Itís a tale as old as time, if you want a junior executive saloon car then youíll either have a BMW 3 Series, and Audi A4 or the Mercedes Benz C Class. However, this story is changing
This story is changing because these days the C Class doesnít just have its German rivals to worry about but itís also got to defend itself against Jaguarís XE. Itís also got to worry about smaller cars from the class below such as Audiís A3 saloon and even justify itself against good value rivals from the class above such as the BMW 5 Series. To compensate Mercedes has given the C Class a really stylish interior and a driver experience focussed on comfort. So, is it all worth it or is it that these days the C Class is simply outshone by stronger competition? Thatís what weíre going to try and answer in this short review.
First we need to take a look at how this car handles on UK roads. Thereís a staggering amount of choice when it comes to engines in the C Class saloon. It all kicks off with the C200 petrol. Then thereís a trio of diesels badged into C200 C220 and C250 Bluetec and even petrol-electric and diesel-electric hybrids. If thatís not enough then youíve also got a sporty C43 version and range topping C63 and C63S performance saloons too. For the purposes of this review we are testing the C250 Bluetec diesel which has more power than the recommended C220. It certainly feels punchier but unfortunately, itís no more refined which means that thereís plenty of noise and vibration coming into the interior. Overall the C220 is a better bet because it has enough power to keep you moving swiftly but is also fairly kind on running costs. The C Class isnít as inspiring to drive as its rivals from BMW, Audi or Jaguar. The steering has an inconsistent weighting and thereís quite a lot of body-roll through corners. In addition to this none of the standard suspension setup delivers a complete comfortable ride. Things do improve if you opt for the airmatic air suspension but even then the C Class still crashes over potholes.
On this car weíve got a smooth shifting 9-speed automatic gearbox. The gearbox itself can take care of most of the work very easily but you can take control using the paddles behind the steering wheel. So, if you find yourself on a lonely long country road then itís possible to have a bit of fun. You can choose from one of five different driving modes using a button on the central console. You can choose from Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Individual mode and finally an Eco mode. However, the changes they make are really minor. So minor that youíll find that itís best to leave the car in comfort which seems more suited to its nature.
The C Classís interior is certainly very nice and even taller drivers should have no trouble getting comfortable. This is thanks to a driver seat which adjusts electrically. The driverís controls are neatly located on the door so thereís no reaching down to the side of the seat unless you need to find the lumbar support. The steering wheels also adjusts electrically for height as well as for reach. Thereís a really good view out the front of the car but looking through the rear is hampered by the thick rear pillars and the relatively small rear window. Fortunately, every C Class comes with a reversing camera as standard and if you go for the Sport model then you also get front and rear parking sensors. You can also opt for a self-parking system which can do the job for you.
Whatís really nice about the interior is the way it looks. It certainly looks better than the more conservatively styled options that youíll find in the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series. If you go for a range topping AMG model and youíll get some nice imitation leather on the dashboard which is a really nice touch. However, as you start to prod and feel your way around the cabin you soon start to realise that itís not as well put together as its German rivals.
Every C Class right up to the range topping C63 gets a 7 inch screen mounted high up on the dashboard. Itís controlled by a rotary dial and touchpad combination on the central console. If you go for a sport or AMG line version then as standard you get a relatively crude Garmin Sat Nav. We would recommend upgrading to Mercedesís own command system which gets you a much greater and clearer display. Its features include a DAB radio along with two USB ports under the armrest.
Thereís certainly enough room to stretch out in the front of the C Class. Thereís plenty of leg room and head room even if you opt for the optional panoramic glass roof. Thereís a good amount of storage space on offer too with wide door pockets, a decent space under the central arm rest and a covered area at the base of the dashboard. Thereís also a decent size glovebox too. Move to the rear seats of the C Class and things do get a little more cramped. When sitting three adults across the back then you will find that youíre quite limited on space. Although you do get a large amount of leg room anyone relegated to the middle seat will have a quite high transmission tunnel to deal with which will limit their leg room.
In terms of boot space the C Class is on par with the BMW 3 Series which means you should easily be able to get a set of golf clubs in there along with some weekend shopping without any trouble. If you do need to extend the storage space further then you can get folding down seats which fold right down to reveal a nice flat loading floor.
As you might expect the C Class is priced competitively alongside the BMW 3 Series. It also makes good sense as a company car especially if you opt for a manual gearbox because this gets you lower Co2 emissions than many of its direct rivals. The official fuel economy figures stack up well too as does the C Class resale values. In fact, it continues to be good news right down to equipment because even entry level SE models get alloy wheels, leather seats, climate and cruise control and a reversing camera. For our money though we would upgrade to the Sport trim because this then gets you extras including sat nav, full LED headlights, heated front sport seats and all-round parking sensors. You can pay more for AMG line trims but the mainly cosmetic changes it brings doesnít justify its higher price tag. Every C Class gets automatic emergency braking as standard.
Thereís plenty to like about the Mercedes Benz C Class. Its interior looks very stylish and its low Co2 emissions and generous standard equipment only sweeten the deal. Ultimately, we still prefer the more rounded A4 in this market but the C Class is a very credible alternative. If youíre in the market for a new or used Mercedes Benz C Class then look no further than DesperateSeller.co.uk!