Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2014 review – What Car?

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2014 review – What Car?


If you are the kind of important person
at a big car company responsible for making executive saloons like this Mercedes C-Class then you officially
have What Car?’s sympathy. And that is for two reasons. First of all, the
kind of person buys this sort of car is, quite rightly, quite discerning and almost, dare we say,
a little bit fussy. The second reason is that if you are one
of those people buying one of these cars you’ve got a whole host of cars to choose from and
in order to tempt people away from things like the BMW 3 Series Audi A3 and A4 Jaguar XF etc etc, this
car has to be quite good. It’s no great secret
that a lot of these C-Classes will be bought as company cars and as diesels are still the
engine of choice for company car buyers it’s also no real surprise that there
are more diesels to choose from in the C-Class range than there are petrols. Now this version, despite having a C200
badge on the boot, is actually a 1.6 litre diesel. You get low emissions – its 102 g/km, averages just over 70 miles per gallon
officially – but it’s not the quickest of cars – it takes
just under 10 seconds to get to 60 and you will be pushing it in order to get that.
The other diesels, if step up just a little bit in the range, there’s the C220
CDI and this, as far as we’re concerned, is the pick of the range. It’s got the most all-round ability It gets to 60mph two seconds quicker than this car does in just under eight seconds and yet it still emits only 1g/km more of CO2. So, we think it’s well worth the extra investment. What isn’t really worth the extra
investment is the C250, which adds a bit more power, it’s little bit quicker especially through the mid range but it’s not really worth the extra thousand
pounds or so. Manual gearboxes haven’t really been Mercedes’ forte in the past but if you go for the basic versions and the smaller engine like this car and
that’s what you’re going to end up with. It’s a six-speed manual box. However, it’s actually not that bad. It’s
pretty slick and precise and it is much better than the
ones they’ve had in the past. More often than not though, Mercedes come with automatic gearboxes and that’s what you get as standard on the C250 and as an option on the C220. It’s a very clever system though. It links up
with the sat nav and it will prepare the right gear
according to the corners or the hills that are coming up. That’s great out on the open roads. It’s not quite as clever around town though and it can get a little bit jerky there.
The new C-Class is much quieter than the previous car, which is great, although there is still a fair amount of noise that makes its way
into the cabin when you’re on the motorway. And the diesel engines are quite gruff and clattery, which doesn’t really fit with a car of this
class. Another area where the C-Class isn’t quite up to scratch with its rivals
is ride and handling. It’s just not quite as
much fun as the likes of the 3 Series or even
the Audi A3 Saloon. As standard, you get steel sprung
suspension and that’s fine out on country roads
etc, but around town and on worse road surfaces it is just quite fidgety and uncomfortable. If you are going for the AMG-line models then that lowers suspension by about 15mm, which naturally makes the ride a little bit firmer, but oddly doesn’t improve body control. Things do
improve if you go for the optional air suspension though – it’s about £900 but it is well worth it. If you put it in sport mode then it is that bit
more entertaining when you’re going down country roads etc, but when you’re
on the motorway it’s wonderfully comfortable – it’s like riding
in a much bigger more expensive limousine. The only thing is it doesn’t quite deal with
potholes perfectly and they still send a bit of a jolt throughout the cabin. Up here is where the C-Class really
excels. Not only does it set the standard for
quality in this class but is also up to the standard of some
much more expensive limos. All the switches, for example, feel really
wonderfully well damped but still have a solid feel to them, and there are some really nice touches
in this cabin especially as you go up to the slightly higher trim levels. You get
bull’s eye air vents and perforated metal speaker grills on those for example, but even these ones feel and look fantastic. The cabin is light
and airy with good visibility in almost all directions. I say almost because there’s the usual
problem of over shoulder visibility – there is quite a big C-pillar there. One thing that goes some way to helping
that is the fact that you get a standard reversing camera on every C-Class, which is brilliant. The driving position in this car is
absolutely fantastic. There is so much adjustment on this seat that you will be
able to get comfy even if you really rather tall. It just
