Monday, June 22, 2009

The 2009 Mercedes C Class

Another business trip, another car rental. This time the glitch in my corporate account means that I'm paying for a Ford Focus but driving a 2009 Mercedes C Class with only 15 miles on the clock.
Initial impressions? Very nice. It drives pretty well for such a large car. It's an automatic, which means it has a "C" and "S" mode, "S" mode simply meaning - "the mode with most of the electronic shackles removed". It took me a while to find the 12v accessory socket though. I found one in the glovebox, but the small cubby hole at the front of the dash is so well disguised I didn't find it until this morning.
One thing that's a little bizarre is Mercedes choice of stalk controls behind the steering wheel - there's only one. It does headlights, washer/wiper and indicators all on one stalk. My daily driver is Japanese so I'm used to controls split across two stalks, so driving the Mercedes from the airport yesterday, I spent a lot of time flashing the cars in front and randomly indicating left whilst trying to use the windscreen wipers. The location of this giant multi-control stalk is also a bit Ford-like in that it's very low down. If the car was a manual, I'd no doubt have snapped it off by now because it just about touches my left knee even with the adjustable steering column in the highest position.
Otherwise it seems Mercedes have come out of their early 2000's funk when they were building just awful cars, and it looks like they're trying to regain their status as a luxury marque. It's quiet and comfortable, and there's definitely something unique about driving with a visible emblem in front of you - in this case the Mercedes star that protrudes from the front of the hood.
Would I buy a C-Class Mercedes (or any Merc for that matter)? Still probably not. Not only because of the cost, but it's just too much luxury and too many nanny items for me. It doesn't feel like driving a car any more - as the driver I feel too far removed from the process in it.


Paul said...

Jeez, I wish I had glitches like that when I hire a car :-)
I probably travel for work once or twice a month and the only time it's come out in my favour is when they gave me a Mustang for nothing. But it was the 6 cylinder rental version that sucks :-(

Chris said...

Yeah I'm not sure what the problem is but I always pay for a compact car and end up with cool stuff. I've had an Audi RS4, a Shelby Mustang (NOT the rental version), a Dodge Charger, this Mercedes and a bunch of others. Heck I even got a Dodge Challenger last month and I didn't know anyone was renting those !

Paul said...

You're not sure what the problem is?????
What problem?????

Anonymous said...

I just read your page on bikers. and while I've never been to the US or UK, I do know that bikers are treated better here in India. The reason is that people here use bikes as a mode of transport and not a pleasure tool. Sports bikes and cruisers have been catching on only over the past 5 years and the market leaders are still economy bikes.
The reason car drivers are able to "see" bikes around here is because they're outnumbered by us motorcyclists.