Comfort is key on the long road

2009-12-05 13:46

 

LONG road trips can be very ­uncomfortable for a family, especially

if you are in the wrong car. Comfort, fuel economy and a good drive are key

­factors.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class 180 Kompressor might not score brownie

points with your teens when it comes to the “cool” ­factor, but the car is a

great choice for a long drive.

Mercedes-Benz have added a number of economic BlueEfficiency models

to their stable, ­including the saloon in the ­C-Class range.

Under the bonnet the displacement of the engine has been reduced

from 1?796 to 1?597 cm³, but still delivers the same power.

So in essence the

C180 K is actually a 1.6-litre engine, but still delivers the same power at

115kW and 230Nm of torque.

Our test unit was a six-speed manual transmission with overdrive

characteristics standard.

The longer final-drive ratio makes for better driving, especially

over longer distances. The new display concept of the gearshift indicator and

current fuel consumption display in the cockpit all add to a pleasant driving

experience.

This model includes numerous intelligent technologies to reduce the

fuel consumption by up to 12%.

And when you are about to drive hundreds of

kilometres, a low fuel bill is very important. It leaves for more spending money

to enjoy the holidays.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the car can go 100km on 6.7 litres of

petrol.

But one needs to consider all factors and the true range will

probably be close to this figure but not that exactly.

Locally built at the Mercedes-Benz SA plant in East London, the

build quality is good and its interior is neat.

Leg room is ample and so is the shoulder and head room. Nobody will

complain about cramped spaces in the car.

Most families don’t have more than

four or five members so there is more than enough room.

As the estate is a station wagon, there is obviously more room for

that extra luggage the girls usually pack and also copious space for the golf

bag.

Road and wind noise have been significantly reduced because the

BlueEfficiency models make use of the same technology used in the uber-luxurious

Maybach.

Mercedes-Benz have added an acoustically sensitive plastic membrane

between the panes of glass which absorbs the wind noise.

The carmaker says this technology has enabled their engineers to

reduce the thickness of the windscreen, achieving a further weight reduction

without compromising noise comfort.

Another factor contributing to the efficiency of the car is the

forged lightweight wheels. They also play a part in weight reduction. Each wheel

is about 1.8 kilograms lighter than the usual light-alloy wheels.

Other measures include smooth under-body cladding to ensure air

flows beneath the car; partial covering of the radiator grille to reduce air

flow into the engine bay and adequate cooling of the four cylinders of the

­engine.

Engineers have also sealed the spaces between the bonnet and

headlamps, as well as between the bumper and headlamps to improve the air flow

around the front end.

Even the suspension has been lowered by 15mm to reduce aerodynamic

drag, and this has a particularly noticeable effect at higher speeds.

So if your kids still think the Estate is uncool, try explaining

all these measures and perhaps they won’t mind doing a road trip in the “station

wagon”.


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