Reviewing the Mercedes C-Class Saloon, The Challenge Is On….

I love a challenge, it keeps life interesting and gives you something to aim for. Luckily I’m not too competitive so if I don’t succeed then it’s all down to experience with very few tears and minimum sulks.  So how does that  fit into a review of the latest Mercedes C-class saloon you ask?

My challenge was to see how it fared as a family car.


Now as challenges go, this was pretty luxurious; a high-end, top of the range car with all the mod cons a gadget loving mum could wish for. Pretty lush as challenges go, I totes admit. My only worry was the abundance of older gentlemen I’d seen driving around my Devon roads, it’s retirement central down here, which has a big baring on my observation so I did have a niggling doubt it wouldn’t suit our needs completely.

So there lay my challenge…. would a Mercedes C-Class Saloon suit a mum, teenager, tween and toddler.  We cover the whole age range right now so this was going to be a thorough test!

First Impressions

Ok, this is serious eye candy. End of. The front styling catches your eye straight away, it’s a long car but don’t for one minute let that put you off. (Keep reading and you’ll find out why.) There’s no mistaking the Mercedes quality as soon as you see it. Stepping in side, you’re greeted by a cockpit feel as you sink into the leather seats. My toddler was straight in the back, having a gander, the door depth meant no problems asserting his independence a making his own way into his seat. Time saver and toddler tantrum diverter all in one manageable lump!

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.

Gadgets Galore!

First off was to get my seating position right. At 5’3″ I needed to notch the seat up and forward quite a bit. The controls are on the door and really easy to get the hang of, as well as those I’ve just mentioned, you can also adjust the depth of the seat which I could pull it back so it rested at the back of my knees supporting my thighs and still giving me plenty of room to move my lower legs. Next was to adjust the steering wheel height so I could see over the dash without it obstructing my view. Then we were good to go! Nearly.

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.

There’s a central touchpad which controls the tablet style screen which sits in the centre dash and gives everything you need at the click of a button; radio, telephone, navigation and car settings such a colour and brightness of the ambient lighting. (I chose a cool blue which radiated from a lighting strip on the door to light up the door controls without being a distraction which was sooooooo chillaxing while driving in the dark.)

So with the toddler strapped into to his seat via the isofix settings, teenager commanding front seat position, tween reluctantly sitting in the back, Radio 1 selected, I’m cool like that <cough, cough>  directions set and temperature adjusted it was ready to drive.

The Drive

You select your (automatic) automatic gears  from a stick (is that the correct term?) just behind the steering wheel. A simple up for reverse and down to drive then push the button in the park. Theres no hand break so it’s foot on the accelerator and go.

Smooth was the word for the journey, smooth with bells on!

You can barely feel the gear changes and it gets up to speed in no time. We started in comfort mode but as we hit the twisty Devon lanes it was time to test it out in sport mode. The suspension dropped slightly and my god did it handle the corners superbly. I’ve never driven anything which felt so in control of the road. Barely touching the accelerator, every turn and brake gave the most comfortable car ride I have ever had. The toddler dropped off without so much as a murmur and the leg room was ample for my leggy 12-year-old.

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.
Now anyone who’s had the pleasure of driving the narrow lanes going out of Beer and Branscombe in East Devon will understand my apprehension of taking a sparkly new, larger car on a jolly down roads where you often have to stop and reserve into a dug out pull ins. But I needed to see how this car would handle every situation I might find myself in, and this is where the reversing camera came into it’s own.

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.
With guide lines helping you adjust your turn and giving you a much better view of what’s behind you than looking over your shoulder could ever do, I had no problem reversing to let traffic through. The same went for parking. Nothing phased me and that was where the real joy of having a large family car didn’t compromise on the possible difficulty you’d face in everyday situations.

And as a Family car?

I like to avoid any cries of I haven’t got any room, any whinging really, but the leg room thing is a concern, and the leg room in the back seats and passenger seat of the Mercedes C-Class was spot on. Comfort was at a premium with temperature adjustments for each passenger and scuff marks from the toddler’s feet on the back of the front seats immediately wipeable thanks the hard plastic back.

