Mercedes C-Class Saloon Review & Prices
The new 2021 Mercedes C-Class is hi-tech, comfy and packed with kit, bringing S-Class luxury for a lot less cash. It has a smaller boot than some alternatives, however
Find out more about the Mercedes C-Class Saloon
In the past, you would have picked the C-Class over those other two if you preferred comfort and luxury over sportiness. Where you could think of the athletic BMW as a pair of high-tech running shoes, the C-Class has always been more like a pair of expensive slippers.
But this new C-Class – just like every other Mercedes saloon – looks a fair bit sportier than it did before. In fact now more than ever, you could view the Mercedes saloon car range as a set of Russian dolls. The outside layer would obviously be the ultra-luxurious S-Class, but if you opened it up you’d find the E-Class, the C-Class and even the A-Class saloon all tucked away inside.
That miniaturised S-Class trend continues on the inside, too. The general look and feel of the cabin is seriously plush, thanks to an abundance of leather and the availability of some snazzy ambient lighting. There’s still the odd bit of cheaper-feeling plastic in the lower reaches of the cabin, but generally speaking it oozes visual pizazz.
Group Test: Audi A4 v BMW 3 Series v DS9 v Genesis G70 v Mercedes C-Class
Technology is also a strong point, as the large central touchscreen brings plenty of features including smartphone connectivity and voice control. It all looks futuristic, and the screen’s graphics are exceptionally clear and slick.
The C-Class’ cabin is more spacious than before as well, with more headroom and legroom in the second row. There’s plenty of adjustment in the front too, so four adults should easily be able to get comfortable on longer journeys. Its boot isn’t as big as in a BMW 3 Series, but there are a handful of practical touches and lots of storage space inside the car.
The engine range is good, with smooth and punchy motors that suit lots of different uses. If you do lots of motorway miles you’ll want to take a look at one of the diesels; while the plug-in hybrid model offers super low running costs if you charge it up regularly. There are a couple of more affordable four-cylinder petrol engines available, too.
The Mercedes C-Class is all about tech and comfort, so if you don’t need the sharp handling of a BMW 3 Series, it’s the saloon to buy
Which engine to go for depends on your needs. but most people will be best served with the C200 petrol or C220d diesel. The C300d is punchy but still a four-cylinder, so no more refined, while the C300e hybrid is clever and efficient if charged regularly, but pricey to buy.
The C-Class is comfortable too, dealing with lumps and bumps very well. It’s not as sharp to drive as a BMW 3 Series but it’s not too far off, so the new Mercedes is a better all-rounder than it was before.
If you want a saloon that’s comfortable and packed with the latest technology, the Mercedes C-Class is a great option. Check out our Mercedes C-Class deals page and our used Mercedes deals page to see how much you can save through carwow. You can also check out our sell my car feature, where you can completely change your car.
The Mercedes C-Class Saloon has a RRP range of £45,165 to £59,025. Prices start at £45,165 if paying cash. The price of a used Mercedes C-Class Saloon on carwow starts at £15,977.
Our most popular versions of the Mercedes C-Class Saloon are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|C200 AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic||£45,165||Compare offers|
|C220d AMG Line Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic||£48,410||Compare offers|
|C200 AMG Line Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic||£48,555||Compare offers|
The Mercedes C-Class gets close to being as comfortable as the luxury S-Class, although others are more fun on a twisting B-road
Driving the Mercedes C-Class feels like you're behind the wheel of an S-Class with stunted growth – it’s smaller, but the shared DNA is undeniable.
The C-Class floats over lumps and bumps in town like a full-sized luxury saloon. To back up the comfy suspension, you get light steering in Comfort mode and a nine-speed gearbox that changes gear so smoothly, you’ll wonder if its cogs have been dipped in butter. In fact, the serenity of the cabin is only disturbed by the car’s ventilation system, which is noisy even in its lowest fan setting.
Want even more relaxation? Then the C-Class can deliver. Its automated driving aids work in the city – as well as motorways and A-roads – allowing it to do the accelerating, braking and steering for you, for large swathes of the journey. Although, you do have to keep your hands on the steering wheel for it to work.
Despise parking? Then you’ll love the C-Class. All models come with parking sensors all round and a reversing camera, and if that’s not enough, you also get auto-park fitted as standard.
To keep the S-Class-only-smaller theme alive, though, you’ll want to go for an AMG Line Premium or AMG Line Premium Plus version of the C-Class, which come fitted with Merc’s 360-degree camera. Not only does it give you a stunning bird’s-eye view of your surroundings, it also augments a 3D image of the car onto the display. It’s mind-bogglingly clever, but also very useful.
On the motorway
The Mercedes C-Class gets the basics of long-distance driving just right.
For starters, you get seats that are brilliantly comfortable even after hours of driving. Then there’s the cabin, which is such a nice place to sit, it can single-handedly take the edge off being behind the wheel for long periods.
But it’s the way the C-Class drives that makes it so ideal for motorway work. Its controls are light and easy to use, its suspension is very comfortable and the relaxed steering makes it easy to keep the car dead centre of its lane.
Want to bolster the C-Class’ cruising ability with a trip to the options list? Get yourself the Driving Assistance Package Plus. Like all active cruise control, it can accelerate, brake and steer the C-Class on the motorway, but it also works in queues and stop-start traffic, can steer around accidents and adhere to speed limits – it’s one of the best systems fitted to a car like this.
On a twisty road
The Mercedes C-Class’ vague steering and soft suspension mean it doesn’t feel as sporty in corners as a BMW 3 Series, but then it’s designed to be more relaxing. Having said that, it has no shortage of grip and body lean is kept in check when going around corners..
