Mercedes C-Class Review 2023
beoordeling van heycar
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Big selling premium quality saloon
- Classy, understated looks inside and out
- Two excellent plug-in hybrid options
- Superb brand image, decent specification even on entry-level cars
- Not as fun to drive as its key rivals
- Infotainment starting to feel dated
- Interior quality feels a little sub-premium in places
"The C-Class remains hugely appealing, even if it has lost a bit of its sparkle as it enters its twilight years. It's still classy and still competitive, particularly if you go for a plug-in hybrid model or the multi-talented C220d diesel."
Introduced in 2014, but significantly overhauled in 2018, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an absolute mainstay in the mid-sized executive class (there's a new one on the way), competing with predominantly German, premium badged rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
That’s the C-Class’s heartland rivals, but you might also consider the Vauxhall Insignia, Ford Mondeo among others, though the Mercedes has the more upmarket badge, which means it holds its value better and is cheaper to own over a three-year period.
That means the C-Class has even broken into the UK’s top ten selling models on occasion, mixing it on the list with Ford Fiestas, Volkswagen Golfs and Vauxhall Corsas, that’s quite an achievement for a premium badged saloon. Globally, that success has been replicated, with the C-Class accounting for one in every five of Mercedes-Benz’s sales – which when you consider the sheer volume of cars Mercedes produces, is quite remarkable.
The C-Class’ key virtue being its comfort and understated classiness. That, on first glance, it looks like a scaled down S-Class – the S-Class being Mercedes-Benz’s biggest luxury saloon – is no bad thing. The sweeping dashboard brought a whole new level of luxury to this size of car though you’ll need to splash the cash on options to get the Mercedes’ interior looking at its best.
Decent practicality comes as standard, though. So you’ll have no trouble squeezing four people into the car’s cabin, the boot is large and there are plenty of smaller storage areas that can keep the interior looking tidy.
You also get a huge range of engines covering everything from cheaper-to-buy petrols to frugal diesels, hybrids that can run on electric power alone for short journeys, and powerful AMGs with a mixture of eight and six cylinder engines.
That AMG link doesn’t hurt the C-Class one bit. Indeed, across the line-up there’s the option of AMG-Line Edition trim, which adds sporty bodystyling, sports suspension and a smattering of badges, so even a 2.0-litre diesel can look like an unhinged AMG model.
If you want a sporty drive, though, you’ll need to go for the AMG C43 or C63 models, which have sharper steering and firmer suspension. Most of the Mercedes C-Class range prefers to focus on comfort so if you’re looking for fun in corners combined with affordable running costs, you’ll be better off with a BMW 3 Series.
If you’re after a classy, good looking and surprisingly cost-effective saloon though, then the C-Class should still be at the top of your shopping list.
Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class right for you?
Given the sales, then the C-Class saloon could be the answer to anyone’s ‘what car should I buy?’ question.
If you’re a company car driver, or even a private buyer, then the C-Class will likely be on your radar, then, and the breadth of choice makes it almost certain there’ll be one that suits your particular needs.
It’s a premium car that does manage its upmarket status without carrying some of the negative baggage that comes with its key rivals, think BMW and Audi drivers, here. It’s classily understated, being more comfortable and smart than thrusting and overt, and that’s quietly appealing.
The C-Class saloon also hails from Mercedes-Benz’s pre-MBUX (that’s Mercedes-Benz User eXperience) interiors, so while it’s not lacking in connectivity and technology, it’s all contained in a screen that’s sensibly-sized and easily operated with a rotary controller rather than a touchscreen. It could be ideal if you’re a bit of a technophobe. If that sounds good to you, and it does us, then you’d better hurry, as with the soon to be revealed new C-Class, that’ll change.
If you need more space, the Mercedes C-Class Estate should fit the bill while Mercedes also offers the C-Class Coupe and C-Class Cabriolet.
What’s the best Mercedes-Benz C-Class model/engine to choose?
Such is the breadth of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class range you’ll find something to suit your needs. The C43 AMG 4Matic is quick and capable if performance is your thing, the C220d will chew up huge motorway miles while sipping fuel.
If you’ve a bit of urban driving at either end of your commute, then there’s a choice of petrol or diesel plug-in hybrids that can drive on electric for short periods of time. That C220d diesel is arguably the best all-rounder though, mixing performance with economy.
Trims? Again, that’s budget depending, but Sport Line or AMG Line are worth considering because they have less anodyne looks than the basic SE models.
What other cars are similar to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon?
The BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 are the C-Class’s most obvious competition, though the Jaguar XE is worth considering.
Smart, more mainstream contenders like the Volkswagen Passat, Volvo S60, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Mazda 6 also fit the brief, albeit without quite the brand kudos of the three-pointed star.
We’d be remiss not to mention the Tesla Model 3, the US electric upstart brand catching the premium market by surprise. It’s a great choice if you live in a city where you’ll be charged to drive a petrol or electric car.
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