For many years, if you wanted a wagon with a premium cabin and a taller ride height (about as niche as niche gets), there were only two brands you could turn to; Audi and Volvo. Now, it seems that Mercedes-Benz wants to get into the game. First came the Mercedes-Benn E-Class All-Terrain, a jacked up, soft-roading version of the E-Class wagon. Though, we never knew how long it would last or if it was just an experiment to see if Mercedes could eek more money out of E-Class buyers. Now, though, it seems that the brand is doubling down, with the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class All-Terrain.
Much like the Audi A4 Allroad it now competes with, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class All-Terrain is an off-roader in theory. Sure, it might be able to handle a bumpy dirt road, climb a decently steep hill, and maybe handle the occasional soft trail. However, it’s never going to be a substitute for a proper off-roader.
In its defense, it’s not supposed to. The C-Class All-Terrain is for someone who wants a wagon but also wants to go camping or skiing, therefor needing the ability to venture off the beaten path a bit. Nothing too crazy.
What makes the C-Class All-Terrain different from a standard C-Class wagon? For starters, 1.5 inches of additional ground clearance, which is just enough to make that bumpy gravel road less nerve-wracking. It also gets a couple of off-road modes (Offroad and Offroad+) for the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. Aside from that, it just gets some black plastic cladding on its fenders.
In fairness, the Audi A4 Allroad is barely any different. Neither car is for genuine off-roading and customer of neither car will almost certainly never actually stress their car’s abilities off-road. Instead, they’re both for people who want to look more outdoorsy than their neighbors. You know, the sort who wear socks with sandals, always have far too many bracelets, and for some reason always smell like cheese.
Jokes aside, I actually enjoyed my time with the Audi A6 Allroad, awhile back, which opened my mind a bit to these sorts of cars. It’s not their pseudo off-road ability that makes them attractive, it’s that they bring less worry than their standard siblings. Steep driveway? No worries, there’s no fear of scraping, due to the added ride height. Rough looking dirt road on the way to the camp site? It’ll be a breeze. Heavier snowfall than usual? The Allroad/All-Terrain will most likely be fine. It’s that added peace of mind that the car can handle a bit more than usual.
Now that Audi has more competition from Mercedes-Benz, though, it might have to step its Allroad game up a bit.