Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon 1993 - 2001 review

Category: Executive car

The Mercedes C-Class is a good, solid prestige car that you can now have for supermini money

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon (93 - 01)
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon (93 - 01)
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon (93 - 01)
Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon 1993 - 2001 review
Star rating

What's the used Mercedes C-Class saloon like?

Many people believe Mercedes ownership is out of their reach, but the truth is you can pick up a thee-pointed star for much less than you'd think, so long as you're prepared to accept a car with a few years and a few thousand miles under its belt.

This generation of C-Class isn't the most enthralling car to drive, but it has plenty going for it in other areas. Even the oldest examples still give a prestige impression if they're in good nick, and solid reliability means that most will be good for well over 100,000 miles on the original engine and transmission.


The Mercedes C-Class is a good, solid prestige car that you can now have for supermini money

  • A good cruiser
  • Comfortable and classy
  • The middle rear seat is useless so don't expect to take more than four

Passenger comfort is a big plus point, with head-, shoulder- and legroom far superior to rival cars of the day. This, combined with a super-smooth ride and good refinement, makes the C-Class great for chewing up long journeys. A good-sized boot also makes it practical as a family car.

Ownership cost

What used Mercedes C-Class saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Mercedes C-Class saloon?

There are so many different versions and so many examples in various states of repair that you can more or less spend as little or as much as you want on one.

Early cars can be picked up for a couple of grand, but this will only get you a high-mileage car in basic spec without air-con. If you can afford to spend around a few grand more, you'll get a much better car for your money.

Fuel economy isn't terrific and lags behind that of the equivalent BMW 3 Series; no car in the range will beat 40mpg. The C220 diesel will give you 39.2mpg, while the much better turbodiesel will give 35.3mpg. Our favourite C200 gives 30.1mpg, only a fraction behind the most frugal petrol engine.

Our recommendations

Which used Mercedes C-Class saloon should I buy?

There's a huge range of engines to choose from. The C180 and C200 are the most common and the best value because they're affordable to buy and run. We'd go for the C200 - you get better performance without paying for it too much in fuel economy.

The other petrol engines are also solid performers. Power steps up in small amounts as you go through the range from C230, C240 and C280 to the supercharged C230K. The AMG version is super-quick, but it's extremely pricey to buy and run compared with the others.

The diesels are very good, but they're old-tech, so don't expect too much in the way of economy. The older C220 diesel is slow, but the C250 TD is much better. Avoid the notchy manual gearbox on any version though.

No trim is particularly well-stocked, but Elegance spec offers the best balance of kit and cost.

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