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 - £49,610

Pros

  • Stunning interior
  • Comfortable
  • Technology

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.

Best company cars

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. 

A C 300 e plug-in hybrid is also on the way, with 302bhp thanks to its petrol engine and electric motor. It also boasts a much bigger 25.4kWh battery than before, seeing its EV range shoot up from around 30 miles to 64 miles, which should slash its emissions to the delight of business users.

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

Recommended

Best self-parking cars
DS 3 Crossback
Best cars
16 Jul 2021

Best self-parking cars

Mercedes C-Class Estate review
Mercedes C-Class Estate
Mercedes C-Class Estate
14 Jul 2021

Mercedes C-Class Estate review

Volkswagen Passat saloon
Volkswagen Passat saloon
Volkswagen Passat
8 Jul 2021

Volkswagen Passat saloon

Lexus IS saloon review (2013-2020)
Lexus IS cutout
Lexus IS
23 Jun 2021

Lexus IS saloon review (2013-2020)

Have You Considered

Mercedes C-Class saloon review (2014-2021)
Mercedes C-Class saloon review
Mercedes C-Class saloon
13 Jan 2021

Mercedes C-Class saloon review (2014-2021)

Most Popular

Best automatic cars
Blue BMW 3 Series driving
Best cars
21 Jul 2021

Best automatic cars

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Hybrid vs plug-in hybrid vs electric cars
Hybrid vs plug-in hybrid vs electric cars
Tips and advice
6 Jul 2021

Hybrid vs plug-in hybrid vs electric cars

More on C-Class

Best self-parking cars
DS 3 Crossback
Best cars
16 Jul 2021

Best self-parking cars

We name the 10 best cars with self-parking technology, so read on to find out which cars take the stress out of parking
Mercedes C-Class Estate review
Mercedes C-Class Estate
Mercedes C-Class Estate
14 Jul 2021

Mercedes C-Class Estate review

"The Mercedes C-Class Estate is a comfortable and luxurious way to transport passengers and their luggage"
Best convertibles
2021 MINI Convertible driving with roof down
Best cars
30 Jun 2021

Best convertibles

The best convertibles aren't just toys for the summer, they can be used all year round. Here's our definitive guide to the drop-tops that offer the be…
Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

Our top 10 rundown details the best and most fuel-efficient cars on sale today
New Mercedes C-Class range breaks cover
2021 Mercedes C-Class driving
Mercedes C-Class
23 Feb 2021

New Mercedes C-Class range breaks cover

Latest Mercedes C-Class generation officially revealed; plug-in hybrid will manage 62-mile electric range
Mercedes C-Class saloon review (2014-2021)
Mercedes C-Class saloon review
Mercedes C-Class saloon
13 Jan 2021

Mercedes C-Class saloon review (2014-2021)

"The Mercedes C-Class is more comfortable, luxurious and efficient than ever before, and a thorough facelift has added the latest technology"
2021 Mercedes C-Class Estate in development
Spy shot of secretly tested future car
Mercedes C-Class
22 Jul 2020

2021 Mercedes C-Class Estate in development

Practical C-Class Estate due next year to rival BMW 3 Series Touring
Mercedes C-Class Estate review
Mercedes C-Class Estate
Mercedes C-Class Estate
19 May 2020

Mercedes C-Class Estate review

"The Mercedes C-Class Estate is a stylish, comfortable and practical family car"
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
30 Mar 2020

Mercedes C-Class Coupe

“The Mercedes C-Class Coupe is more attractive than ever and better to drive, but it’s expensive, too”
Top 3 practical used cars for £18,000: Peugeot 3008, Mercedes C-Class Estate, Skoda Superb Estate
Peugeot 3008
8 Nov 2018

Top 3 practical used cars for £18,000: Peugeot 3008, Mercedes C-Class Estate, Skoda Superb Estate

"I need a practical car for golf clubs and luggage now I've retired. What will £18,000 buy me?"
Mercedes C 300 de hybrid
Mercedes C-Class hybrid
10 Oct 2018

Mercedes C 300 de hybrid

"The Mercedes C 300 de bucks the trend by pairing plug-in hybrid technology with a modern diesel engine, to great effect"
BMW 3 Series vs Audi A4 vs Mercedes C-Class vs Jaguar XE
BMW 3 Series
3 Oct 2018

BMW 3 Series vs Audi A4 vs Mercedes C-Class vs Jaguar XE

We compare the four of the best compact executive salons you can buy
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
17 Aug 2018

Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet

“If you’re after a refined, classy four-seat convertible, then the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet could well be for you”
Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe review
Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe
Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe
3 Aug 2018

Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe review

“Sharper handling means the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe now has what it takes to rival the BMW M4”
Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet: prices, specs, trims
Mercedes C-Class saloon
30 May 2018

Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet: prices, specs, trims

Prices and specifications have been announced for the revised Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet
Current Mercedes C-Class bows out with 'Nightfall Edition'
Mercedes C-Class
17 May 2018

Current Mercedes C-Class bows out with 'Nightfall Edition'

Sharp style and extra equipment for 'run-out' C-Class trim level
Tweaked Mercedes-AMG C 63 bares its teeth
Mercedes C-Class saloon
27 Mar 2018

Tweaked Mercedes-AMG C 63 bares its teeth

Sharper style, more gears and greater fun for updated C 63
Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate
Mercedes C63 AMG Estate
20 Dec 2017

Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate

"The Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate offers the same muscular appeal as the saloon, but with more flexibility and, arguably, better looks"
Mercedes recalls 400,000 cars for faulty steering-wheel part
Mercedes A-Class hatchback
16 Oct 2017

Mercedes recalls 400,000 cars for faulty steering-wheel part

Mercedes recalls 400,000 cars in the UK for potentially faulty ‘clock spring’, which could cause airbag to deploy
Mercedes matches BMW’s £2,000 diesel trade-in bonus
Smart ForFour ED hatchback
16 Aug 2017

Mercedes matches BMW’s £2,000 diesel trade-in bonus

Mercedes will give you £2,000 towards a new car in exchange for older diesel models
Mercedes C350e hybrid (2017-2018)
Mercedes C-Class hybrid
2 Aug 2017

Mercedes C350e hybrid (2017-2018)

“The Mercedes C350e plug-in hybrid has all the excellent qualities of the C-Class, with big savings for company-car drivers”
Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet
Mercedes C63 AMG Cabriolet
22 Jun 2016

Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet

"With the sound and performance of a supercar but the civility of a four-seat convertible, the Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet is a great all-rounder"
New 2016 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet revealed in full
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
10 Jun 2016

New 2016 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet revealed in full

Orders have opened for the new drop top Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
6 May 2021

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks