The worst of winter will grind you down, especially when spring is almost in sight.
My window of photo opportunity looked like it would last all of five minutes. Enough time to blast slush off at a coin car wash and take a few quick pics before the driving, freezing rain coated the car, the camera and me.
Ducking through the driver’s door, the mood was lightened within the dark comforts of the Mercedes-Benz, the deep black leather tones and open-pore wood additions contrasted by piano-black gloss trim pieces and lighter satin-finish metallic highlights.
Ahh, it’s as classy a Mercedes as ever.
From the “better-late-than-never” files, and new for 2018, Canadians can finally get their hands on a Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC Wagon.
Yeah, it’ a station wagon. But it ain’t exactly Grampa’s faux woodgrain, vinyl-slabbed land barge. It’s a considerably leaner and meaner version.
Or as the company bumpf puts it, the C 300 Wagon boasts a “toned physique” to accentuate this “multi-faceted lifestyle vehicle”. Sleek design and swoopy style blend the same athleticism and attitude as its C-Class sport sedan, coupe and cabriolet siblings.
There was justifiable excitement when this latest-gen five-passenger wagon debuted in other markets a few years ago.
Compared to its predecessor, it was bigger, better and also 65 kg lighter.
With a wheelbase stretch of 80 mm (2,480 mm), it was 96 mm longer (4,702 mm) with a resulting 45 mm increase in rear passenger legroom. Even cargo capacity had been bumped up slightly to 490 litres (+five litres), or 1,510 litres (+10 litres) with the second row folded.
The wagon’s imminent return to Canada was eagerly announced for 2016 but then the whole VW diesel situation blew up.
The hangover of that resulted in increased agency scrutiny and delay for a couple of years until Mercedes execs finally expedited things by dropping the planned-for 2.1-litre diesel mill, replacing it with the ubiquitous C-Class 2.0-litre turbo gasoline-powered four-cylinder engine.
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This substitute one-choice powertrain pulls just fine, thank you, making 241 hp at 5,500 rpm, and with 273 lb/ft of torque peaking early between 1,300-4,000 rpm.
The resulting get-up-and-go is streamed through a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic that replaced a previous 7G-Tronic seven-speed version. And final power is put to the pavement via Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, a standard issue item here in Canada.
You can play with that power level through a console-mounted Dynamic Select dial with Individual, Sport+, Sport, Comfort and Eco modes. I’d recommend Sport, or at least Comfort, to make the most of the turbo four-banger.
If you’re not a penny pincher, which is most likely if you’re even considering spending fifty large on a wagon, you should probably skip the power-numbing Eco setting because napping while driving is rarely recommended.
The C 300 Wagon does its best to be thrifty in non-Sport modes, shifting early and topping out at a leisurely 1,500 rpm at most speeds.
Fuel economy is rated at 10.7/8.0L/100km (city/hwy). I managed a more realistic 11.1L/100km (comb), an indicator that I was having some fun in this sporty wagon.
Standard tech features include a peek-a-boo rear view camera that keeps its lens clean by only popping out in reverse, blind spot monitoring, crosswind assist, attention assist, active and adaptive braking with hold function, electronic stability control and more.
Passengers will find comfort in a refined cabin with amenities that include heated power-adjustable front seats, a 7.0-inch infotainment screen and ARTICO upholstery.
Our tester bumped up bling and content substantially with over $10K of options including a $5,000 Premium Package that added LED lighting, panoramic sunroof, COMAND online nav with Mercedes apps, Keyless Go and an Easy-Pack power tailgate.
A $2,300 Premium Plus Package adds foot-activation to the tailgate, active park assist, garage door opener, rear door roller sun blinds, illuminated door sills, ambient lighting and the 360-degree camera feature.
Add in a few standalone options - open pore Dark Ash wood trim ($250), heated steering ($250) and satellite radio ($475) and you’ve got a complete package of compact wagon accessories.
Yes, there are limitations to the one-model, one-powertrain-choice C 300 4MATIC Compact Wagon.
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But you can find more power variations in the broader C-Class Sedan lineup. Or find extra performance and added cargo capability in the GLC sport ute or bigger E-Class Wagon lineup.
Let’s remember that Mercedes-Benz Canada’s C 300 4MATIC Wagon, not even available in the U.S., is very much a niche offering here.
And, with new 2018 models and a future lineup promising cosmetic and content upgrades for 2019, it will be interesting to see how Canadians take to a non-SUV wagon offering a handsome and unique blend of both sport and utility.
2018 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic Wagon
Five-passenger, compact sport wagon.
2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder (241 hp, 273 lb/ft) with 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic.
490 litres, 1,510 litres with second row folded.
10.7/8.0L/100km (city/hwy); As tested 11.1L/100km (comb)
$46,000; As tested $56,865 incl Premium Pkg ($5,000), Premium Plus Pkg ($2,300), Sport Pkg ($1,700), SIRIUS ($475), Heated Steering Wheel ($250), Dark Ash Wood trim ($250)
WEB SITE: Mercedes-benz.ca