The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Most folks should have no problem getting comfortable behind the wheel of the C-Class. There’s plenty of adjustment to the driver’s seat – including electric adjustment for height and seatback angle, plus four-way lumbar adjustment – and the steering wheel moves a long way in and out, as well as up and down.
That said, there is a bulge down by the floor on the left of the pedals, which interferes with the position of your left leg. How annoying you find this really depends on your driving position and how long your legs are.
The relatively few buttons on the dashboard are within easy reach and simple to use, while everything else is operated using a rotary controller and touchpad on the centre console – which we’ll talk more about in the infotainment section. The standard analogue instrument dials that you get in SE and Sport models are easy to read, but the 12.3in digital display you get on all AMG Line versions not only displays your speeds and engine revs, but can also show a sat-nav maps and other useful information.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
You get a good view out of the front of the C-Class, so it’s easy to position the car’s extremities. Like in many saloons, however, the thick rear pillars and relatively small rear screen can make it tricky to see over your shoulder.
A rear-view camera is fitted to every model, as are front and rear parking sensors and a self-parking system. Go for Sport Edition trim or above and you'll get bright LED headlights for better night vision.
Sat nav and infotainment
Every C-Class gets a 10.3in infotainment screen that's mounted high up on the dashboard for easy viewing. The operating system is controlled using a rotary controller between the front seats, which is less distracting when you're driving than the touchscreens in Jaguar XE or Volvo S60.
The system is fairly intuitive, too, although the 3 Series' iDrive system most definitely has the edge thanks to its more logical menu structure. All models come with sat-nav, while the Comand upgrade fitted to Night Edition models adds further functionality, including live traffic information and a handwriting touchpad for entering names and addresses into the system.
A DAB radio is standard on all models, as are two USB ports. An upgraded Burmester sound system is available, but only with the Premium Plus package, which is offered exclusively on range-topping AMG Line Night Edition models.
There’s little doubt that the C-Class looks the part inside, with enough cues from the bigger S Class to make it look like a stylish and premium product. Indeed, you might well think that the C-Class looks more exciting inside than the more prosaic interiors of the 3 Series and A4.
But while the A4 looks less dramatic, it’s second to none in this class for solidity and material quality, whereas the C-Class doesn't feel quite so sturdy. Start prodding some of those nice-looking materials, such as the silver air vent surrounds, and more often than not they squeak annoyingly or deflect. Look lower down the interior and the plastics become rather low-rent, too.
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