By Amanda Mfuphi
When Mercedes-Benz South Africa handed our publication the keys to the new Mercedes-Benz C220d Avantgarde I was super excited to be given custody of the C220d over the December break. After spending a little over 3 weeks with the C220d, it confirmed in my mind that despite the proliferation of SUVs, there is still space for sedans in the market. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the C220d on short trips in Gauteng and got to really enjoy it on the drive to Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
The new C220d Avantgarde is beautifully designed, resembling its larger sibling – the S-Class – and thus carries all the latter’s elegant and premium exterior look. Upfront, the C220d Avantgarde boasts a large grille with the all too familiar Mercedes badge, LED high performance lights, sunroof and 18-inch alloy wheels. The rear also gets LED lights with a beautiful design. I particularly enjoyed the champagne colour on the test unit as it gave it a subtle elegant exterior look.
Interior and cabin
The elegant and premium feel continues inside with the C220d’s luxurious and spacious cabin. The striking feature of the interior is the tablet-like 11.9-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The cabin also has 3 USB-C ports to ensure occupant phones are fully charged for the long road trips.
Although I love the tablet-like infotainment touchscreen, I did find that it is not intuitive and did require a bit of concentration to get a hang of initially. The cabin looks and feels premium thanks to the minimalist center panel, soft touch materials on the cabin and ambient lighting. Although there are some hard plastics in some areas, the interior is designed in such a way that soft touch materials find their way in right areas of the cabin such as the door panel armrest as well as the center armrest.
Over and above the premium feel, the interior is comfortable and spacious for all occupants with an equally practical boot space to match (it easily absorbed a baby stroller and our luggage bags during our trip to KwaZulu-Natal). Other features I enjoyed on my travels with the C220d was the rear-view camera and front parking sensors, which make it easier to pilot the premium compact sedan.
Engine and drive
The C220d is powered by a mild-hybrid system consisting of a 2.0-litre diesel engine paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission and a 48V electric integrated starter generator system. The engine pushes out 147kW of power and 440Nm of torque with an additional 15kW of electric boost on demand.
On the driving dynamics side of things, the Mercedes-Benz C220d presents a comfortable and refined drive with the cabin largely insulated from outside noise. The suspension does its job well by cushioning occupants from some of the bumpiest and harshest road surfaces. The 9-speed automatic transmission is smooth and works well with the engine. I found the 2.0-litre diesel engine to be quite impressive and responsive and offers near instant shove from the ample torque. Driving it down to KwaZulu-Natal, we (myself and the occupants) experienced impeccable comfort levels and incredible fuel consumption figures that at some point was as low as 3,9l/100km. I still managed impressive fuel consumption figures on the upward drive from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng with an average fuel consumption of 4.6L/100km.
Final word and impressions
The Mercedes Benz C220d Avantgarde is an impressive vehicle and definitely ticks many boxes. There are a number of things I liked about the C220d Avantgarde such as the elegant exterior looks (especially the champagne color), premium feeling of the interior, comfortable and refined ride, spacious cabin and boot space, and amazing fuel consumption (particularly for such a large vehicle).
On the other hand, there are some downsides to the car such as the low-profile tyres which compromise height with the vehicle tending to hit the ground on some terrain, and the lack of some driver assistance systems in the Avantgarde model such as lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control for a vehicle that is over R1 million.
Overall, I think the C220d is a good buy as it is well-rounded and caters to the needs of a family or an individual buyer, with the fuel efficiency being a strong selling point.
Price and Warranty
The Mercedes-Benz C220d Avantgarde is priced from R1,026,450 and it comes with a 5 year/100 000km Service Plan and Maintenance Plan.
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