The doors open wide enough to get a toddler or baby into a car seat without any difficulty and if attaching via an isofix in the front seat, the air bag is automatically disabled. The isofix connections allow you to use the outer and middle seats so there’s plenty of options for positioning. It really passed the toddler test on several levels/

What really surprised me though, was the size of the boot. I managed a weekly shop and a pushchair with ease and hand bags / changing bag sat on the floor by my toddlers feet. The boot shuts by the touch of a button on the inner edge and opens via the key so no getting your hands dirty too.

Been there, done that, got the smudge marks on my face.

Avoiding dirty hands is a bonus, believe me!

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.
School picks up were a dream. With the boys having no hesitation at being seen in such a cool looking car, I was able to find and park in a spot at the busy school road thanks to the parking assist. The stereo is crystal clear too, so with a Spotify playlist set up on my iPhone, I linked it to the media settings using the touchpad and we were off. There’s also 2 usb changing points as well as the cigarette lighter style charging point so plenty of places to keep devices topped up on long journeys.

Volume and telephone answer and hang up buttons are on the steering wheel but you can also select the stereo volume from a dial in the centre. With everything to hand it meant all my attention was on the road. I didn’t find the information screen a distraction, incase you’re wondering, as you can change radio channels with your left hand on the touchpad at a position which doesn’t feel at all restrictive.

As an added extra, we were lucky to have the sun make an appearance during our weekend testing out the Mercedes so I opened  up the panoramic sunroof  and let the fresh air in. It’s probably the closest I’d like to get to a soft top while still appreciating all that nature has to offer while driving!

Is It Fuel Efficient?

This is a big car, so I naturally thought I’d pay the price in fuel. Wrong! The information panel records how much you’ve used and relays it in a graph style and as you drive the information panel shows how much you’re using. I cruised along at 50 – 60 mph on the A roads & 70 mph on the motorway with an average fuel consumption of 80 mpg. You do see if dive down to the 30 mpg mark when knocking the accelerator into touch to get up steep hills and over taking but generally it sat at the 80 mark.  As a money savvy mum those stats made me smile.

And the bad……

Ok, I’ll level with you. I wanted to find a fault to make this a full and honest review so I dug deep and found it. Yes it, Just 1. There’s no rear wiper. For the best part of 2o minutes on the second day I tried every control and consulted the car manual to find where the bloody thing was. The back window needed clearing of morning dew and despite the large side mirrors giving me a clear view of what was behind, (which I noticed drop down when in reverse so you can a good view of everything around, so cool!)  I still wanted that window cleared.

Then I flicked on the rear demister and hey presto, problem solved! So no, there’s no bad points. I lied.

The Mercedes C-Class In A Nutshell

I’ll go as far to say that this has been one of the most enjoyable cars I’ve ever driven. It’s comfortable for all passengers, the drive is unbelievably smooth, it corners like a dream and it’ll get you out of trouble taking over the odd tractor or cyclist. Once behind the wheel you don’t feel like you’re driving a big car and with all the seat adjustments you can comfortably  manage long journeys with ease.

It looks good, it feels good and I felt safe. So would I suggest it as a family car?

Does a bear……….

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.

Follow:
Share:

What Are Your Family Car Journey Milestones?

So many memories are made while travelling in a car. wiz back some 30 odd years and I can still transport myself back to the front seat of our Ford Cortina driving down the motorway at night from Up North to stay with our relies in Devon, Lionel Richie and Genesis playing away as I nattered away to my dad while mum sat in the back holding my brother and my sister slept. Car safety was a little hit and miss back then, but it’s a warm fuzzy memory which I treasure. Only ever topped by the lights which we thought were shaped liked boats at Granada Services in exeter and then the total excitement on the decent of the hill in my grandparents village. Yeah……. car journey nostalgia, love it.

I’m the kind of mum who’s always doing that “I remember when” thing to my boys. I had an awesome childhood and would love it of they looked back and reminisced like I do when they’re parents/uncles/any significant adult. So it’s got me thinking about some one the most memorable car journeys we’ve shared and I think the ones which stick the most are the ones I taken them on myself. Such as the first swimming lessons in a nearby private pool. A mere 10 minute journey, they were quite momental.

