Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

This side of an S-Class, it’s the C-Class that’s leading the way for Mercedes’ interiors, with a design that’s the most modern and avant-garde in the sector. Helpfully it’s all been laid out with precision rather than a scattergun approach as well, and almost everything (the hazard warning light switch isn’t central like you might expect) is where you would want it.

Part of the ambiance afforded to the C-Class estate comes from the new touchpad controller for the Comand system. Looking like a mixture of product design and modern art the elegant metal structure and touch-sensitive pad promises much, but it’ll take some getting used to. The interface works like a smartphone, with pinch, pull and swipe functions to operate the system; ideal for tech-savvy children, but maybe not so much for traditional Mercedes customers of today.

We also found it easier to use in left-hand drive variants, though left-handed users will likely find the same with UK-based right-hand drive cars, and would have liked it to be positioned slightly further forward on the centre console.

All of the cars we tested featured electrically adjustable (as well as heated and cooled) front seats, which offered plenty of permutations to allow for the perfect driving position. The three-spoke steering wheel looks and feels good too, while the instruments are un-characteristically modern for a Mercedes – plus they’re very easy to read too.

We do still find the Mercedes cruise controls stalk a little confusing to operate though, but as an owner you’d soon learn and remember its functions.

If you want the ultimate in Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate comfort there’s one box you’ll need to tick: Airmatic air suspension costs a further £895, but for those who really value ride comfort above anything else (and lets face it traditional Mercedes customers like a cossetting ride) it’s a box that needs ticked. The steel passively sprung cars certainly aren’t unbearable, but on UK roads they can fidget and bounce over imperfections rather disconcertingly.

Choose the electrically adjustable seats as experienced in our test cars and you’re sure to be similarly delighted, as along with the extensive adjustment for the steering wheel it’s easy to find your favoured driving position. All models come with leather-look facings, which are actually quite convincing, but for the ultimate in sumptuous comfort it’s worth adding proper cow-hide.

There’s a decent amount of room to stretch out in the rear too, thanks to this C-Class estate being larger than the last, and it suffers from less of an issue with headroom than the saloon with its sleeker sloping roofline.

The four-cylinder diesels fitted to the C220 and C250 BlueTEC and C300 BlueTEC Hybrid (they all use the same 2.1-litre unit but with different power outputs) are on the noisy side, especially when extended. To be fair at constant throttle cruising speeds the problem isn’t so apparent.