Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: Mercedes C200 CDI - Final Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive: Mercedes C200 CDI - Final Report

Date: 24 June 2008   |   Author:

Six months at an average 500 miles a week tell the story of our long-term C-class.

The C200 CDI racked up a higher average mileage than anything in our recent history bar the Ford S-max, which enjoyed three continental road trips during its time with us.

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Being the weapon of choice for any long journey shows what an impressive long-distance cruiser the new C-class is. But there's so much more to it than that. Our C200 was also the perfect car for a rush-hour battle home across south London, and it far from disgraced itself on the occasions it visited the countryside for some fresh air.

Mercedes has really stepped up to the plate with the latest generation of its BMW 3-series or Audi A4 rival, and it's a more serious competitor for either than the previous model was.

We went for the Elegance trim level - one up from SE but still shy of the Sport spec that comes with the more aggressive grille and bodykit. With hindsight, however, the Sport is the one to go for because it's prettier, unless you must have the three-pointed star sticking up proudly from the bonnet [1]. But it's an extra £1700 over the Elegance and the differences are mainly cosmetic.

There are, though, still cost implications of choosing any C-class. It has a higher P11D than either of the rivals, and it's just too easy to add thousands of pounds worth of options.

Our car, taken from Mercedes' stock to speed up delivery, came fitted with more than £8000's worth of extra kit. Some of the more popular ones such as metallic paint (£620) and parking sensors (£605) are more expensive than other brands, and although a shade under £2000, the navigation system [2] with six-disc CD changer is great. Its cost is prohibitive, however, when you look at the price of a decent aftermarket system.

We could easily have done without the panoramic sunroof worth £1280, too, even though it did get a positive response from one rear passenger who spent some of a long journey taking pictures of cloud formations through the glass roof [3]. It would also have been easy to live without the bi-xenon headlamps at £725 and heated front seats priced at £320, while Mercedes should have fitted the £225 split/fold rear seats and £470 luxury climate control as standard. The auto gearbox is another item that bumps up the cost, both at purchase thanks to its £1095 price tag and also because it's five benefit-in-kind bands higher than the manual. Fuel consumption also suffers, with the auto's claimed average 43.5mpg being 6.1mpg worse than the manual.

Over 12,000 miles we averaged a reasonable 34.4mpg given the car's mix of urban and high-speed duties. The high was 42.6mpg, with one full tank in town recording just 25.9. And we rarely regretted going for the 143PS C200 CDI compared to its C220 170PS sibling because our entry-level diesel didn't feel remotely lethargic.

It's also such an easy and rewarding car to live with - just be prepared for a higher P11D than rivals and be wary of the option list.