This version is quite rare, and most C-class buyers are drivers of company cars, who choose smartly with an eye on low emissions, the level of standard on-board equipment and long-distance cruising abilities.
The Mercedes C class W204 (2007 - 2014) hit the ground running when it picked the baton from the Mercedes C class W203 (2000 - 2006) and Mercedes C class W202 (1994 - 2000). Its biggest rival is the fifth generation BMW 3 series E90 and it was built upon the strong image and solid reputation of its older siblings W203 and W202. It brought to the table a more spacious, modern and comfortable interior served with a choice of engines. Three new trims Classic, Elegance, Avantgarde and AMG replaced the older ones.
Styling and design
The Mercedes C class W204 is sleeker, bigger, looks more muscular and planted giving it a bolder presence on the road. The front grille design is more pronounced. The Avantgarde and AMG trims come with a more open and sportier front grille. The three aggressive looking grille lines bedecking a chunkier three point Mercedes star.
The front trapezoidal headlights with bixenon and LED bulbs make your path look brighter, as they blend with the front grille, angular bumper and rest of the car to give it a more aggressive but classy look. Its design appeal targets the more youthful at heart and the wider audience that fancies a quality compact German sports saloon.
Although the W204’s interior looks plain at a glance, a closer scrutiny will confirm that the designers intended to de-clutter the dashboard. As you settle on the soft comfortable leather seat, behind the three spoke steering, you cannot help noticing the neatly stacked instrument cluster, next to the infotainment screen in a continuous neat line with no buttons sticking out.
Whereas the cruise control and wiper stalks at the steering can be a little confusing in the beginning, it is easy to get a hang of them as you settle to enjoy the car. The interior plastic trim is soft and does not feel ‘plasticky’.
The metal and chrome-plated knobs, spats and walnut wood lining give a careful balance of class and a sporty feel to the cockpit, enough to put one in a playful mood. The stereo, telephone and climatic controls are all within easy reach and at your beck and call.
The W204 front and rear seating space and legroom can comfortably accommodate four adults. However, taller passengers will feel a little cramped up by the lower rear headroom. All round, the seats are firm and comfortable with leather upholstery.
Performance, handling and safety
Mercedes offers a delightful choice of petrol and diesel engines in the W204 C class. If you are a petrol head looking for some adrenaline rush, go for the ferocious C63 AMG that roars from a 6.3L V8 engine using its 480 HP and 7 G-Tronic transmission with aluminum paddle shifters, to sprint from 0-100 KPH in 4.4 seconds (fuel economy 12.2 KM/L).
You could settle for the equally athletic and fuel thirsty leashed dragon in the 3.5L V6 M276 engine which will give you 302 HP to cover 0-100 KPH in 8.5 seconds (fuel economy 10.6 KM/L).
The post 2012 engines were built smaller (1.6L, 4 cylinders in line), more fuel efficient and as fast as their older and bigger siblings. The C180 with blue efficiency delivers 154 HP but accelerates 0-100 KPH in 8.5 seconds (fuel economy: 17 KM/ Litre) while the C250 delivers 201 HP and makes 0-100 KPH in 7.2 seconds(fuel economy: 12 KM/ Litre). This is largely due to innovations such supercharging, turbo charging, direct or common rail gasoline fuel injection (CGi) and increased gearing (7G-TRONIC).
The fuel economists can opt for the refined turbo diesel lineup of engines. The popular 2.1-litre turbo diesel engine in the C-Class offers different but impressive power outputs. In the C200 CDI it rolls out 134 HP and accelerates from 0-100 KPH in 9.1 seconds (fuel economy: 17 KM/ Litre), the C220 CDI belts out 167HP and bolts from 0-100 KPH in 8.1 (fuel economy: 21.2 KM/ Litre) . The C250 CDI delivers 201HP and sprints from 0-100 KPH in 7.0 seconds (fuel economy: 20 KM/ Litre). If you feel even more athletic, go for the fuel thirstier but beastly C350 CDi which a whopping 262 HP and only needs 6.0 seconds to accelerate from 0-100 KPH (fuel economy: 16 KM/ Litre).
The W204 C class also provides excellent road holding even when driving fast in extreme wet conditions. The steering is responsive with little body roll when driving through sharp corners, thanks to the advanced agility mode.
Mercedes has over the years built into this C class driving assistance systems such as adaptive highbeam assist, active blind spot assist, active lane keeping assist plus proximity control, speed limit assist and parking guidance including parktronic and the pre-safe brake.
Practicality and maintenance
The Mercedes is built to world class standards for safety, comfort and performance. It meets the needs of a daily corporate commuter as well as the transportation needs of a young family of five in the city.
It is limited to good on road use. Maintenance can be carried out with the official Mercedes dealer or good independent Mercedes service and repair providers in Uganda.
Parts are readily available both with the Mercedes dealership or independent stockists.