Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
Broadly speaking, the C-Class costs about the same as an equivalent BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 and, as you might expect, a lot more than a similarly specified Skoda Superb or Volkswagen Passat. The entry-level versions are cheaper than a Tesla Model 3, but then you nearly always pay extra for a pure electric car.
CO2 emissions of the pure petrol and diesel versions are respectable rather than outstanding, so if you're a company car driver looking for low tax bills then consider one of the plug-in hybrid. The petrol C300 e isn't quite as efficient as the diesel C300 de, but the former is cheaper, faster and more refined, so it would be our choice.
Meanwhile, the high-performance C43 AMG and C63 AMG models are pricier than an equivalent Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Equipment, options and extras
Even entry-level SE models get a very respectable amount of kit, including 17in alloy wheels, manmade leather (Artico) seats, climate control, cruise control and a heated front seats.
Sport Edition trim adds larger 18in alloy wheels, full LED headlights, flashier interior trim and real leather seats, so we reckon it's the pick. Meanwhile, stepping up to AMG Line Edition gets you sportier looks, sports suspension and tinted rear windows – but given the price premium we wouldn't bother.
Going for range-topping AMG Line Night Edition trim gives you the option to add a Premium or a Premium Plus package for even more goodies. The problem is, then you'll be spending the sort of cash that would get you into a very nice BMW 5 Series or, if you've decided you want a Mercedes, an E Class.
Mercedes came a disappointing 26th (out of the 31 manufacturers) in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, behin Audi, BMW and Volvo. The C-Class itself was one of the least reliable executive saloons in the survey, with owners reporting more faults than owners of every other direct rival.
You get a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and three years of breakdown cover as standard. That’s a similar to what most rivals offer.
Safety and security
All versions of the C-Class have automatic emergency braking, a tyre pressure monitoring system to alert you if you have a slow puncture, multiple airbags and a system that can detect if you’re getting drowsy on a long journey.
This all helped the C-Class score impressive marks in its Euro NCAP crash test back in 2014. It was awarded the maximum five-star overall rating, along with good scores across the board in the individual categories – although it's worth noting that testing have become more stringent in recent years.
An alarm and engine immobiliser are standard on all versions, while security expert Thatcham awarded the C-Class five-out-of-five for resisting being stolen and four-out-of-five for guarding against being broken into.
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