Mercedes C-Class All-Terrain has represented over time the ideal compromise for many customers, especially for those who just cannot accept the concept of SUV at all costs but who need a car that is proof of dirt roads and light off-road vehicles.
The debate on the subject is always on: today we know, because market data and surveys prove it, that a lot of SUV buyers will never get their wheels dirty to their new purchase by taking it off-road, there are other reasons to choose the “high wheel”. Fashion, practical access by car, driving position that allows us to “see further” in traffic, and so on.
A car like the All-Terrain, on the other hand, is chosen precisely by virtue of a specific off-road need, not of the potential ones but of the foreseeable ones: in short, the customer knows that he will have to deal with terrains other than asphaltbut at the same time appreciates the shapes, practicality, comfort and driveability of a station wagon.
Thus was born the All-Terrain philosophy (and practice), and Mercedes is not the only manufacturer to have applied it successfully over time. The basis is that of Class C, but with a trim raised by 4 cm. It does not go beyond the dimensions of an SUV, especially for aerodynamics, but it has enough ground clearance to face any situation that the civilized world, even the rural one, can propose.
In addition to the height there is the inevitable integral 4MATIC which serves to have traction in every situation. The look changes with the introduction of low plastic profiles, useful to take the blows of the light off-road vehicle (shrubs, rubble) without showing the marks on the body paint. The tires also change: these have a higher shoulder, another highly appreciated element in off-road situations to avoid damage to the 17 to 19 “rims.
Finally there is the electronics, declined here in two driving modes dedicated to light off-road vehicles and specific for this model. Off-road and Off-road + the parameters of the engine (delivery), all-wheel drive, steering, ESP and gearbox change. In Off-road + the downhill speed control system is also automatically active, the one that makes the car proceed without us having to touch the brakes. Useful for not panicking and pinching leading to blocking on a low-grip surface, with consequent loss of control. Off-road + is available up to a maximum of 45 km / h.
SPOTTER INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
The instrumentation is also updated: a screen comes into play that off-road enthusiasts (the real ones) know: it shows us the inclinometer, the compass and the steering angle. But what turns out to be both a spectacular toy and a useful tool is the 360-degree view of the cameras.
We already know it, nothing new, but here it is at the state of the art, both for quality and because it can be used on the move to have the view of the car from every perspective when we travel by off-road vehicle: it is like having a “spotter” always available. Useful? In some particular circumstances, it would actually be a function to have more on “bad” off-road vehicles to crawl or to tackle difficult passages, but it can also prove essential on a wagon on stilts. And in the city it becomes perfect for parking flush with the curb, there are even shortcuts that optimize the view on the right or left side.
HOW IS IT GOING
The engines do not change, Mercedes draws from the C-Class range for this All-Terrain, re-proposing the units that have already proved their value, here with the excellent Euro 6d diesels that ensure enormous autonomy thanks to very low consumption while traveling. With the new model, then, they are all electrified, mild-hybrid (even for diesel units) or plug-in:
The test version is the C220d, a Mild Hybrid diesel engine which is a champion of consumption. Squeezing it on the motorway towards Bolzano (from Milan) you realize how well it holds up long journeys, with an average of 6 liters / 100 km which is a great value considering how it was driven. A further extra-urban test has shown that staying at 5 liters / 100 km is possible, an enviable result if we consider that we are talking about a very spacious and certainly not very light D-segment.
The 9G-Tronic is a robust and adaptable gearbox: it follows the driving modes but clearly cannot count on a very high performance engine, however in Sport the balance between powertrain and transmission proves to be the ideal one. You do not feel the need for additional horses under the hood, the 220 peak with the electric are versatile, uphill the torque is great and the electron powered unit makes up for the power holes. Ideal for the performance / consumption ratio, without bothering the powers of a hated super bubble.
Dynamically, the All-Terrain is less sharp than the traditional sedan or wagon version, which still favored comfort while maintaining precise steering, excellent legibility of the road, brilliant engines and stability and grip in all conditions.
However, the set-up makes us travel like few others. Mercedes has always been attentive and on this All-Terrain we have adaptive shock absorbers which in Comfort make the response of the entire suspension compartment soft (with four front arms and a rear multilink). The 4 cm more than the traditional wagon are noticeable in terms of roll due to the sophistication of the cushioning. If you can, get the package with the massage function and ENERGIZING COMFORT: Mercedes has made it perfect, it also integrates with some smart-bands and wearables that detect our parameters and on long journeys the automatic movement of the seat makes the difference between sore muscles and more relaxed legs (and back) . Trust me.
Dynamically, then, the standard presence of four-wheel drive makes it effective even by forcing the pace, with a mix that allows you to reach 45% on the front axle and 55% on the rear.
Whichever version you choose, the C-Class is a fascinating and extremely successful car. We have tried it in various sauces, and in the editorial office we agree in praising a project that has managed to remain among those of reference in the sector, the D segment (sedan or wagon).
It is not cheap, it is true, but the whole car market is following the trend. And it suffers from the usual German “problem”, options are paid for and are often too greedy to give them up, at least in terms of advanced ADAS. But it is a complete car, a reference for on-board technology, very comfortable on the road and with a well-finished interior if you like the “modern luxury” style also made up of huge displays and LED ambient lighting.
PRICES: 3 VERSIONS, 1 ENGINE
C-Class All-Terrain starts from € 58,359 but the entrance set-up is already richer than the rest of the range: Premium, Premium Plus and Premium Pro, there are no basic levels and the packages contain a series of useful accessories to increase the residual and guaranteed future value, so as not to lose the cost of the options when it comes to returning the car or reselling it .
Premium has the Avantgarde style and the Advantage Pack, with heated seats, navigator, two 12.3 “and 11.9” displays and blind spot monitoring. Added to this package are dual-zone climate control, High Performance LED headlights, MBUX, leather steering wheel, lumbar support, wireless charging, suspension with adaptive shock absorbers, 17 “alloy wheels with 225/55 tires, cruise control and speed limiter , light and rain sensor, keyless, electric tailgate and automatic high beams.
Premium Plus adds the Tech Pack which includes digital lights, 260 ° camera package, augmented reality, memory seats, keyless, premium ambient lights and illuminated door sills.
The engine is unique: 220d Mild hybrid 4MATICa micro-hybrid diesel with a 20hp electric (at 48V, technology that improves performance over the old light hybrid) and which supports the 2.0-liter four-cylinder.