I was a late learner driver you see so as soon as I passed my test, I booked up simply because I now had the means to get them there rather than rely on others for lifts. Each Monday night we pilled into our Vauxhall Astra which always coincided with Phenomena being played on the radio and as we (ok, it was just me) sang loudly and badly, the boys pleading with me to stop through their giggles. I still try it now and then to raise a smile from my now nonchalant teens. Funny how even a groan of “seriously mum, can you just stop it now”  is enough conversation to keep me happy these days. simple things.

oh and another milestone has to be the first time I took my nervous and excited 11 year old to meet his friends in town where he walk around on HIS OWN for a few hours while I sat nervously in a coffee shop. Sure, he’d been out and about in the village plenty of times with his buddies but for a small village boy, who’d just started secondary school, this was a big moment, for us both. The whole journey was spent with me checking he had arranged the right meeting place, where I was going to pick him up and trying to hide my angst.

Seems like I did the right thing though as Family Lives author Suzie Hayman, who suggests Playing the “what if…” game allows you to voice concerns and then listen and coach them through coping mechanisms, so you can trust them to behave sensibly. Rather than the do and don’t rule of making sure they are ok on their own. It’s still a technique that pops up every now and then.

The ultimate car journey milestone in any parent’s log book has got to be the first journey home from hospital. I can vaguely remember all three of mine. My youngest being the clearest as I was taken aback completely by the look of sheer utter love and shock in my older boy’s faces. while I stared at them they stared at their brother. a huge tear jerker on a proud mum moment. As Suzy Haymen explains,

babies aren’t even sure at this stage where they end and you begin which is why they investigate their own hands, fingers and toes with as much curiosity as the bits of you they can reach. But they recognise your voice and show a preference for it, and want to be held and rocked and to hear you. Safety comes first in a car however so they need to be strapped into that seat, but keep a hands-on close connection and sing and talk to them on the trip home and go back to cuddling and holding as soon as you can.

Turns out my boy would go on to HATE every car journey which followed as he wanted nothing more than being held and so car journeys for the first 12 months were so what limited. If you’re in the same boat then one thing which helped was a change in car seat. Speaking of which, if you’re about to create your own car journey milestones then The Graco Milestone car seat will see you through them all being suitable from birth to 12 years. I’ve got through 4 already so finding one which lasts would’ve saved me a fortune!

What are your car sear milestones? mine has to be the car journeys to swmming lessons and the first rides home with my new babies from the hospital  read more here to see if you have any similar ones.

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post 

 

 

 

 

Follow:
Share:

Time To Fess Up How I Chose My Boy Names

I’m always intrigued as to how people choose their children’s names, I put a huge amount of thought in my choice of baby boy names (which I always found harder than girls. Not great when you’ve had to do it 3 times!) Having such a traditional name myself, I always fancied something a little different, something which had a meaning and one they wouldn’t share with other children.

When pregnant with my first son, Jordi, I envisioned a surfy, cool dude. A kind of laid back, carefree sort of boy. So chose a name inspired by an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and cemented by a football player. (It was nearly 17 years ago, age really did define my choices)   .  Coupled with a middle name poached from my dad, he had the choice of a more conventional one should he so wish. It couldn’t have been more fitting as the hair grew longer and skateboarding and surfing became his love. Almost as if I’d glanced into the future.

how did you choose you baby boys name?

Then second time round I kept coming back to one of my all time favourites. A family name already belonging to an American relative. Completely unusual to the unknowing ear but utterly apparent to anyone who knew my grandmother’s maiden name. It was going to be Kynan and nothing else, a tribute to my mum’s family and following a tradition to share names with our relies across the pond. Again, I gave him a slightly more known middle name, this time with a nod to my dad’s middle name. I’d lost my maiden name so I felt I needed to keep a little of my dad somewhere.

how did you choose you baby boy name?

So I guess the million dollar question is “do my boys like their unusual names?” after all, they’re stuck with them. And the answer is yes and no. Fact of the matter is, no matter how hard you think things through you can never guarantee to getting it right. Years of having to answer to various names as teachers struggled to remember them, then loving the fact that they were the only ones in the school with those names.

Which takes me right up to where I was some 2 or so years ago, right back to choosing baby names. Do I go traditional this time being older and wiser? Or should I stick with the unconventional? I’ve started something I shouldn’t really stop. But that’s the most difficult thing when you’re choosing names 2nd, 3rd or what ever time around. Really you’ve got to keep going, siblings will find any reason to throw a ‘why did you do this to me’ stick about. I did it once or twice as I yearned to be called something more way-out, forever envious of the Psyche who sat mysteriously with her mysterious and unspellable name at the end the table in my media studies lessons. While I, Alison, sat within poking distance of Nicola, Marie and Brian.

