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
A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a huge 11.9-inch infotainment display take pride of place across the dash, and control of many of the vehicle functions. The graphics are clear, but the system can feel a little busy and be a touch confusing to use manually, which is why the upgraded ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control function is more useful than ever.
As an example of having too much information, we found the ‘augmented reality’ system brings up a front camera view in the central screen which obscures the map that you’re following directions from. It’s a function that’s standard with the Premium pack, and perhaps another reason to err towards Sport or possibly AMG Line models.
Live music streaming services are now available on board, allowing owners to hook up to services such as Spotify and play songs via the car’s infotainment set-up, while the latest MBUX system means that over-the-air updates will now download automatically.
In this review
- 1VerdictA 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 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