Mercedes C-Class All-Terrain, at the wheel of the German wagon that winks at SUVs

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Better late than never. This is the first thought that jumps into your head when you look at the new Mercedes C-Class All-Terrain, which arrives on the market with a curious delay on direct competition from Audi and Volvo, who have already believed in the “country”-looking station wagons for several years. The recipe is simple but effective: wagon body, 4 cm raised trim, specific front bumper and raw plastic protections for the fenders. There would also be four-wheel drive, but these can also be found on the other declinations of the C-Class, with which the All-Terrain shares dozens of safety systems, including the headlights that project useful information on the asphalt for the driver.

Who is all this for? To those who are tired of the classic family car but, at the same time, do not want to give in to the (usual) sport utilities. And the C All-Terrain manages to condense in itself the best of the aforementioned worlds, combining the glamor of the aesthetic recipe – complemented by generous alloy wheels and high-shoulder tires – the possibility of tackling the light off-road, moreover with the support of two specific driving programs. The trunk (equipped with an electrically operated tailgate), then, reaches up to 1,510 liters of capacity by folding down the backrest of the rear bench, which can be split in a 40:20:40 ratio.

If on the outside the design, clean and balanced, does not have absolute “peaks”, on the inside the glance leaves pleasantly amazed: the setting is that of the largest and most luxurious S-Class, from which the infotainment system derives MBUX, consisting of two displays, the 12.3 “horizontal display for the instrumentation and the 11.9” vertical display for the infotainment, with augmented reality and Over-The-Air updates. Everything works pretty well, even with voice commands. But to all this, in addition to the necessary apprenticeship, we must also get an eye on it because the “visual comfort” of the physical controls, practically absent, is lacking. The whole has a (not so much) covertly Apple taste.

The car is available with only one engine. And what an engine. This is the 2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel, capable of 200 HP of power, in addition to a further 20 HP generated by the 48 Volt mild hybrid. A silent, agile and, above all, extremely sparing propulsion unit: on the motorway it is not difficult to see the fateful “20 km per liter” (the homologated average oscillates between 4.9 and 5.6 l / 100 km). The drive unit, which is extremely efficient in itself, is joined by high-level aerodynamics, the benefits of the 9-speed automatic transmission – capable of imperceptible gear changes – and the four-wheel drive transmission, lightened and with less friction than in the past to optimize consumption.

The result is a car that makes it easy to tackle hundreds of kilometers of motorway, comfortable and quiet. To be very picky, the steering could be a little more direct to make the most of the qualities of the well-tuned chassis. Suspension and high-shoulder tires absorb holes and roughness well, without penalizing too much performance on mixed routes, where the car retains excellent composure. Price? From 58,359 euros.

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