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A lesson on class

Mercedes-Benz C180


  • DAIRY COWS RELISHING CORN SILAGE – Photo shows the dairy cattle at the Isabela State University in Echague managed by Dr. Nilo Padilla eating corn silage. Silage making can ensure year-round supply of nutritious feed not only for dairy cattle but also for other livestock like carabaos, goats, sheep and even pigs. Aside from corn, various materials can be made into silage, including sorghum, Super Napier, rice straw, sugarcane tops and others.

  • CORN FOR SILAGE MAKING – One of the favorite materials for making silage is corn. The plants that are 75 to 80 days old are harvested and shredded including their ears to make highly nutritious silage. The shredded materials are fermented in air-tight containers that could include plastic drum, sacks lined with plastic, or trench in the ground for large scale production as in Farm Chokchai in Thailand.

  • CORN SILAGE IN PLASTIC-LINED SACK – Dr. Nilo Padilla shows a close-up of corn silage fermented in a sack lined with plastic. Dr. Padilla is in charge of the cattle-buffalo dairy project of Isabela State University in Echague town. The project serves as a showcase where agriculture students can experience taking care of dairy animals. It is also a testing ground for improved techniques of producing feed like silage.

  • SUPER NAPIER FOR SILAGE – Pakchong1 or Super Napier is a good candidate for silage making. It is a fast-growing variety developed in Thailand that is also highly nutritious – containing as much as 18 percent protein. Pakchong1 is a perennial plant that can be harvested for feed every 45 days.

  • MODIFIED FORAGE HARVESTER – This is the German-made rice and corn harvesting machine that was modified by Isabela technicians so that it can harvest forage crops at the same time shredding the same for making into silage. The modified machine is undergoing further testing for its performance so it can meet the standards of a farm machinery testing and evaluation center based in UP Los Baños. With the modified forage harvester is Oscar Mananintan, one of the owners of the Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Corporation.

    Text and photos by Eric Tipan

    As one of the most recognizable brand-logo combinations in the world, it would probably be difficult to finding someone who doesn’t know what Mercedes-Benz and its symbol, the three-pointed star, stands for. Be that as it may, knowing the different types of ‘classes’ and speaking fluent Mercedes-Benz is a totally different thing.

    From A to G, Mercedes-Benz practically has its own alphabet. We’ve got to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to do it than the letter C. Today’s lesson is all about the C180.


    New body, new look

    From the very first C-Class, each generation has literally and figuratively, smoothened out to what it is now. The unit I drove had the default bold grille with the central star (my personal choice) but buyers may opt for the classic look with the saloon radiator grille and Mercedes star on the bonnet.

    Gorgeous lines run along the bonnet down to the headlamps with daytime running lamps (DRLs) that put a lot more emphasis — as if it needs it — on the sporty nose and the button logo on the bonnet.

    The C-pillar slopes further back, creating a statelier and roomier look for an otherwise basic compact saloon.

    To keep it upscale from front to back, the rear of the new C180 gets a makeover that will make even bootylicious Beyonce sing about it.

    Typically reserved for the higher-class saloons, the gentle curves and overall shape of the entire trunk adds loads of sophistication to the humble C-Class and it is perfectly finished by LED rear and brake lamps.


    High-class interior

    The inside is nothing you wouldn’t expect from luxury vehicle — leather on the seats, steering wheel, door panels and center console. An elegant glossy finish is used on the center partition and its large compartment, including the air-conditioning controls and the triple center vents.

    Sitting atop is a sizable seven-inch screen with settings for the infotainment system and various vehicle systems. Controlled by the rotary dial found on the center console, it has an extensive set of menu items that may take a little getting used to.

    To keep it classy, each compartment cover doesn’t simply unlatch itself like any other compact saloon. Whether it’s the one on the center console, the glove box or the little cubbyhole for mobile devices, it doesn’t just spring open but instead gently releases its cover.

    Really a minor detail in the whole scheme of things but at Php 2.990 million, it is added value for your money.

    The 80mm addition to the wheelbase clearly makes a difference in terms of second-row space. There’s visible and tangible enough legroom to make this worthy enough for a young executive.


    Power to the C

    The C180 uses a 1.6L turbocharged engine with 156 PS and 250 Nm of torque and it is mated to a 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission with four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

    With each of the driving modes self-explanatory, let’s focus on its automatic transmission. If you’re used to the Japanese transmission knob design, the C180 will catch you by surprise.

    A right-hand stem behind the steering wheel is used to shift between, Park, Drive and Reverse, which gives designers more freedom to redesign the center console. Paddleshifters can also be used for a more hands-on driving experience.

    Using the new MRA (Modular Rear Architecture), the C180 uses aluminum and high-strength steel to make the body at least 220 pounds lighter.

    That, combined with the engine output equals an athletic drive that will not fail any average driver’s expectation of a Mercedes-Benz or the C180.

    It is fast when it needs to be and can dive into a turn in a controlled manner, granted the driver knows when to brake. There’s a certain amount of grace in the way it curves around sweeping corners and plenty of agility in bumper-to-bumper situations. The steering is on-point precise as well, letting me feel in control of the C180’s movements with every minute adjustment I made. Fuel returns in the short three-day combined setting is 7 kilometers per liter


    The C gets an A

    In terms of premium execution, the C is definitely ‘class’ all the way. From the ‘baby S-Class’ exterior to the leather-wrapped and shiny interior, all the way to its very capable powerplant and performance, the C180 doesn’t fall short, even from preconceived notions of the brand.

    If I had to nitpick, it could probably do better with a higher level of Noise, Vibration and Harshness in order to keep it above pedestrian level.

    Maybe I have fallen for the trap of asking for too much from an entry-level ‘Benz’, but such is the case for luxury, high-profile brands — people will ask for more.

    If you’re ready for the big upgrade to a European model, there’s probably no better brand than Mercedes-Benz. Backed by a rich motoring heritage and global brand renown, starting yourself off with a C180 would be a wise and ‘classy’ investment.

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