PREDICTIONS we would all be driving around in electric cars by now may have proved wide of the mark but the green car revolution continues apace.
While most car manufacturers seem to have distanced themselves from going down the all-electric route there are plenty of other ways of going green with a diesel electric hybrid combination currently proving to be one of the best.
With Mercedes-Benz's C300 BlueTEC Hybrid what you get is the frugality of a diesel engine, mated to a small-ish electric motor to further reduce emissions and boost economy.
It offers CO2 emissions of 94g/km and can return 78.4mpg and although it utilises the same 201bhp 2.1-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine found in the C220 and C250 with a 27bhp electric motor the savings that can be made if it's a company car are significant.
As well as those sub 100g/km emissions it avoids a three per cent diesel surcharge meaning it is taxed on just ten per cent of its value, unlike the C200, 220 and 250 BlueTECs.
The electric motor also boosts performance and the fact it essentially works at lower speeds means the C300 Hybrid is noticeably quick out of the blocks with no diesel lag whatsoever. It also makes for very silent motoring at lower speeds too.
Perhaps the only downside is some added weight, which does impact just a little on the overall driving experience, but given the latest C-Class has slimmed down considerably compared to its predecessor it doesn't prove a major issue.
The weight-saving isn't the only step up for the latest C-Class either.
It's a good looking creation, which in saloon form bears a strong resemblance to the S-Class, while the estate version offers a stylish and refreshing take on the load-lugging concept, characterised by a sculpted and sleek profile with flowing lines.
On the inside quality and sophistication are the prevailing features. Switchgear, instrumentation and fit an finish are all exemplary and with a few carefully chosen optional extras this car can feel more like something quite a few steps up the Mercedes model range.
All models come fairly generously equipped as there isn't what might be termed a basic entry level version similar to those offered by rivals Audi and BMW.
Standard equipment includes a tablet-style colour centre console display that is operated by the COMAND control wheel, though functions can also be performed on a touchpad which sits above it. It might look a little crowded but it works well.
Other standard features include artificial leather, which is pretty much on a par with the real thing, and a powered tailgate. The cabin is roomy and comfortable and a generous amount of boot space completes a family-friendly practical package. With the seats up it offers 490 litres or 1,510 litres when they're folded.
The C-Class utilises Mercedes' new Modular Rear-drive Architecture, which sees aluminium utilised as part of the structure to deliver a weight saving of around 100kg.
The latest C-Class possesses the traditional glide-like ride quality Mercedes has become renowned for, soaking up the lumps, bumps and potholes with aplomb. For those who wish to up comfort levels a notch the optional air suspension at £895 is perhaps worthy of consideration.