But then I thought, it just as name, and as long as he can spell it, I can say it and my family don’t scoff at it. I’ll just go with something I like. Something which makes me smile when I say it out loud, a name which doesn’t define him and leaves the book open to follow what ever route into the world he should take.

My bonkers, happy little Ronnie.

So tell me, how did you choose your children’s names? Was it a joint decision, names in a hat or did you name them after someone famous? I was named after Ali McGraw, apparently.

Not too bad a namesake I guess.

How did you choose your boy names? Does a name really matter or define who they'll be? read how I chose mine

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post 

 

Follow:
Share:

Sharing Our annual family photo

Do you have a favourite family photo?

I thought I’d pop this into a little blog post as its created a lot of interest over on my Instagram account. Every year, my sister and her children come to stay for our village regatta week. It’s a strange old week as the same faces return year after year, almost a Ground Hog Day-esk feel.

We have so many photos taken during this week. They go as far back to when I was a baby and most are usually taken on the beach, the centre point for the regatta.

So with the arrival of my last baby in 2014, we started staging a photograph of the grandkids sat in deckchairs, during regatta week, as a momento for our mum & dad.

( It’s not actually the first time we’ve done this as the top photo shows)

But what I love more than anything, and aside from the obvious physical changes, are the personalities which shine through. From the innocent childhood years, the completely unaware what’s going on years to the grumpy, I-really-don’t-want-to-do-this years.

Last year my eldest was dying of embarrassment and desperate to get away, it was a phase of really breaking free from the family ties in search of some teenage independence while I clung on with sheer determination. A battle of wills as we both navigated unchartered waters.

While my pre teen, although not hormonal enough to warrant an excuse for defiance was simply exhausted this stroppy, after a week of full on days with his cousins, his best friends who he didn’t want to be apart from for a single minute.

And the wriggly toddler who I watched like a hawk, hoping he wouldn’t break free and face plant on the pebbles. A start contrast to the sleepy newborn propped in the chair without a care in the world in 2014!

This year tells a completely different story. One of a teenager slowly coming back to the nest, happy to spend a few more minutes in his families presence and (hopefully) appreciating that we’re actually not that bad after all. The three amigos, my pre teen and my nephews. Rejoicing at their long overdue reunion and sharing a (probably rude or silly) joke.

And my niece, smiling for the camera now fully aware of the drill and picking up on the feel good vibe as the giggles rein out. Then there’s my baby, no longer propped up, a little unsure (he did join in with the smiles eventually) still a little unsure and most definitely plotting his escape.

But above all, these makes me smile as quite simply, it’s a happy place for us all where year after year, amazing memories are made all in one simple family photo.

Every year we take my children and their cousins down to the beach for our yearly family photo, we put them in the same order, the same setting and at the same time of the year. read more here;

Follow:
Share:

The Sibling Age Gap, Is There A Right One?

I sometimes wonder if I’ve done the right thing leaving such a big age gap between my kids?

It was always planned and down to a  case of enjoying their company as toddlers and babies so much, I never felt rushed into adding another child into the mix. Instead I chose to savour the moment and invest as much as I could into those first few years without having to share my time. That was my idea and it worked, just fine.

There were so many pros as well as cons in having my large gap between babies. I loved that I was defying the norm and rewriting the rules. I’d never been one for following the crowds, call it the rebel in me, or simply thinking out of the box and it’s quite entertaining watching people work out our family dynamics,

yes, they are all ours,

no he’s not a champagne baby

and

yes, they all have the same father!

age gap4

I’ve answered them all.

But one thing which I’ve started to notice recently is how much more grown up my littlest boy has become and how quickly my baby is growing up. His words, his mannerisms and his understanding, sometimes way beyond his years. There’s no denying he’s a little boy in a grown up world.

So my question is, should I have had another to keep him company? Will those 10 years between this lively little one and his brothers mean he’ll spend most of his childhood living like an only child?

You see I have theses moments of worry, have I done it all wrong?

But then I look at the cheeky, happy little chap he’s become and I’m reminded, as long as he’s loved, as long as he’s cared for and as long as he’s happy, there will never be a right or wrong way to decide how many children make a family or what the ideal age gap should be.

What’s important is that they have that family, big or small, only child or not, they’ve just got to be loved.

age gap1

Follow:
Share: