Mercedes is no stranger to PHEVs which can tow with their Mercedes GLE 350de. However, what if you’re looking for a more affordable Mercedes PHEV which can tow? Well, Mercedes has now updated their C-Class PHEV offerings and they come with a much more practical electric range of 65-68 miles. Importantly the c300e which is available as a saloon or estate can tow, and a pretty respectable towing capacity too at 1,800kg. So let’s look into the details on the c300e and which is better the saloon or the estate for towing?
Mercedes c300e Key Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 1,800 kg
- Availability – Now
- Price – Starting £44,895 (Saloon) or £46,195 (Estate)
- Official MPG – 403
- Real-World MPG (Fuel Only) – 55 (NextGreenCar)
- Official EV Range – 65 miles (Estate) > 68 miles (Saloon)
- Real-World EV Range – 45 miles (Estate) > 48 miles (Saloon) (70% of Official)
- Maximum Charge Rate/Time – 3kW/7 Hours, 7kW/3.5 Hours & 55kW DC/20 mins
Mercedes c300e HP & Torque
- RWD: Combined output of 308 HP and 406 lb-ft of torque
- 2L Turbo Petrol Engine: 204 HP
- Electric Motor: 129 HP
Mercedes c300e Towing Capabilties
The first important thing to note is the specs above (especially the EV range of 65-68 miles) specifically relate to the latest version of the c300e model year 2022. Previous versions of the c300e only had an official EV range of 35 miles and hence around 25 miles real-world EV range.
I write about PHEVs as I discuss in my BEVs vs PHEVs for towing article due to the currently limited EV rapid charging infrastructure available for charging a full electric vehicle while towing. However, I’m only interested in promoting PHEVs which have a real-world EV range that can at least cover the average UK daily commute (around 30 miles).
Hence, a PHEV which most of its life is driving around most of the time on electric energy sourced from a plug but has an engine for towing. Well, the latest version of the Mercedes c300e with its official EV range rating of 65-58 miles now meets my daily commute criteria when factoring in the range loss of real-world conditions.
Importantly, the Mercedes c300e in saloon or estate form can tow and 1,800kg is sufficient for most caravans you find on UK roads today so its also a practical/viable tow car. There is still an important question though, saloon or estate?
c300e Saloon vs Estate Pros and Cons
So you may have noticed on the specs above there is a difference in the EV range of the c300e saloon compared to the estate. While the saloon has been given an official EV range of 68 miles the saloon has been given a slightly lower rating of 65 miles, why is that?
You might think that the saloon has a more aerodynamic profile hence should get a range equal to or even better than the saloon. The estate does weigh slightly more at 2,120kg compared to the saloon at 2,080kg, however, I wouldn’t have thought such a negligible weight difference would account for the lost EV miles.
The c300e estate also has a higher starting price of just over £46,000, a premium of roughly £1,200 over the saloon. While you may get a slightly lower EV range and it costs slightly more, if you’re looking for a tow car I would choose the estate every day of the week.
The battery is roughly a 25kWh pack which is significant by current PHEV standards and is placed in the boot of the car, hence the boot floor is raised. Well, a saloon boot on any car is always restrictive on space. Putting a large battery in the boot is not to the advantage of storage/luggage capacity.
Therefore, personally, if I was seriously considering a Mercedes c300e I would choose the estate. Being a small caravan site owner myself (Horton Common) I get to see how much stuff guests with them. So when choosing between a saloon and an estate, its always the latter which is the more practical tow car.
c300e Charging Options and Speeds
Charging via a three-pin plug (3kW) is going to take around 7 hours to fill up the 25kWh battery. If you have access to a dedicated 7kW EV charger, that charging time can be cut down to around 3.5 hours. If you did have access to a three-phase 11kW AC charger the c300e can charge up in just 2 hours.
As stated above, the Mercedes c300e can even charge via a DC rapid charger and go from a 10% to 80% state of charge in around 20 minutes. However, personally, I don’t encourage charging a PHEV at a rapid charger unless you were in the vehicle and willing to give it up for a pure EV who really needed it.
Mercedes c300e Review
If you’re interested in the Mercedes c300e you’ll probably want to know how it drives. Therefore, I’ve included a video review below from Tom Ford over at Electrified. Essentially, while the combined 308 horsepower may imply a ‘sporty’ drive that’s not a strength of this car.
However, its official EV only range of 65-68 miles is class-leading and as of this moment, that’s the longest EV range you can find in a PHEV in the UK.
As a tow car yes, you’ll go through that EV range in around 30 to 35 miles, less going up hills in the cold etc. However, what it does mean is besides towing/long-distance trips the c300e should be able to cover most other journies on electric energy from a plug.
My Thoughts On The Mercedes c300e…
With a real-world EV range of around 45 to 48 miles and a towing capacity of 1,800kg with a starting price of just under £45,000 I think the Mercedes c300e is an impressive PHEV tow car.
Its essentially the same money as a Toyota RAV4 PHEV or Suzuki Across. However, the Mercedes can tow a heavier trailer/caravan and it has an additional real-world EV range of 10 to 15 miles.
Granted, the 129 HP electric motor in the c300e is underpowered compared to the above mentioned Toyota/Suzuki and you would also be missing AWD. However, if a RWD estate from a premium brand is the type of tow car you’re after currently there is no better option with a plug than the c300e.