Following in the footsteps of the Volvo Cross Country and Subaru Legacy, the peeps at Mercedes-Benz offer the C-Class in a rugged specification. Marketed under the All-Terrain handle, even though it definitely cannot negotiate Hells Gate, this model is offered in the guise of a wagon.
But why aren’t customers offered a second choice, namely a sedan like the one rendered by Joao Kleber Amaral? Keener enthusiasts may be aware of what I’m going to say: blame sport utility vehicles. A station wagon is closer to the design of a crossover whereas the sedan is currently regarded as an old man’s car. Even in Europe where the sedan used to be popular, sport utility vehicles now account for more than 40 percent of new registrations.
Just like Volvo, which used to sell the Cross Country with a sedan option, the Stuttgart-based automaker just couldn’t make a case for one. It’s a simple matter of insufficient demand, and Mercedes-Benz is better off leaving the C-Class All-Terrain as a premium-oriented longroof on stilts.
Over in Germany, the family-sized model carries a starting price of… wait for it… 53,014.50 euros for the base C 200 4Matic. That’s $59,490 at current exchange rates, a tremendous amount of money for a compact executive car with a 1.5-liter turbo and merely 300 Nm (221 pound-feet) of torque on deck. Prospective customers can shell out even more for the C 220 d 4Matic, a 2.0-liter turbo diesel that doesn’t really seem right given the company’s well-documented history of diesel emission scandals and cartels.
Conceived along similar lines to the slightly larger E-Class All-Terrain, the C-Class All-Terrain promises 40 millimeters of additional ground clearance over the C-Class T-Modell (that’s German for wagon), upgraded suspension components, and revised steering knuckles for better all-terrain handling.
From the standpoint of design, it’s a case of business as usual. Matte gray wheel-arch liners set this fellow apart from the regular wagon, along with rugged front and rear bumpers plus model-specific trim on the side skirts.