The Mercedes C-Class has performed well to date with the 4th generation, 2014 release becoming the best selling model for the company. With an excellent safety rating, spacious interior and responsive engines, this is a classy set of wheels that will get you from A to B feeling relaxed and calm.
Mercedes is a pioneer in the area of automotive safety, so the fact that their C-Class range received the full five-star NCAP rating in the crash tests should come as no big surprise.
The saloon model is high on practicality with excellent levels of comfort and bucket loads of classic style. That said, if you are looking for even more plush decadence and a premium enhanced driving experience, you’d do better to look at the Mercedes E-Class.
Lifting the bonnet on the Mercedes C-Class
There’s plenty of variety when it comes to both petrol and diesel engines for the C-Class, all with stacks of get up and go.
When it comes to the petrol variety, you’ve got the C180, C200 and C250 to choose from. The C180 and C200 engines were awarded a Blue Efficiency tag. This is a Mercedes specific rating that denotes lower emissions and higher efficiency. For example, Blue Efficiency tagged vehicles have innovative alternators that gather the kinetic energy created on braking and convert it into electrical energy to save on fuel consumption.
The C250 only comes with a 7-speed automatic gearbox. It’s got plenty of grunt but none of the Blue Efficiency perks.
Of the C180 and the C200, the latter gets better marks for both performance and economy. The petrol engines provide a smoother ride but will cost you a little more to run than their frugal sisters, the diesels.
The diesel engines in the Mercedes C-Class have the same 2.1-litre capacity but have been engineered to provide different power outputs. The C200 CDI delivers 134 brake horsepower, while the C220 turns this up to 167bhp and the C250 gives a whopping 201bhp and will get from 0-62mph in a straight seven seconds.
Keeping it trim – Mercedes C-Class interior
The steering and seating adjustability for C-Class drivers is excellent. You’ll be able to arrange optimal comfort and visibility without too much trouble. All the key controls and displays are within easy reach and eyeline which improves comfort and safety.
The uncluttered but stylish interior is less inviting than the BMW’s 3-Series and there’s less headroom in the back than Audi’s competing model, the A4. There is plenty of legroom in front and back, so most adults should be able to travel in comfort.
Considering the luxury status of Mercedes, some of the interior finishes can feel a little disappointing. The C-Class dash had two updates throughout the 3rd generation, one in 2011 and another in 2013. The improvement to styling, equipment and quality was significant, so there is much to gain for seeking out the later 3rd generation models.
Interior trims come in quite a few different levels, starting with the SE (standard equipment) level and moving up to AMG, the most luxurious of finishes and tech. Even the SE level has leather upholstery, the infotainment system is good quality and the metal finishes for aircon controls are tactile.
What to watch for with second-hand Mercedes C-Class motors
Rust can be an issue for the C-Class, particularly around the boot lid and its release handle. Wing mirrors can cause a problem with the integrated indicator lights not staying in sync with the main set-up. That can set you back a cool £500 per unit to put right.
Part-leather trim seats can split at the seams and the Blue Efficiency diesel models can have issues with the fuel injectors. This will show up as less than enthusiastic acceleration and uneven running, so make sure you take any diesel you’re interested in for a quick run through all gears before beginning negotiations.
Clunky noises on the seven-speed automatic petrol indicate issues with the transmission valve. This can end up damaging the gearbox and costing you a pretty penny to put right.
Overall the C-Class is a reliable motor and Mercedes worked hard to improve their reputation with this one. If there are less than 100,000 miles on the clock and it’s been taken care of, you shouldn’t need any major engine work done any time soon.
Out of all engine types and interior spec options, we’d be most happy with the C220 petrol as a post-2011 SE model. This has plenty of herbs and the interior includes all you need for a respectable price.