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Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - C-Class - 180E sedan

Used Rivals

Mercedes-Benz logo18 Jun 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

BMW E30/E36 318i 4D SEDAN (1989-1998)
A SUCCESSFUL, long running model which first hit the market in E30 guise in 1989. Conservative in body design compared to the high-boot design of the Benz, the BMW eclipsed it resoundingly when the bigger and much-better handling E36 arrived in early '91. The 83kW 1.8 engine is no powerhouse though, but the BMW in either guise is a better driver's car.

AUDI 80 4D SEDAN (1992-1995)
THE lesser-recognised German, although its quality and performance belie this. The Audi 80 is front-wheel drive with a 2.0 four-cylinder engine coupled to a four-speed auto or five-speed manual. Performance, road manners and build quality were very good for the day, but the A4 from 1995 proved to be a better driver's car.

PEUGEOT 405 4D SEDAN (1993-1996)
IF your taste is Gallic rather than Teutonic, the 405 may suit you. Powered by a 2.0 four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels and available as a five-speed manual or four-speed auto. Well made, well equipped and inspiring to drive, the 405 makes a surprisingly fun family car alternative. Diesel wagons are also available.

SAAB 900 4D SEDAN (1991-1993)
IF Germany or France do not appeal, there is always Sweden. Delightful to drive, the Saab is a car of unique character. A four-cylinder, 2119cc, twin cam, fuel-injected engine gives excellent performance with the front wheels driven through a three-speed auto or five-speed manual. ABS, air-conditioning, cruise control and central locking are among the many standard features.

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