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I want a beautiful Mercedes-Benz. Do I go for a C-Class or upgrade to the E-Class?

There’s plenty of choice in the second-hand market. But is the bigger saloon worth the upgrade?

TWO OF THE most common nameplates sold by Mercedes-Benz in Ireland over the last decade have been the C-Class and E-Class models.

The good news for used buyers is that there is often a healthy choice of cars for sale, but which one should you go for? For many the size of the C-Class is ideal, but others may prefer the additional space that the larger E-Class provides.

C-Class (2014-onwards)

Source: DoneDeal

The current generation C-Class made its debut in 2014, and it doesn’t disappoint in the refinement stakes. Looking every bit the baby S-Class, in the right spec, this car is good enough to satisfy any owners of older E-Class models desire to downgrade in size. The build quality inside the cabin is good, though the free-standing infotainment screen atop the centre of the dash does look like something of an afterthought.

By far the most common models are the C180 and C200, which use a Renault-derived 1.6-litre diesel that’s capable of returning good fuel economy figures. There is also a plug-in hybrid C350e model available for those looking for something electrified.

For those after a sleeker number, there’s the C-Class Coupe. Few will disagree that this is one of the most attractive coupe models on the market currently, and in the AMG-Line specification looks fantastic. It does make some sacrifices though, mainly in the rear where the seats provide almost no legroom and limited headroom.

E-Class (2016-onwards)

Source: DoneDeal

Visually the current E-Class bears more than a passing resemblance to the larger S-Class, which is no bad thing. However, as classy as the exterior looks it is inside where the E-Class most impresses. Giving it a greater sense of space inside is a curved dashboard design that is set inwards. The finish is to a very high standard, easily on a par with the newest offerings from rival Audi, and eclipsing the conservative evolutionary designs seen in the BMW 5 Series.

As is typical with these types of cars you do need to spend more to get the most from them, but this time around Mercedes-Benz did up the levels of standard equipment, so there is better value to be had now.

The automatic nine-speed transmission is excellent and delivers an optimum balance of performance and economy. In Eco modes, it can coast along with a minimal need for throttle inputs. On the move, there’s little in the way of road noise, even with larger diameter wheels.

It does favour comfort over outright agility, so those that consider themselves keener drivers will be better served by the 5 Series in this class. Nevertheless, the E-Class covers off most bases exceptionally well and certainly justifies the admission price.

So, which one is best? Well, the greater amount of choice in the C-Class market, not to mention the more affordable price, does nothing to detract from the car’s appeal.

We’re a nation that is in the grip of crossover and SUV obsession, but the practicality offered by an estate car often serves owners even better. For this reason, if there were one I’d choose it would be the C-Class Estate.

More: Looking for Scandinavian style? How to buy a Volvo for under €20k – and 3 models to see first>

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Dave Humphreys

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