In-depth Reviews

Mercedes C-Class saloon

"The Mercedes C-Class is more comfortable, luxurious and efficient than ever before, and a thorough facelift has added the latest technology"  

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Used car deals
Owners Rating

3.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • Classy new interior
  • Comfortable suspension

Cons

  • Fastest diesel is too noisy
  • Slightly cramped rear seats
  • Limited choice of models

Mercedes began competing for honours in the compact executive class in 1983. The C-Class was first introduced 10 years later and was joined by the Audi A4 a year after, so that by 1994, both of these saloons were competing with the BMW 3 Series. It’s a battle that’s continued ever since.

These days, the C-Class has even more competition from non-German rivals. Italy, Sweden, Britain and Japan have all developed their own capable competitors in the form of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Volvo S60, Jaguar XE, and the Lexus IS respectively. Few can boast such a broad range of engines and equipment levels as the Mercedes, though, with fire-breathing power and fuel-sipping economy both existing within the C-Class range.

Best executive cars you can buy today

That became even more the case from mid-2018 onwards, when Mercedes began introducing its EQ range of electrified models, along with a raft of new interior features. Despite subtle design changes, Mercedes promised this midlife revamp was the most comprehensive in the history of the C-Class, and included 6,500 new parts.

We'll start with economy and the new 1.5-litre EQ Boost petrol mild-hybrid, badged C 200. This compact engine produces 181bhp, but a generator harnesses energy under braking and can boost power by 14bhp when you put your foot down again. This makes it quick enough for most drivers and means it can return 44.1mpg according to the latest WLTP efficiency tests.

In C 220 d diesel form, the C-Class is claimed to return up to 55.4mpg and emit as little as 133g/km of CO2, appealing to company-car drivers with its reasonably low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band.

If economy is the last thing on your mind, you might prefer something from the opposite end of the price list. If you hanker for a 503bhp V8 petrol engine and four-second 0-62mph time, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S will oblige and we've reviewed it separately.

Whichever model you choose, you're unlikely to be disappointed by the driving experience. It might not have quite the sporty demeanour of a BMW 3 Series, but it's not far off, and offers a more relaxing drive to boot. There's a degree of adjustment available, too, with driving modes that sharpen up the steering and accelerator when you're in the mood for a little spirited driving. Every model has plenty of grip for fast cornering, and the 4MATIC four-wheel-drive system is standard on the Mercedes-AMG C43, giving greater security if the road surface turns loose or slippery – handy for rural drivers.

With the possible exception of cars equipped with the biggest 19-inch alloy wheels, the C-Class is among the most comfortable cars in its class, and its ride quality can be improved still further with optional Airmatic air suspension. It also provides the option of a firm setting that enthusiastic drivers will enjoy.

Trim levels range from SE all the way up to AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, with all UK cars getting a generous 10.25-inch infotainment display as standard. Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system received a major update in 2018 but digital instruments remain a pricier upgrade than in most rivals, and the C-Class misses out on the latest 'widescreen' infotainment setup of newer Mercedes models. All feel well built and are spacious for those in the front, although rear-seat space could be more generous. The C-Class is also generally very quiet inside on the move – although the lack of wind and road noise, has the unhappy effect of making the engines more audible, especially the diesels.

The C-Class range finished a disappointing 74th out of the 100 cars ranked in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, and it didn't appear in 2020's run-down. Euro NCAP has given it the full five stars for crash safety, though. Overall, the C-Class is a car with few vices, despite its placing in our survey. Some may be more exciting, but you'll struggle to find a more competent all-rounder.

Most Popular

New 2020 Kia Stonic SUV: prices and specs
2020 Kia Stonic - front 3/4 view dynamic
Kia Stonic
7 Oct 2020

New 2020 Kia Stonic SUV: prices and specs

Updated Jaguar XF launched
Jaguar XF
6 Oct 2020

Updated Jaguar XF launched

Updated Peugeot 5008 starts at £29,585
Peugeot 5008 SUV
9 Oct 2020

Updated Peugeot 5008 starts at £29,585

More on C-Class

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
Best convertibles
Best cars
2 Jul 2020

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…
Mercedes C-Class Estate
Mercedes C-Class Estate
19 May 2020

Mercedes C-Class Estate

"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”
Best self-parking cars 2020
Best cars
19 Dec 2019

Best self-parking cars 2020

We name the 10 best self-parking cars, so read on to find out which cars take the stress out of parking
Mercedes C-Class 2021: spy shots, details and release date
2021 Mercedes C-Class testing at the Nurburgring - front quarter
Mercedes C-Class
25 Apr 2019

Mercedes C-Class 2021: spy shots, details and release date

Spy shots give a first look at the next all-new Mercedes C-Class, due on sale in 2021
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
Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe
3 Aug 2018

Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe

“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
New Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupe revealed
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
24 Feb 2016

New Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupe revealed

New C 43 bridges the gap between regular C-Class Coupe and high-performance AMG version
Revised Mercedes SLK rebadged as SLC
Mercedes C-Class saloon
26 Jan 2016

Revised Mercedes SLK rebadged as SLC

Mercedes’ SLK roadster has received a mid-life facelift and a new name: the Mercedes SLC. Read on for full UK prices and specifications.
The week’s biggest car news: November 27, 2015
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
27 Nov 2015

The week’s biggest car news: November 27, 2015

The 10 things you need to know about the world of motoring over the last seven days