Mercedes C-Class review
A quality interior, great efficiency and strong on-board tech mean that the Mercedes C-Class is a hugely 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 sharp styling, heavily inspired by its bigger E-Class sibling, outstanding levels of comfort and strong on-board technology. The exceptional interior quality also puts much more expensive models to shame.
If you factor in the improved efficiency of the mild-hybrid petrol and diesel versions, not to mention the plug-in hybrid C 300 e’s pure-electric range of nearly 70 miles, 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. The brand 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 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 nine-speed auto gearbox as standard.
Car group tests
- Mercedes C 220 d Estate vs BMW 330e Touring vs Hyundai Ioniq 5: 2022 group test review
- Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3 Series: 2021 group test review
- New Mercedes-AMG C 43 2023 review
- New Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance 2023 review
- Mercedes C 300 d Estate 2022 review
- New Mercedes-AMG C 43 Estate 2022 review
- New Mercedes C 300 e 2022 review
Used car tests
By far the most efficient model in the C-Class line-up is the C 300 e petrol plug-in hybrid, which offers a claimed 68 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 entry-level Sport specification is no longer available, so the entry point to ownership is now the popular AMG Line trim which can be upgraded with Premium and Premium Plus packs.
Competition to win over buyers in the executive saloon market is stronger than ever. The C-Class still has the usual BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 to contend with, but rivals from further afield are hotting up, too. The Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE both look fantastic and are great fun to drive, while Korean luxury brand Genesis also offers an intriguing alternative with its G70.
Pure-electric models offer further opposition to the executive saloon establishment, with models such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Polestar 2 all delivering low running costs and eye-catching looks. The Tesla Model 3 also has a level of brand appeal that’s strong enough to meet the C-Class head on.
Used and nearly new
Buying a used Mercedes C-Class means you'll benefit from superb comfort, decent levels of kit and a classy looking interior. Nearly new cars will still be relatively expensive to buy, while the C-Class can be pretty costly to run, with insurance premiums and servicing costs reflecting the fact that it's a premium compact executive car.
There should be lots of examples to choose from as the C-Class has always sold well in the UK, but make sure, as ever, that your purchase comes with a good history and evidence of servicing and maintenance.
Mercedes C-Class history
Mercedes C-Class Mk4: 2014-2021
The Mk4 Mercedes C-Class will definitely appeal to those looking for a capable compact executive car. Available as either a saloon, estate, coupe or convertible model, the C-Class offers a sense of style and relatively-affordable luxury that more mainstream rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat just can't match.
The C-Class range was given a refresh in 2018 where, alongside some subtle exterior tweaks, new C300e petrol and C300de diesel plug-in hybrids were introduced offering improved fuel economy and tax savings for company car drivers. Read our full Mk4 Mercedes C-Class buyer’s guide here…
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingA quality interior, great efficiency and strong on-board tech mean that the Mercedes C-Class is a hugely 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 the 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