Hello, all. My girlfriend and I live in Paris, France, but we make regular trips to Romania (where she’s from). Lately we’ve been doing this by car with an overnight stop in Passau, Germany, since this usually costs less than flying and doesn’t seem to produce more CO2 emissions. The trip takes about 20 hours on the road, all but 20 km of it on high-speed motorways. Our present car is a Citroën C1, bought to teach her how to drive (late starter) and to figure out if owning a car makes any sense for us. (We very nearly got an old W 201 instead!) Turns out we use it mostly for long trips out of town, with very little driving in Paris proper. So it’s not an especially suitable car for our needs, though we appreciate its fuel economy/emissions, ease of parking, and low running costs. To cut a long story short, we reckon we could skip the hotel stay if we had a car that ensconced us in comfort and could cruise at 130–150 km/h with lower noise and greater stability than our C1. That would take the journey time down to about 17 hours, which is safely doable with two drivers taking shifts. We would also use the car for other long journeys around France and farther afield. If we got a new car, we’d want to keep it for a long time – at least 10 years and maybe 20. Although we do long journeys, we don’t do high mileage: roughly 12,000 km per year. Maybe that would change if we had a nicer car, but not by much. I am particular about maintenance and do some simple work myself (e.g. changing brake discs on our C1). Reasonable running costs and few surprise bills are important to us. I was thinking a C-Class, new or used, would make some sense. We’re not into cars as status symbols and have no interest in things like big wheels (quite the opposite – I want tyres with high sidewalls for comfort), high engine power, or electronic doodahs. I appreciate good engineering, by which I mean fitness for purpose: comfort, fuel economy, reliability, durability, active and passive safety, driving pleasure on real roads rather than a track, etc. Given the uncertainty surrounding regulation of diesel emissions in big European cities like Paris, plus diesel’s driving characteristics and potentially high maintenance costs, we’d prefer a petrol engine. People recommend diesels for long journeys, but I’m not sure why since the economy gap closes significantly in extra-urban driving – so much so that petrols sometimes have lower CO2 emissions in cruise, i.e. burn less fuel by weight. Would a new petrol make sense for us? What about a petrol C-Class from a few years ago? Old diesels are out of the question because of their filth, but we might consider a new one if it makes overwhelming sense. We would do a lot of high-speed driving, where aerodynamics are important for economy and quietness. When looking at used C-Class models, is there a year when aerodynamics made a major leap, or is it just a case of steady progression from the W 201 to today’s W 205? Are the petrol engines in the cheaper C-Class models made by Renault? (I remember reading about a possible technology-sharing deal a while ago.) Regardless, are they worth looking at? I’m talking about the C 160 and C 180 available in France. Not sure these are sold in the UK. Would the CLA be worth considering for our sort of usage? I know it’s not rear wheel drive. Any other comments welcome. Cheers!