Review - Mercedes-Benz C-Class
March 30, 2021
Often regarded as the final word in luxury and quality in the mid-size premium sedan class, the Mercedes C-Class is smart, savvy, and suave in design. Even if you’re not interested in cars, you probably know the C-Class as the quintessential mid-size premium sedan.
Mercedes should be proud of the work and development that has gone into the latest model, as it has set the market pace this year by outselling all of the rivals by a big margin. It is definitely the popular kid at school. But is this always a good thing?
The Midas touch
Mercedes-Benz interiors are starting to look and feel pretty universal across the range these days, which is a good thing if you’re at the lower end of the showroom hierarchy because you’re getting a decor that’s similar to something much more expensive. Material quality and fit and finish is very good in the C-Class, but the design and elegance is paramount. It feels really special in here.
Sitting at the top of the dash is the media screen, which, in our opinion, looks a bit tacky, as if it’s been stuck on in a last-minute botch up. Without it the dash would look much cleaner and more consistent in terms of design, but obviously this would mean there’s nowhere to display media and driving functions.
Cabin space and overall accommodation is pretty good compared with the rivals, placing the C-Class at the larger end of the size spectrum. Front seat space is open and airy, and although some of the controls are a bit overwhelming at first, it is a relaxing place to be. Rear seat space is respectable as well, albeit not quite large enough for a full family.
Of course, being designed in Germany, predominately for German roads (built in South Africa), the C-Class offers exceptional highway stability and fuel efficiency. And then in the city, it’s very zippy and fun, and almost too lively at times. It darts into corners quicker than you might anticipate, and there’s absolutely no body roll, making it feel very connected to the road.
Going for the C 250 variant, as tested here, gets you a 2.0-litre turbo snack pack, with just the right amount of power. It has no problem getting you and three (or four tightly packed) friends up to highway speeds. It has no problem overtaking either.
Yes, it is the quintessential mid-size luxury sedan in that the interior is refined, smart, and it feels important, while the drive is discerningly dynamic if a little twitchy. Where it falls down a little is with practicality. To access the cabin you do need to bend right down and climb in, and the multimedia hand controller can be confusing and lacks cooperative functionality compared with rivals.
5 specs you need to know:
- Engine: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder
- Transmission and drive: Seven-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
- ANCAP safety rating: Five stars
- Official fuel economy: 6.0L/100km (9.0L/100km during test)
- Time from 0-100km/h: 7.2 seconds
- Premium design and brand reputation
- Fun and agile handling
- Loads of technology
- Most popular in its class
- On-board gadgets can be overwhelming
- Low cabin entry