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The C320 Wagon is both roomy and fast, with loads of standard  equipment and safety features.

2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon Road Test
Lovable predictability

By Bill Roebuck

Mercedes-Benz calls their entry the C320 a "sport wagon," (lower case), not to be confused with the more expensive "Sport Wagon" model also available in this lineup. In this case, the performance backs up the sporty claim. With 0-100 km/h acceleration of 8.5 sec., the 215-hp, 3.2-litre V6 posted the second fastest time of all wagons tested at the 2002 AJAC Test Fest. It also had the shortest stopping distance, going 100-0 km/h in 132 ft.

The ride was the smoothest of the tested group of wagons, providing quiet acceleration and precise handling. The five-speed automatic has a Touch Shift transmission, enabling the manual selection of gears by pushing the shifter left or right. On all road types we tried, the C320 can best be described as very predictable. Its stability and traction control system was a close match for that on the BMW 325xi Touring.

The tilting and telescoping steering wheel has four rocker switches which control the audio system, trip odometers, trip computer, light dimming and more. A separate cruise control lever sticks out from the steering column above the turn signal lever. I thought that was a design flaw, as several times I flipped the wrong lever by mistake to signal a turn, inadvertently turning on the cruise function.

The driving position is very comfortable. Wide doors allow easy access to the rear seats, where head and leg room is more than adequate. The cargo space is 714 litres with the rear seats up and 1,800 litres with them down. The split rear seats can be folded to create a flat load area. A novel, collapsible, plastic storage basket stores beneath the cargo floor.

Safety features include front and side airbags, as well as standard side-curtain airbags which span the full distance of the side windows from the front to rear roof pillars. The warranty is for four years/80,000 km and covers "wear and tear" items such as brake pads for two years.

Tested price: $56,365.

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, 2002.

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