Mercedes C-Class Estate 2014 revealed

21 May, 2014 12:00pm Jordan Bishop

Latest Mercedes C-Class Estate more luxurious and practical than ever, and wide engine range includes two hybrids

We've already been impressed by a drive in the new C-Class saloon. Now, the German brand has revealed the practical Mercedes C-Class Estate – and Auto Express has had a first-hand preview.

Talking us around the car was Mercedes’ exterior designer Michael Frei, who told us the aim was to create a sporty and stylish look for the new Estate. “We did everything to ensure the car sits well on the wheels,” said Frei. “There’s a strong shoulder, the greenhouse is really tucked in at the top, and then we have these horizontal lines to structure the car to stop it looking high and narrow.”

The idea was to conceal the estate’s practicality “without compromising the customer in daily life”. That’s been done through the use of visual tricks such as two-piece wraparound tail-lights that help make the rear seem lower and wider. And there’s plenty of practicality to disguise, with the new C-Class Estate boasting a 490-litre boot – up five litres on the old car but down on the BMW 3 Series Touring.

The seats fold to an almost-flat three-degree angle, freeing up 1,510 litres. That’s an improvement of 10 litres over the old C-Class Estate and bigger than both the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series.

“Getting these numbers was the most challenging thing,” said development project manager Ralf Rossmanith. “We had to optimise the pillars and the roof, and get the floor in the right position. In the boot we have a fixed figure of 950mm from side to side; that was a must in this competitive set.”

Mercedes C-Class Estate 2014 rear

This drive for improvement has also led to a revised 40:20:40 rear layout, allowing the C-Class Estate to seat from two to five people. Given the emphasis on versatility and convenience, it’s no surprise that a powered tailgate and Hand-Free Access system are both available as optional extras.

A Cargo Package – which includes adjustable rails to help you separate loads in the boot – and additional electric rear seat release buttons are all available, too. Aside from these major changes at the rear, the Estate is largely the same as the saloon, with three trims available from launch: SE, Sport and AMG Line. These feature varying levels of Mercedes’ Intelligent Drive safety kit, including devices such as adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping. All Estates will get a seven-inch colour display, but an upgraded 8.4-inch screen is available as an option, alongside a Wi-Fi hotspot and in-car apps.

Mercedes C-Class Estate 2014 interior

The Estate will borrow its engines from the saloon, including a four-cylinder C350 Hybrid for the first time – this boasts 228bhp yet emits a mere 99g/km of CO2. Conventional engines at launch will be a C200 petrol alongside C220 and C250 diesels. There’ll be a plug-in hybrid, too. Buyers also get an air-suspension option, which features a self-levelling feature for when you’re carrying heavy loads in the boot.

Although prices won’t be revealed until nearer the C-Class Estate’s release in September, expect it to cost around £1,200 more than the equivalent saloon.