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Old 11-12-2007, 02:00 PM
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Arrow Mercedes-Benz C-Class: One for the labradors

Mercedes-Benz C-Class: One for the labradors

Mercedes claims it was told by its owners that the last C-class estate was too small and has increased the size of the new car in almost every direction, but it still has a feel of a fast tourer rather than something for the larger family. Having said that, in Europe, driving an estate tends to be an indication that you have a more interesting life than those buttoned-up types who drive saloons. In this respect the C-class estate is a perfect vehicle for, er, skiing, scuba-diving, paragliding, pot-holing, bog-snorkling non-fat-suit wearers. Aren't you dying to meet one already?

Actually, the new C estate is a pretty clever piece of design. It'll swallow a washing machine in its crate, but it looks smaller than its predecessor and, with an upright rear windscreen, your dogs aren't cooked in the back by radiated heat with the sun behind you. The load bed is very clever, especially the way the load cover clips to the back of the seat housing, so when you tilt the rear seat forward, the load cover comes with it. Actually, it only clips to the larger section of the seat; if you want the smaller section tilted forward, you have to unclip the frame.

Sadly, the rear-seat squabs don't flip upwards, so like most of its German rivals in this sector, the C-class estate's load-bed isn't entirely flat. The rear seats are not exactly commodious, either. One six-foot bog-snorkler can only just sit behind the other with his flippers jammed against the seat back. In the UK, Merc has replaced the Classic (taxi) trim level with a new SE (middle management) level.

The previous Avantgarde (sporty) and Elegance (er, elegant) continue. Avantgarde cars get a bigger three-pointed star on the grille than the one on the truck they arrived on, while SE and Elegance retain the traditional Mercedes gunsight bonnet mascot. All the launch cars came shod with the 17in-tyre option, which is fine for smooth German roads but a trifle abrupt for British ones.

Source: [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/main.jhtml?xml=/motoring/2007/11/10/mfmerc10.xml]Telegraph.co.uk[/url]
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