Great mid-liner offers excellent quality and comfort
- Comfortable and luxurious cabin
- Smooth engines
- Great auto gearbox
- Very comfortable
- Standard manual gearbox
- Air suspension costs extra
- Inert steering
- Servicing costs may be high
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon has been on sale since 2014, and is a popular sight on UK roads. With good reason – it looks good, has cutting-edge safety kit, and is available with some very tempting finance packages. Does that mean it's worth your attention?
In terms of the technology that underpins it, absolutely. It's so safe and fully equipped because it shares much of its technology with the company flagship, the impressive Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
What it's up against
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is competing in a very tough market sector. It's a rival to the popular BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 – as well as the less obviously default choices, such as the Jaguar XE, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Lexus IS.
But despite the arrival of newer rivals, the C-Class is still more comfortable and nicer inside all of the alternatives, even if its interior quality lags behind the Audi's. It’s as cheap to run as the best.
The C-Class does have its faults, though. The poor manual gearbox and utterly vague steering detract from a pure sporty driving experience. If you want comfort in your compact saloon, come here – if it's driver involvement you crave, head in Jaguar, Alfa Romeo or BMW's direction.
Choosing the best C-Class for you
The C-Class' attributes include a huge wealth of equipment for both safety and luxury, a more transparent ownership proposition and a suite of optional extras that make this car feel every inch the baby S-Class.
Two extras we’d urge any C-Class buyer to try before committing are the excellent air suspension (which dramatically improves comfort levels) and the head-up display (as seen on the BMW 3 Series) which shows sat-nav and speed limit information on the windscreen.
The Sport model seems to possess balance of equipment and cost, as you get larger 17-inch wheels, LED headlights (a hugely desirable addition), parking sensors, and an appealing interior package.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class engine choices
The C-Class was available initially with a choice of three engines and three trim levels: SE, Sport and AMG Line. From launch the new C-Class was be available with either a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol or a choice of 1.6- and 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesels.
All three will be available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes.
A further trio of engine variants – the diesel/electric hybrid, petrol plug-in hybrid, and 3.0-litre petrols – have subsequently been launched.
Lightweight, aerodynamic design
Some 100kg lighter than its predecessor, Mercedes-Benz claims the fourth-generation C-Class has the lightest bodyshell of the segment when it goes on sale, helped largely by the increased use of aluminium.
Weight loss played a key part in the design process and CO2 emissions have been reduced over the outgoing model as a result with the range now starting from as low as 103g/km for the C220 BlueTEC SE.
There’s an increased wheelbase too, which means rear passengers benefit from more space. It’s also a wider car than ever and longer overall too, and thus the boot has grown by 5.0 litres to 480 litres.
Beautiful cabin, full of tech
Sharing much of its interior quality and features with the recently launched S-Class, the new C-Class is luxurious inside and takes the premium saloon to new heights when it comes to refinement levels.
As well as featuring some of the advanced technologies available in the new S-Class, the C-Class also debuts a new touchpad system.
This clever bit of kit enables the driver to scroll through the different menus and select favourites all with the tips of your fingers.
Touchpad control for multimedia system
Built into the hand rest on the central control panel, the touchpad enables drivers to control all the functions in the same way we use smartphones and tablets. It also allows letters and numbers to be entered using the handwriting recognition tool – similar to the set-up we’ve seen on the Audi A3.
The display unit will be available for the first time as a 7.0-inch screen as standard with an 8.4-inch screen available as you move up the range.
There's a new optional GPS-based air conditioning system too. This can sense changes in environment such as entering a tunnel and change the characteristics of the air-conditioning accordingly.
The Parkers Verdict
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class deserves its popularity. It's a clear case of being fit-for-purpose, with a wide range of engines, power outputs, model variations, and optional extras.
As standard you can expect a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, heated windscreen wiper washers, a tyre pressure monitoring system and Collision Prevention Assist Plus.
It's available with some very low CO2 figures, and is tailored beautifully for business users. It's not the sharpest driver's car out there, and it really needs its brilliant Airmatic suspension system to be standard, but it should be your first choice if comfort and stress-free driving are what you're looking for.
Read on to find out more about the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
What owners say about this car
Looks great but that’s about it. Apart from the fact it’s not a German car anymore and made in South... Read owner review
The car was 8 months old and is on a 66 plate when it was purchased from a franchised dealer... Read owner review
My c class is made in South Africa,not in Germany.They won't tell you this when you buy the car.When I... Read owner review