Mercedes C-Class saloon
Price £26,855 - £35,510
- Cheaper to run than before
- Classy new interior
- Comfortable suspension
- High-power diesel too noisy
- Styling is conservative
- Limited choice from launch
At a glance
“The new Mercedes C-Class is classier, more comfortable and even cheaper to run than the old model.”
Think of the new Mercedes C-Class as a mini version of the top-of-the-range Mercedes S-Class and you’ll not go far wrong. Mercedes has given the car a luxurious interior, lots of clever equipment and the option to purchase yet more. As a small executive saloon, the C-Class competes with models such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Lexus IS.
Right now, the C-Class can be fitted with a choice of one 2.0-litre petrol engine or two 2.1-litre diesels badged C220 BlueTEC and the more powerful C250 BlueTEC. The diesels have excellent economy, but are also quite noisy in a car like this. The range will soon be joined by a petrol-electric hybrid and, for the first time in the UK, buyers can also opt for grippy four-wheel drive.
The new Mercedes C-Class can be chosen in three trims - SE, Sport, and AMG Line. All models come with alloy wheels, synthetic leather interior, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and wipers, cruise control and a seven-inch colour display.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Economy is up by 20 per cent across the range
The C220 BlueTEC is the most economical Mercedes C-Class on sale today. When mated with the six-speed manual gearbox (you can also choose a seven-speed automatic) it can return 70.6mpg. CO2 emissions are also very low and the car's 103g/km rating means that road tax is just £20 a year. The car also has a low 16 per cent BiK (Benefit in Kind) rating that makes it very attractive to company car drivers.
The C250 BlueTEC is faster, yet still manages 65mpg and emissions of 123g/km for road tax that's £110 every year after. The C200 petrol achieves exactly the same CO2 emissions, so costs the same to tax, and returns 53.3mpg.
By September the Mercedes will be available with an even more economical C200 diesel and the fast C300 diesel-electric hybrid, which will deliver up to 72mpg.
Insurance for the C-Class runs from group 29 in the C200 petrol to group 34 in the C250 diesel.
Interior & comfort
Interior is relaxing and quiet, but old engine is noisy
The interior in the new Mercedes C-Class is one of the car's best features. Fit and finish is excellent and the design looks smart, too. Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy thanks to reach and rake adjustment on the steering wheel, and height adjustment on the driver's seat.
The car is extremely quiet to travel in, but that does have the negative effect of making the diesel engines sound noisier than they should do in a car like this.
Mercedes is the first manufacturer to offer air-suspension (a £900 option) in a car of this class. In effect it means the C-Class floats on a cushion of air and the setup is adjustable for more comfort or added poise. Even the standard SE model does a good job of absorbing bumps on the road. Sport and AMG Line cars get larger alloy wheels and stiffer suspension, so it makes sense to try out all three suspension options to find out which is best for you. All C-Class come with a reversing camera to help with parking.
Practicality & boot space
Boot space is up, but some might find the rear seats tight.
Mercedes has made the new C-Class longer and wider than the car it replaces. Space up front is excellent, and we also found the pedals are not as offset as they were in the old model. Leg and shoulder room in the back should also be fine for most adults, but the C-Class sloping roofline eat into rear-seat headroom.
Boot space is also up 5 litres from the old model to give 480 litres in total, but only Sport and AMG models get 60:40 split rear seats as standard. It's a £900 cost option on SE models with the Executive Pack. It includes heated seats and sat-nav. As with most saloons, the Mercedes suffers from a high load lip, which you’ll have to lift heavy items over. The boot opening is large, but not as big as that offered by the BMW 3 Series GT.
Storage spaces include door bins and a number of useful cubbyholes in the dashboard.
Reliability & safety
The C-Class should be reliable and very safe.
The new Mercedes C-Class only went on sale this year, so it has yet to feature in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. In our 2014 manufacturers’ rankings Mercedes came 9th out 33 firms, just ahead of BMW but behind premium marques such as Jaguar and Lexus. The C-Class also uses engines that are already employed across the Mercedes range, therefore they should be tried, tested and free from problems.
No matter which one you choose, all Mercedes C-Class model come with a huge assortment of safety features including Attention Assist, which warns the driver when they need to take a rest, and Collision Prevention Assist, which can warn of an imminent collision. A tyre pressure monitor, automatic headlights, cruise control and a reversing camera are also included. With all those safety features, it is no surprise that the C-Class got the maximum five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP.
If you want even more safety features, Sport and AMG Line models fitted with an automatic gearbox can also be optioned with the Driving Assistance pack. It adds features such as adaptive cruise control that matches the speed of the car in front, a blind-spot warning sensor, and Lane Keep assist, which is able to gently steer the car in lane.
Engines, drive & performance
C-Class is quick and economical
Mercedes has managed to make the C-Class 100kg lighter than the old model. As a result, it now feels more agile in the corners and more enjoyable to drive. Drivers can also choose between four modes - Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport+. They make the car more comfortable or sportier to drive, depending on your mood.
For now all the engines are closely matched in terms of performance. Quickest is the C250 BlueTEC diesel that can get from 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds, while the C220 BlueTEC diesel does it in 7.7 seconds. Go for the C200 petrol and 0-62 mph takes 7.5 seconds. Fitting your C-Class with the seven-speed automatic gearbox also makes it slightly quicker.
In the future, the C-Class will be available with the C300 hybrid, which will be even faster. A performance orientated AMG model is also planned, which will give the C-Class near-supercar performance.
Price, value for money & options
Extremely efficient, but quite expensive to buy
The Mercedes may have a high asking price, but it does come with plenty of equipment including a leather interior, dual-zone climate control and a seven-inch TFT display. C-Class Sport models add 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, lowered suspension, sat-nav, and chrome exterior trim. AMG Line models get 18-inch alloy wheels, an AMG body kit, sports suspension, a sports steering wheel, and a leather finish on the top of the dashboard.
Buyers can also choose from a range of packs including the Executive Pack (£995) that adds sat-nav, heated front seats, and split-folding rear seats. The Premium Pack (£1,595) brings a panoramic sunroof, electrically adjustable front seats, and an ambient lighting pack. If you value ultimate comfort we would recommend choosing the £895 air suspension.
Although the Mercedes is an expensive car to buy, used values should stay high and the car will hold its value better than the equivalent models from BMW and Jaguar.
What the others say
"Mercedes has added lots more equipment to lure in new buyers, so spec-for-spec, the new model is actually better value than before. This is especially true when you consider that Mercedes claims improvements to the engines mean it’s also up to 20 per cent more fuel-efficient."
"In all settings the steering is linear and accurate, but again the best weighting is in Comfort, except at low speeds where the Direct Steer system changes its ratio so you end up swooping into side turnings like an 18-year-old hooligan until you get used to it. The brakes are nicely judged, too, with firm initial bite and progressive feel to the pedal so you can stop gently at all speeds."