Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Interior design looks attractive
  • Build quality not quite as good as an A4’s
  • Lots of kit and upmarket feel overall, though

Inside, the C-Class looks great, with an upmarket dashboard with plenty of appealing materials and neat design details. The quality on the whole is very good, but once you start poking less visible bits of the trim, some plastics can creak – an Audi A4 feels much more solid and plush compared with the Mercedes. The C-Class doesn't feel cheap, there's just less variety of material throughout the cabin.

The infotainment screen is clear and well placed on the dashboard, with a choice of screen sizes dependent on the infotainment system you opt for and age of C-Class you're looking at.

It’s controlled via a rotary controller, with a touchpad sitting above it which, while intuitive enough, it isn’t quite as easy to use as Audi’s MMI or BMW’s iDrive systems on first encounter. You sit nice and low in the C-Class, and the way the dashboard and centre console surround the driver make for a pleasant interior with easily-memorised controls.

No poor relation in the C-Class range

Due to the overall consistency of the C-Class' interior, you don't feel like you got the stripped out 'cheap' model at the most affordable end of the range, but the trade-off for that is that even the AMG C 63 S looks very similar to a typical C 200 d AMG Line at first glance. You'll get a sportier steering wheel and grippier seats, but there's little to distinguish the most luxurious versions.

All the good stuff is tucked away in the menus, software and under the bonnet, but it does mean you have fewer personalisation options compared to some rivals if you go for the highest-performance C-Class.

Comfort

  • Impressive ride comfort on most models
  • Air suspension really improves things
  • Refined and quiet drive, engine note disappointing

Mercedes-Benz is known for building exceptionally comfortable cars, and the C-Class delivers,. It’s one of the most comfortable compact executive cars in the class, as long as you spec the car in a particular way. Even in standard set-up with steel spring suspension, it deals with bumps in the road well, although versions fitted with larger alloy wheels can become upset over the worst imperfections on the road. It’s never too jarring or uncomfortable, though.

If you want the option of tweaking the comfort, adaptive suspension can be specified from the options list, and is an effective way of boosting the overall refinement of the car.

Air suspension is a worthwhile option

Similarly, air suspension – badged Airmatic – can be added at extra cost, which turns the C-Class into the supplest of executive saloons. Compounding this comfort are very suportive seats all-round with plenty of adjustment, meaning long-distance comfort is very good indeed. It doesn’t have it all sewn up, though, as the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series are equally as impressive while being a little sharper to drive. Some diesel engines can be a little clattery, though, while there’s a little wind noise around the door mirrors.

The new EQ-boost engine in the C 200 is certainly capable of delivering performance and impressive economy for gentle drivers. But it’s lacking in refinement, both in terms of levels of noise and the quality of the engine note. The same can also be said for the big four-cylinder petrol engine in the C 300. It’s a comfortable car all told and the engine noise levels are low, but it also lacks refinement, and compared with its rivals, sounds very disappointing.

Comfort: C 63 Saloon

While admittedly a car that's capable of supercar performance, the C 63 isn't too uncomfortable either. It uses a steel adaptive suspension setup and as such isn't anywhere near as wallowy as the E 63 - which uses air springs - can feel. The drive modes help here, because you can soften the engine ferocity, exhaust volume, gear change speed, steering weight and suspension damping separately or at the same time using the Comfort drive mode.