goes really far back. And the sports seats that you get on the
higher-level models are also really supportive and comfortable as
well so they are fantastic. The instruments up here are clear and easy to read, but another thing you get on every C-Class
is this seven-inch colour screen. It’s not a touchscreen –
everything is controlled down here. You’ve got a dial, which will
be familiar if you got a Mercedes already – it works in much the same way, but you’ve also got a little touch pad that allows you to swipe, pinch do
things much in the same way as you do on a
tablet or a smartphone. It’s not quite as easy to use as
something on a smartphone, though, and it’s a little bit clunky sometimes. So, most of the time we’d end up using the dial because it’s easier to use that without taking your eyes off the road. It
is a good system, but it’s not quite as simple as the one in the BMW 3 Series for example. The iDrive
that is still the class leader for now. Because of all that adjustment in the
front there is plenty of room for people much taller than me, six-foot plus, so you’ll have loads of room up there. Things are not quite so generous in the
back though. Headroom is ok when you’re in as you’ll see, but it is getting in and out that’s the problem. You’ve got to make sure you don’t bang your head on this swooping roofline. As I say, once
you’re in headroom is decent for a pair of adults and legroom is pretty good as well. Our measurements show that it is only slightly smaller than the BMW 3 Series. You are okay for two adults in here but
when it comes to getting a third one in it is little bit less generous. The seat itself
is fine it’s just this big tunnel in the middle
means you won’t have quite so much in the way of legroom so you will have drawn the short straw in the middle. If we move around to the boat we see it’s a decent size at 480 litres it is pretty much exactly the same as the one you’ll get in the BMW 3
Series. Crucially, though, you can get a set of these in widthways without too much in the way of trouble. Now this is
another reason not to go for the entry-level version because on that version you don’t get split-folding rear seats like you do on all the other models. So you’re going to just have to take my word for it on that one. If you’re handing over a great big wodge of cash then the C-Class is pretty much the same price as the
equivalent BMW 3 Series but it is a little bit more expensive than the
Audi A3 Saloon, or Volvo S60. However, it is predicted to hold on to
its value pretty well so it’s lease rates, for example, will be very competitive. Another good thing is that CO2 emissions
compare really well to all of those rivals even on the automatic versions so
all the relevant taxes are kept nice and low. Even though you’ve got 70mpg official fuel economy it’s worth bearing in mind that in our real-world test the C220 CDI didn’t do quite as well – it got around 47mpg. To see all of our True MPG tests check out on the dedicated part of the website right here. The latest version of this car is naturally far too new to have appeared in any of our used customer satisfaction surveys so far, but Mercedes has good form in that area. The previous
version of this car, for example, came fourth. It gets a good amount of
safety kit as well. All C-Classes get seven air bags as standard but they also get a system that senses if you’re about to crash and applies the brakes for you. As far as
the rest the equipment is concerned every single car gets a good amount of kit.
The basic model in the range is the SE – this comes with 16-inch alloys,
climate control, cruise control, a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers,
and a DAB digital radio. However, we would recommend you step up to Sport trim, which costs an extra couple of grand but it gets
17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded interior trims, heated sports
front seats, front and rear parking sensors and those split-folding rear seats. Top of the range
is the AMG-line, which costs a further one and a half grand. It adds 18-inch wheels, an AMG body kit, leather trim on the dashboard, sport
suspension and steering-wheel-mounted paddles on the
automatic versions. As I said at the start some buyers in
this class really do want their car to be a little bit of everything and if you are
after something that is fun to drive then to be honest, this probably isn’t the
one for you. The BMW 3 Series, and Audi A3 do that a bit better than the C-Class. It gets a
little bit better when you look at practicality and running costs but where this car really shines is in
that cabin. It also gets a high level of safety kit
and a great level equipment. It’s not quite at the top of its
class but it is right up there. For more information search
for Mercedes C-Class on whatcar.com and while you’re here keep up to date with all our latest videos by clicking subscribe.