Even in Sport Plus mode – the hottest of the car’s drive select settings – the C-Class’ suspension remains surprisingly comfortable when fitted with the optional adjustable suspension.
Premium levels of comfort are exhibited, although boot space isn’t the best, and takes a big hit with the hybrid model
Sitting in the Mercedes C-Class is like sitting in your reconditioned Herman Miller Aeron office chair – it feels modern and fresh yet strangely familiar to the old model.
Getting a comfortable driving position in the C-Class is beyond easy because, well, the seats are so darn comfortable and all models offer full electric steering wheel and seat adjustment – including lumbar adjustment and extendable thigh support. The front seats are also heated.
There’s no shortage of smaller storage areas either. You get two cup holders hidden under a cover in the centre console and they grip your drink to stop spillages. There’s more storage below the centre armrest. You also get a phone-sized tray (big enough for big phones) that totes two USB-C plugs and a wireless charging pad.
The door bins are large and so is the glovebox, so long as you avoid the optional (sickly sweet) perfume dispenser that eats into the room. Meanwhile, in the back you’ll find cup holders and a place to put your phone hidden in the centre armrest.
Space in the back seats
Rear seat passengers won’t feel forgotten in your C-Class.
It has the same cool design in the back as you get in the front with shiny black plastic highlights and chrome details. You even get separate heater controls. The scratchy plastics lower on the doors and on the backs of the front seats, aren’t so great, mind.
In terms of space, knee room is generous – you get more than you did in the old model – although headroom is only okay for people more than six foot tall; avoid the panoramic glass roof if that's an issue.
Overall, the rear of the C-Class is roomier and more comfortable than a BMW 3 Series or a Tesla Model 3 for carrying two people, but three will be happier in the Tesla Model 3 thanks to its flat footwell.
The Mercedes C-Class has a 455-litre boot, although that drops all the way to 315 litres in hybrid models that have their batteries hidden under the boot floor.
A BMW 3 Series by comparison has a 480-litre boot, while a Tesla Model 3 has 425 litres, which sounds worse but the Tesla is actually the best of the three thanks to having lots of extra storage under its boot floor and bonnet.
Mind you, the C-Class’ boot has more features, including shopping hooks and luggage ties, and you can drop its back seats by pressing a couple of buttons at the front of the boot.
The C-Class has a stylish interior packed with technology, but some of the materials aren't up to scratch
The Mercedes C-Class is super stylish on the inside thanks to having many of the features you’ll find on the S-Class – including its portrait-style infotainment display that makes the screen on rivals look tiny. Along with the sexy screenage, you get a textured dashboard top, expensive feeling leather upholstery and cool air vents with back lighting that changes depending on the temperature of the heating.
All in all, the Mercedes is a much more inspiring place to sit than the dour cabin of the BMW 3 Series. In terms of interior quality however, the BMW wins – for all the Mercedes looks nice, you’ll find no shortage of scratchy plastics at knee level and the jiggly dashboard buttons don’t exactly inspire confidence.
Thankfully, the infotainment brings things back on track. The Merc’s digital dashboard is very pretty and has several different views, while the centre screen is huge, has intricate graphics and is bursting with colours – it looks great.
Okay, so there are some things to find fault with like the ventilation system buttons which are hard to press when you’re driving, and the less-than-accurate in-built voice activation system.
You can have your C-Class with a choice of two petrol engines, two diesels and a plug-in hybrid petrol, all of which are hooked up to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Most versions will be subject to the £355 premium car tax which you need to pay for the first five years of a car’s life if it costs more than £40,000.
The C200 petrol is the entry level model but also the best all-round option. Its 1.5-litre capacity produces 204hp, which is enough to get the Mercedes from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 153mph. It barely breaks sweat on the motorway. And you won’t be sweating much over running costs because it’ll return around 40mpg and road tax is £230 in year one.
Fancy more power? Then the 258hp 2.0-litre C300 drops 0-62mph to just six seconds and gets about the same fuel economy as the basic petrol, however higher CO2 emissions mean it costs £585 to tax.
Plan to use your C-Class predominantly on the motorway? Then the diesel models still make a strong case for themselves – they consist of the C220d and C300d.
The C220d has few chinks in its armour. Its 2.0-litre engine produces 200hp and gets the Mercedes from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, while having noticeably more punch than the petrol models when you’re accelerating on the motorway. Fuel economy is excellent with more than 60mpg possible, while road tax costs £190.
The C300d is marginally more expensive to run but with 265hp on tap, also quicker – it does 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds.
Finally, there’s the C300e plug-in hybrid. It makes sense if you have a short commute because you can make full use of its 60-mile electric range, while you still have a 2.0-litre petrol engine to fall back on for longer journeys.
The system produces 313hp in total to get you from 0-6mph in 6.1 seconds, fuel economy is excellent so long as the battery is charged and it costs nothing to tax in the first year.
The Mercedes C-Class scored five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP under 2022’s tough test conditions. As well as having features like automatic emergency brakes and lane assist, the Mercedes also has a rare centre airbag that stops you and your passenger clashing heads in an accident. On top of that, you get side airbags that are designed to push you out of the way of a side impact. All C-Class models come as standard with Thatcham Category 1 alarm.
The new C-Class is too new to give an accurate opinion on reliability, and it hasn’t been subject to any recalls. The C-Class comes with a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty that’s a match for BMW’s cover and better than the four-year/50,000-mile warranty offered with the Tesla Model 3.