In-depth reviews

Mercedes C-Class saloon review

"The Mercedes C-Class is a desirable car with a fantastic interior that's now electrified to improve efficiency"

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Price
£28,035 - £51,120

Pros

  • Stunning interior
  • Comfortable
  • Electric range of plug-in hybrid

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Running costs
  • BMW 3 Series still better to drive

The arrival of a new Mercedes C-Class is always significant and Mercedes was arguably under more pressure than ever with this latest version thanks to the company-car market's rapid move away from diesel and petrol power.

Top 10 best company cars 2021

In response, every C-Class now has some form of electrification, either with mild-hybrid assistance or a plug-in hybrid powertrain to help stave off electric rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 - cars that didn't even exist a few years ago. Aside from what’s under the bonnet, there are still plenty of reasons to choose a C-Class, even ahead of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4

For a start, its subtly evolved exterior design and the three-pointed star badge hold plenty of appeal. It now looks more closely aligned with the Mercedes E-Class and S-Class, with a wide grille, angular LED headlights and sculpted bonnet. At the rear, there are widened LED lights and the whole car is purposeful without being too brash or ostentatious.

If the exterior draws you in, the interior is likely to fully win you over. The quality of materials is stunning, and the C-Class now looks cutting-edge thanks to its tablet-style displays for both the driving displays and infotainment. Attractive seats, sculpted oval air vents and fibre-optic interior lighting are all part of the eye candy, while an improved voice recognition system can understand more requests with greater speed to help minimise distractions.

The core engine range consists of mild-hybrid petrol and diesels, including the C 220 d and C 300 d, which return around 45mpg, offer plenty of performance and should suit high-mileage drivers. Both are rear-wheel drive and the C-Class comes with a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard. 

Private buyers and some company-car drivers may also be tempted by one of the petrol engines, which are badged C 180, C 200 and C 300 with 168bhp, 201bhp and 254bhp respectively. Both the C 200 and C 300 can also be specified with four-wheel drive, although this makes them slightly less efficient. The C 300 is the fastest version, with a 0-62mph time of six seconds and a 155mph top speed. 

It's the C 300 e plug-in hybrid that makes the most appealing company car. The latest version has a much bigger, 25.4kWh battery than the previous one, which sees electric range increase from around 30 to 64 miles, which should slash its emissions too. It also has a healthy 302bhp thanks to the combined efforts of its petrol engine and electric motor.

The C-Class still has a chassis tuned slightly more for comfort than the BMW 3 Series, which was evident in our test drive of a C 220 d. Despite this slightly softer edge, improved steering and good body control means the Mercedes feels closer to its BMW rival than ever in the dynamics department.

It all adds up to a car that’s even more complete than before. While newcomers and traditional rivals alike can offer advantages in one area or another, few appeal to both the head and the heart as strongly as the C-Class.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    C180 S 4dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £28,035

Most Economical

  • Name
    C300e Sport Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,074

Fastest

  • Name
    C300e Sport Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,074

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