Mercedes C-Class review
A quality interior, great efficiency and strong on-board tech mean that the Mercedes C-Class is a deeply impressive compact executive saloon
The latest Mercedes C-Class saloon has given buyers looking for a compact executive car much to think about. It offers a sharp new look, heavily inspired by its bigger E-Class sibling, outstanding levels of comfort and strong on-board technology. All this, plus the C-Class features interior quality that puts much more expensive models to shame.
If you factor in the improved efficiency of the mild-hybrid petrol and diesel versions, along with the introduction of new plug-in hybrid models, the C-Class makes a compelling case for itself and should be one to consider.
About the Mercedes C-Class
Over recent years, the popularity of traditional petrol and diesel saloon cars like the Mercedes C-Class has been on the wane. High-riding SUVs continue to capture the hearts of buyers, and it’s a trend that hasn’t been lost on Mercedes, because it has redoubled its efforts with the latest C-Class to deliver improvements across key areas to help it stay competitive. Exterior styling, on-board tech, ride and comfort have all been thoroughly revised, while the most appealing update for cost-conscious buyers will be the introduction of new mild- and plug-in hybrid models.
The C-Class engine range is made up of four-cylinder petrol and diesel units, all featuring 48-volt mild hybrid assistance to help improve efficiency. The entry C 200 has a 1.5-litre petrol powerplant developing a healthy 201bhp, although you can upgrade to the more potent 2.0-litre C 300 with 254bhp. Diesel power for Mercedes’ executive saloon consists of the 197bhp C 220 d, and the C 300 d which produces 261bhp. All use a standard nine-speed auto gearbox.
By far the most efficient models in the C-Class line-up, the C 300 e petrol and C 300 de diesel plug-in hybrids offer around 60 miles of all-electric drive and, provided you regularly top up the 25.4kWh battery, should drastically cut down on visits to the fuel station.
Mercedes has kept the trim line-up for the new C-Class pretty straightforward and easy to understand: the familiar Sport specification is the entry point to ownership, followed by the popular AMG Line which can be upgraded with Premium and Premium Plus packs.
Competition to win over buyers in the executive saloon market is stronger than ever, with the C-Class not only facing up to German rivals the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, but also rivals such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE which look fantastic and are great fun to drive. The Volvo S60 offers its own brand of subtle, sporting luxury with powerful petrol engines and the advantages of plug-in hybrid technology, while the Genesis G70 is a Korean newcomer that’s an intriguing alternative.
New pure-electric models offer further opposition to the executive saloon establishment, with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Polestar 2 all delivering low running costs, while the Tesla Model 3 has brand appeal strong enough to meet the C-Class head on.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingA quality interior, great efficiency and strong on-board tech mean that the Mercedes C-Class is a deeply impressive compact executive saloon
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe C-Class offers a range of capable engines, with an appealing blend of power and efficiency
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsRunning costs should be greatly reduced if you opt for a C-Class plug-in hybrid model
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe interior quality and on-board tech in the Mercedes C-Class is simply stunning
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Mercedes C-Class offers a roomier cabin and excellent comfort, but boot space isn’t as practical as close rivals
- 6Reliability and safetyMercedes offers exceptional standard safety kit for the C-Class, while customer feedback is improving