Mercedes C-Class review - Interior, design and technology
The interior quality and on-board tech in the Mercedes C-Class is simply stunning
With serious competition from stylish SUVs and the clean-sheet designs of modern all-electric rivals turning the heads of potential buyers, Mercedes decided that a significant overhaul was necessary in order to keep up the appeal of its compact executive car.
Based on a heavily reworked version of the previous model’s Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) platform, the latest C-Class is bigger than before, although it has a lower roofline which helps to create a more purposeful, sportier stance. It’s a good looking car that takes design cues from its bigger E-Class sibling, such as the twin power bulges in the bonnet and the stronger shoulder lines.
It’s a look which should hold your attention and hopefully draw you to the interior, where the real improvements are clear to see. Plush materials and a first-class fit and finish to the cabin feel suitably premium, while the view forward from the driver’s seat is like sitting in a junior S-Class limo. The clean dashboard layout is dominated by a huge 11.9-inch infotainment screen, while a 12.3-inch digital instrument display is standard for all models.
Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, the Dynamic Select drive mode system, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a reversing camera and a wireless smartphone charging function.
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
The AMG Line specification is now the entry point into the range, but it’s still where most executive buyers will put their money because, as with BMW’s M Sport trim, it’s become a bit of a badge of honour in the company car park. The 18-inch AMG alloys, body kit, rear privacy glass and chrome accents generate a subtly aggressive look for the C-Class.
Upgrading to the Premium and Premium Plus versions adds bigger 19-inch wheels and extra tech such as a 360-degree camera system, a head-up display and four-zone climate control, along with a panoramic sunroof.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The latest MBUX set-up in the C-Class borrows tech from the S-Class limousine and even in this company, it feels incredibly slick. The 11.9-inch portrait display is standard on all models and it looks fantastic.
Functions are displayed three at a time on the intuitive main menu, with further options available by swiping left or right on the responsive touchscreen. Sat-nav destinations are easy to input thanks to a large on-screen keyboard, and routes load faster than in either rival. While there aren’t any physical climate controls, the large on-screen keys are easy to read, so it isn't too fiddly to adjust.
If you get lost in a deep sub-menu, the home page shortcut remains on screen, so it’s easy to get back out.
A driving-assist button is one of few physical keys, so you can toggle between various systems quickly.
In this review
- 1Mercedes C-Class reviewA 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 technology - currently readingThe 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