The SUV seems to be the default choice these days, whether you want to drop the kids off at school, travel up and down the country, or just commute into the city.

But there are times when you don’t need an SUV, and towing a caravan is one of them. The best estate tow cars will do everything an SUV can do, and is more comfortable and easier to park.

If you’re on the hunt for a quality estate car, the Mercedes C-Class will very likely be on your radar, because it has the cachet of the three-pointed star up front, it will be economical to run, and it has loads of smart infotainment tricks to keep you interested and engaged on long trips.

What’s it like inside?

This generation of C-Class made rivals Audi and BMW sit up and take notice, because the fit and finish are superb. This is a car that feels very classy indeed when you’re sitting inside it.

There’s also a vast amount of space for those up front, although the rear-seat space is merely competitive with what’s on offer in compact exec rivals (cheaper rivals such as the Ford Mondeo offer much more).

Cabin of C-Class Estate
Spec includes cruise control, reversing camera and seven-inch infotainment screen

There’s a reasonable amount of boot space compared with the A4 and 3-Series.

No matter which model you choose, the C-Class Estate comes with plenty of standard equipment, something we like to see when we’re looking for the best used car for towing. Even the entry-level SE models provide automatic lights and wipers, electrically adjustable front seats, cruise control, a reversing camera and a system to help stop you crashing into other stuff. That’s not to mention a seven-inch infotainment screen and a DAB radio.

Move up the range to Sport and you’ll add heated front seats, sat-nav, parking sensors at both ends and self-dimming and electrically folding mirrors.

AMG Line models top the range and come with sports suspension and a bodykit – while they look really good, the ride is adversely affected.

How does a Mercedes C-Class Estate drive?

The 2.1-litre diesel engine develops 295lb ft of torque, which is plenty to get everything moving briskly. It’s a shame that the engine is quite so harsh and loud when asked to work hard, but it settles down at a cruise.

Rear of Mercedes
The spacious Mercedes is quiet at speed and comfort suspension is soothing

Of the two standard suspension options, comfort and sport, the former would be our preference. Sport is too firm, making you feel like one of those dancing dashboard dolls on a bumpy road. The automatic gearbox is also very smooth.

The C-Class is a thoroughly competent tow car. On motorways, it keeps a straight course, with only minor corrections needed, and isn’t moved by sidewinds. The electric handbrake makes hill starts easy, too.

What will it tow?

  • Kerbweight: 1615kg
  • Towing limit: 1800kg
  • Noseweight limit: 100kg
  • 85% match: 1373kg

Running costs

  • Insurance group: 29
  • Annual VED: £165 if registered after April 2017; £35 if registered before then
  • Average economy: 65.7mpg (NEDC figure; WLTP figure is 55.4mpg)
  • Interim/full service: £178/£130
  • Servicing prices: Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262,

Trouble spots with the Mercedes C-Class Estate

It’s only fair to say that the Mercedes C-Class Estate has seen the inside of dealerships more often than might be considered ideal.

Some cars were recalled because of faulty power-steering motors, and the steering coupling was the source of another recall.

The starting current limiter was the cause of a recall in some cars, while left-front seatbelt pretensioners were not of the right spec in others.

A full list of recalls can be found at

What to pay for a used Mercedes C-Class Estate

  • High: Price: £36,000, Model: 2021 C300d AMG Line, Miles: 13,000
  • Sweet spot: Price: £19,000, Model: 2017 C220d AMG Line, Miles: 49,000
  • Low: Price: £7000, Model: 2015 C220d SE, Miles: 174,000

Verdict on a used Mercedes C-Class Estate

The Mercedes C-Class Estate is a good tow car to choose if you’re looking for an easy life. It’s quiet at speed and the comfort suspension is soothing. It’s very spacious, compared with the Merc’s compact exec rivals, and standard kit is plentiful. The only downside is that if you’re seeking some fun, the Merc is not aimed at you.

Check out our best tow car for a caravan guide too, if you’d be interested in seeing our pick of the standout options on the market.

Or you could try…

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