethree litre, twin turbo V6 Mercedes-Benz rates at 329 hp @ 5,250-6,000
rpm and 354 lb.-ft. from 1,600-4,000 rpm - the engine that was in the lovely
E-Class Coupe that I reviewed here -
but in real life the C 300's turbo four is just fine.
The two litre
four in the C 300 cranks out a decent (and sufficient, dammit) 241 hp at 5,500
rpm and 273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,300-4,000 rpm. There's little turbo lag and
that higher torque than horses figure means the car takes off very nicely,
thank you very much.
The car also
benefits from a terrific, 9G-TRONIC nine speed automatic transmission. Sure,
I'd love a stick, but if you can't have one, this "slushbox" is a
darn fine one, shifting just when it should, and via paddles if you choose.
manufacturer says the C-Class wagon's (it's called an Estate in Europe; dunno
why other than they're funny over there) has a body shell that's lighter than
its predecessor, which is typical (but not unwelcome) these days. Mercedes says
the new C wagon is "up to 65 kilograms less" lighter than the one it
replaces. It's also very rigid and the combination of lower weight and stiffer
spine means it handles very well. And of course the all-wheel drive doesn't
hurt, especially when the roads are less than perfect.
suspension options are available. Besides the standard one, you can opt for a $1,700
Sport package that adds a sport suspension, an attractive AMG Styling Package
that includes 18 inch AMG five-spoke wheels, and a sport brake system.
say, the car drives very well - it's no sports wagon, but it's a very nice and
compelling wagon. And thanks to plenty of customization options, you can make
it more like a wallowing wagon of domestic wagons past - if you so desire - or
you can tighten it up very nicely. Very nicely, indeed.
the interior is very comfortable. The rear seats are a tad small, but so are
most in this segment - but the front seats are wonderful, power-operated and
more supportive than some of my former bosses. The layout of things is logical
and mostly easy to figure out, though I think the current COMAND interface is a
bit - and only a bit - of a step backwards from the last one, or maybe I just
need a little more time with it.
abovementioned customization options include the usual dizzying array of
nannies, from adaptive cruise to lane departure, etc. You can shut these off,
fortunately, and you can also shut off the annoying trackpad on the centre
console that looks like a hand rest until you rest your hand there and find
weird things happening on the display. I hate Lexus' trackpad as well, but at
least it looks like one!
interior is basically like that of the sedan, and that's a very good thing. The
materials are top notch, the design attractive and functional and I liked that
the little, steering wheel-mounted thumb trackpads from the E-Class haven't yet
found their way here; instead, you get straightforward buttons.
screen perched atop the centre stack looks great, but the way it's perched
there makes it look like both an afterthought and something that'll snap off
easily. I doubt either is the case - and the three pointed star folks aren't
unique with this design thingy - but it's there.
display works well, but as with so many others it's difficult to read if you're
wearing polarized sunglasses.
The C 300
4MATIC wagon can also be upgraded via several option packages. The Night
Package ($2,300) also comes with the sport suspension, AMG exterior package
with its 18 inch wheels and black roof rails. The $5,000 Premium Package
includes such goodies as the "EASY-PACK" power tailgate,
navigation w/MB apps, LED lights, a lovely panoramic sunroof,
"KEYLESS-GO" (proximity door locks and push button start/stop) and a
DVD drive (so you can watch movies on those boring long, flat and straight
stretches of highway?).
Premium Plus package includes an integrated garage door opener,
tootsie-activated tailgate release, active parking assist, blinds for the rear
side windows, a 360 degree camera, illuminated doorsill panels and ambient
lighting. And for $900 you can opt for the LED Lighting package, with adaptive
high beam Assist and active LED high performance lighting.
nice if you could get some of this stuff a la carte, because there appears to
be some duplication among packages, but this appears the way things are done in
the Canadian car market these days, and once again Mercedes-Benz isn't alone in
the base C 300 4MATIC wagon comes with a lot of stuff. I might add the Sport
and Premium packages to that version, but some of the rest seems awfully like
gilding an already golden lily.
And it really
is golden. Sure, it's bum may be the weakest link stylistically, but it's still
one of the most attractive wagons on the road today - not that there are many
wagons these days - and it backs up its good looks with excellent underpinnings