In-depth reviews

Mercedes C-Class review - Interior, design and technology

The interior quality and on-board tech in the Mercedes C-Class is simply stunning

With increasing competition from stylish SUVs and the clean-sheet designs of modern all-electric rivals turning the heads of potential buyers, Mercedes has decided now is the right time to significantly overhaul its C-Class compact executive. 

Based on a heavily reworked version of the previous model’s Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) platform, the new 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 cleaner 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.

Opting for AMG Line specification is 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, but the cheaper Sport models certainly don’t skimp on levels of kit. 

The entry C-Class 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.

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 to 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.

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