The Mercedes C-Class is a comfortable car with a high-class badge. It has a luxurious interior and is quiet – unless you pick one of the noisy diesel engines
The Mercedes C-Class is a real Jack of all Trades. So, whether you want a high-class family car, a cost-effective company car or a comfortable day-to-day cruiser, then you should definitely consider it. This saloon is the most popular of the various body styles you can choose, but the C-Class also comes as a more spacious Estate, sporty Coupe or stylish Cabriolet.
What’s great about the C-Class is how it gives you the look and feel of a more expensive Mercedes saloon at a more affordable price. Thanks to all the fancy-looking trim pieces, metallic switches and machined metal air vents, it really is a case of ‘Honey, I shrunk the (very luxurious) S-Class’ inside.
The standard man-made leather seats may not sound too appealing, but they feel enough like the real thing to keep most people happy. If you’re prepared to pay £800 extra for it, you can have real leather. However, you’re better off saving your money.
The only part of the interior that doesn’t look great is the infotainment system. Not only does it appear to have been plonked on top of the dashboard like an afterthought, its screen has a wide plastic border that makes a ’90s TV seem cutting edge.
There’s no shortage of space in the front, with room for tall adults, but headroom in the back is poor. Your passengers will be brushing their heads on the roof if they’re more than six foot tall – a problem you don’t have in a BMW 3 Series. The boot size more or less matches what you’ll find in similar models like the Audi A4 and Jaguar XE, but the shape of the opening means it’s a bigger pain in the neck than it should be to load and unload stuff.
Having one of these on your drive lets your neighbours know that you’re a success – that three-pointed star is a trophy
You have three suspension setups to choose from, and one of the biggest attractions of the C-Class is how comfortable it is to drive. However, if you want maximum comfort, then the £895 Airmatic air suspension is definitely the way to go.
Combine that with the quiet interior and autonomous driving options that accelerate, brake and steer for you, and the Mercedes is an excellent motorway cruiser, if not quite as outstanding as an Audi A4. The only downside is that this comfort comes at the expense of a sporty drive; and, if that’s what you’re after, you’re better off buying a Jaguar XE or BMW 3 Series.
Although standard versions of the C-Class aren’t especially entertaining to drive, they’re certainly quick enough. The petrol engines and hybrid versions are attractive, but if you do lots of miles, then go for one of the more economical diesel engines, such as the C250d, which is pretty quick, too. This engine comes as standard with an automatic gearbox (essential, no matter which model you go for) that shifts smoothly and suits the car’s relaxed nature to a tee.
Across the range, every model comes with lots of safety equipment, including features designed to stop a crash ever happening. And, a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating means it should stand up well to unavoidable impacts.
So, if you’re after a saloon that looks smart and is extremely comfortable – and don’t mind if it’s not the most exciting to drive or that roomy in the back – the Mercedes C-Class is the car for you. See how it performs against the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Jaguar XE in our group test video.