New C-Class All-Terrain model will bring the wagon back to the U.S.

The next-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class will finally spawn a competitor for the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country. Likely to carry the All-Terrain name, it will be Mercedes’ second vehicle of this type after the existing E-Class All-Terrain, which is aimed at the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country.

What is an All-Terrain model?

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain High Resolution Exterior
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This nameplate debuted in 2016 on the E-Class model and it’s essentially a mix between a wagon and an SUV.

Based on the E-Class wagon, also known as the Estate or T-Modell in some markets, the All-Terrain is identical to the standard grocery-getter model but features plastic cladding around the wheel arches and underbody protection front and rear.

It also features a 29-mm (1.15-inch) higher ride and a 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive system with a 31-69 front-rear torque split. In short, it comes with the same benefits as a wagon, including the massive trunk, but it can also handle poor roads or even tackle some rough terrain. It also boasts a more rugged look, a plus for people who like SUVs, but prefer the sleeker design of a wagon.

Why does Mercedes want a smaller All-Terrain vehicle?

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain High Resolution Exterior
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While wagons are still popular in Europe, the C-Class All-Terrain could help Mercedes-Benz in the United States
For starters, sales of the C-Class have dropped significantly in recent years.

That’s because the current generation, introduced in 2014, is getting a little long in tooth, but it’s also because more and more buyers are moving toward SUVs. Sedans aren’t as popular as they used to be, while wagons are basically extinct in the United States. So the Germans are interested in adding a crossover-like model to the lineup in hope that customers will find a raised wagon more appealing than a sedan or a simple grocery getter.

The second reason is that Mercedes-Benz wants a competitor for the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country. It already has the E-Class All-Terrain to go against the A6 Allroad and the V90 Cross Country, so why not join the compact market with a similar vehicle as well? While wagons are still popular in Europe, the C-Class All-Terrain could help Mercedes-Benz in the United States. Wagons have fallen out of fashion years ago in North America, but some automakers keep the flame alive in the midsize segment. However, there aren’t many compact wagons to choose from.

2020 Audi A4 Avant
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BMW stopped offering the BMW 3 Series SportWagon years ago, leaving Audi as the only premium carmaker to still offer a compact wagon. But there’s a catch.

Audi doesn't sell the A4 Avant in the United States. Instead, it imports the Allroad model, a slightly raised version of the Avant with SUV-like cladding.

Audi has been selling the A4 Allroad here for years now, which is a sign that these type of vehicles are more successful than conventional wagon. Mercedes-Benz is planning to do the same with the C-Class All-Terrain as an alternative to the C-Class Wagon, a vehicle that it hasn’t been offering here in recent years. The C-Class All-Terrain will not only give customers a second wagon option, but it will also provide competition to the A4 Allroad.

When’s the C-Class All-Terrain Coming?

Mercedes Sets Its Sights on the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country With the 2021 C-Class
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The slightly more rugged version of the C-Class Wagon won’t arrive until Mercedes-Benz launches the next-generation compact. Codenamed W206, the fifth-generation C-Class will most likely break cover toward the end of 2020, so the sedan version will hit U.S. dealerships in 2021.

The wagon will probably follow a few months later, while the All-Terrain will be the last to join the lineup, most likely in late 2021.

This means that you should expect it at dealers for the 2022 model year. In case Mercedes-Benz decides to discontinue the regular C-Class Wagon and produce a C-Class All-Terrain model, it could arrive a bit earlier, like in the third quarter of 2021.

What to expect

Mercedes Sets Its Sights on the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country With the 2021 C-Class
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Spy shots suggest that the next-gen C-Class is an evolution of the current model, so don’t expect dramatic changes. The big news is that it rides on the new MRA platform, which means a lighter and stiffer chassis, a support for a 48-volt system, and compatibility with Mercedes’ latest hybrid drivetrains. The engine lineup will probably include four-cylinder engines only, but nearly (if not) all of them will be 48-volt mild hybrids. Plug-in hybrids will also be offered. Just like the E-Class All-Terrain, the C-Class All-Terrain will feature body cladding, underbody protection, and a permanent AWD system. It will also include the company’s latest semi-autonomous features, the Drive Pilot function, valet parking, and all the tech already seen in other Mercedes vehicles.

Further reading

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43.

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63.

2020 Audi A4 Allroad
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Read our full review on the 2020 Audi A4 Allroad.

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country.

Source: Autocar

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