The Mercedes C-Class covers all the important saloon bases. It’s comfortable, cheap to run and comes with a posh interior, but alternatives are roomier and it’s not much fun to drive
The new Mercedes C-Class is a small saloon that makes a classy company car and a comfortable family motorway cruiser. It comes with plenty of high-tech features, and can also be had as a more practical estate, a swoopy coupe and a drop-top cabriolet model.
To help it keep pace with the likes of the Jaguar XE, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, the C-Class was updated in 2018 with redesigned bumpers, two new engines and a vastly improved infotainment system.
The latter ditches the old model’s 8.4-inch display in favour of a sharper 10.25-inch item and an optional 12.3-inch screen that replaces conventional analogue dials. Together, these help the new Mercedes C-Class looks every bit as modern inside as the likes of the smart Audi A4.
Everything you touch feels solid, too, and you can get a range of glossy plastic, unvarnished wood and aluminium trims across the range. Sadly, you don’t get real leather as standard, but the man-made alternative feels almost as good.
What isn’t quite so nice, however, is the rear passenger space. There’s plenty of room and lots of seat adjustment in the front to help you get comfy, but the C-Class’ rather firm back seats and relatively low roof mean your taller friends would be better off in the back of an A4.
The C-Class might be a bit flashier than most executive saloons, but it backs up its eye-catching looks with a lovely interior and plenty of smooth engines
The C-Class claws back some points when you hit the road, however. It’s comfortable – even without the optional air suspension fitted – and its quiet cabin helps make long motorway drives as relaxing as possible.
If you do a lot of motorway driving, Mercedes’ new 2.0-litre diesel engine in the C220d will be right up your street. It’s impressively quiet for a diesel, perky enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic and returns decent fuel economy.
Spend more time pottering around town? Go for the C200 petrol instead. This uses a fairly modest 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine but comes with a built-in electric motor to boost fuel economy and performance. There’s also a pair of faster C300 and AMG C43 petrol performance models if you fancy something faster – the latter will sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds thanks to its 390hp V6.
Whichever model you pick, you get a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard and plenty of safety features designed to prevent avoidable collisions. Automatic emergency braking comes as standard on all models, and you can get an upgraded driver assistance package that’ll brake, accelerate and even steer for you on motorways for short periods.