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Mercedes C-Class C220 Bluetec Sport vs. Volvo S60 2.0 D4 SE Nav

Mercedes C-Class C220 Bluetec Sport

Mercedes C-Class C220 Bluetec Sport

To look at the new C-Class is a stunner. It takes inspiration from the S-Class with a low-slung profile and LEDs that sweep into the headlamps. The rear of the car is a little hit and miss though; it lacks the all-round appeal of the previous model, with smaller rear taillights. The overall profile though is a winner, and it hands-down looks better than an Audi A4 or Volkswagen Passat. In the company of the Volvo S60 things are a little closer, but the Mercedes looks fresher and more modern.

Inside the new C-Class is superb. It's much nicer than the previous C-Class which was no ugly duckling and there's now more space and more premium materials than ever before. It puts the Volvo's interior to shame; influenced by the S-Class, the C-Class interior features a slick dashboard design with eyeball air vents and a wonderful metal finish on electric windows switches and all controls. The doors are also thicker than on the S60 and the C-Class just feels like a more premium and solid product, but then it should given it's a more expensive and newer machine.

The C220 is powered by the all-familiar 2.1-litre diesel engine that can be found in the old model. This version has been refined to be more efficient, though, with CO2 emissions of 104 g/km and a combined cycle of 70.6 miles per gallon; that's far better than anything VAG can come up with. This engine is only available with a 6-speed manual gearbox and the engine produces 170 bhp and 295 lb /ft of torque, for a 0 - 62 mph time of 7.7 seconds, which is pretty nippy for such a big car.

Practicability is a selling point too. At 4,686mm long and 1,810mm wide, the new C-Class is 95mm longer and 40mm wider than before which means more legroom and more width in the cabin. The C-Class also has a 480-litre boot, which is on par with the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. There's no under floor space though.

Standard equipment in the Mercedes C-Class C220 Bluetec Sport includes full leather seats, lowered comfort suspension, 17-inch alloys, active parking assist, heated front seats, Garmin map pilot, parking package, mirror package, LED lights, and tyre inflation compressor.

Sport commands a £1,995 premium over base SE spec, which is worth the money for the extra kit. AMG line commands a £3,490 premium and has a bigger body kit and larger alloys. All versions of the C-Class get DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Mercedes’ trademark Artico man-made leather.

The Mercedes C-Class C220 Bluetec Sport costs £31,360. 

Volvo S60 2.0 D4 SE Nav

Volvo S60 2.0 D4 SE Nav

With an on-the-road price of £29,395, the Volvo S60 2.0 D4 SE Nav undercuts the Mercedes C-Class C220 Bluetec Sport by a fair amount. So what compromises are there with the S60, a car that's older than the C-Class and a car that comes with a less premium badge?

Well as far as style is concerned, there is no compromise. The Volvo S60 is a great looking compact exec that can hold its own against the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, and Volkswagen CC in any car park across the UK. The SE models lacks the big 17-inch alloys of a Sport C-Class, but it looks fresh.

The biggest difference between these two cars is the interior; the Mercedes C-Class is a nicer place to be for sure because it's a newer machine with more up to date materials. The Volvo can't match this class, but it is still on-par with an Audi A4 or Volkswagen CC, with enough premium materials to let you know you're driving a quality machine and enough comfort to give you the ride of your life. The S60 also offers comparable refinement to the C-Class, although the engine is harsher.

The D4 is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 178 bhp and 295 lb /ft of torque. These are comparable figures to the C220, but the S60 is the faster of the two with a 0 - 62 mph time of just 6.9 seconds versus 7.7 seconds. This extra speed doesn't result in poorer economy either, because with CO2 emissions of 99 g/km, the S60 qualifies for free annual car tax whereas the C-Class costs £20. The average mpg of the S60 is 74.3 miles per gallon according to Volvo.

So, the Volvo is faster and more efficient than the Mercedes C-Class, but it doesn't has as nice an interior or as up-to-date technology.

So what about practicability? As mentioned above, the C-Class has a competitive 480-litre boot and lots of interior space, and the S60 can't match it. The S60 has a minimum boot capacity of just 339-litres, which is over 100-litres less than the C-Class. Rear legroom is marginally better in the S60, though, but not enough to justify the loss of those litres of boot space.

Overall

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the more practical and luxurious compact exec here today. The Volvo is faster and more efficient, but not enough so to justify the loss of boot space. In my opinion, you would be extremely happy with a Volvo S60 D4, but you would be blown away by the C-Class's stunning interior after spending some time in it.

I would go for the Mercedes C-Class. 

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