What's the used Mercedes C-Class saloon like?
When it comes to a rock-solid premium image, there’s little to beat a Mercedes. After all, who doesn’t want to ride behind that famous three-pointed star? The only problem for the C-Class has always been the stiff competition it faces in the compact executive car class, namely the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. However, its comfort and relaxed driving experience, not to mention its air of dependability, have been enough to win plenty of admirers on both the new and used car markets.
For this 2014 version, Mercedes upped the ante even further, with a new platform underneath that enhances passenger space and improves the driving characteristics, and a totally new design for both its interior and exterior, with a noticeable improvement in quality.
Not surprisingly, it’s the diesel-engined cars that are most in demand. The C200d has enough poke for most and claimed official economy of up to 72.4mpg, according to the old NEDC measurements. The C220d feels a little livelier and comes close to matching the smaller engine in economy and CO2 emissions, so is the most popular unit in the range. The thirstier C250d, while admirably brisk, is harder to recommend, as is the later C300d.
Petrol cars kick off with the C180, and then up to a C200, which is a refined and adequate performer, and top off with the C43 and C63 AMG models – two variants that put sheer pace and track car agility above any considerations of comfort and economy.
Economy is best served by the diesel-electric hybrid version, the C350e, which has a claimed economy of a truly impressive 134.5mpg, again as measured under the older NEDC figures. However, as with all similar hybrid cars, such figures should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt.
Opt for the entry-level SE trim and you'll find 16in alloy wheels, auto wipers, cruise control, a reversing camera and Mercedes' Collision Prevention Assist Plus system fitted as standard, while inside occupants are treated to a 7.0in infotainment system with DAB tuner, multimedia interface and touchpad, and 4-way electrically adjustable front seats.
Upgrade to the fleet-friendly Executive Edition and you get heated front seats, Garmin-powered sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, and 17in alloys, while the Sport models get LED headlights, a lowered suspension, folding and dimming mirrors, and leather sports seats. The range-topping AMG Line specs include 18in AMG alloy wheels, an aggressive bodykit and sports suspension.
Those opting for the beefy AMG models also get a bespoke trim for their fire-breathing monsters. The C 43 comes with a bespoke AMG bodykit, brake calipers and details, Artico leather upholstery and red seat belts, while the C 63 comes with a mechanical rear axle differential lock and a Nappa leather upholstery. The range-topping C 63 S comes with much of the same equipment except for 19in alloy wheels, grey seatbelts and AMG performance seats.
On the road, the C-Class’s dynamic behaviour and ride comfort are a step up from the older variants, even if it’s not quite as sharp to drive as its two major rivals. Where it disappoints is in refinement, with too much road noise and, most noticeably in the diesel variants, too much engine noise making its way back into the interior.
However, the C-Class remains a solid and mostly dependable buy, with plenty of trims, a well-equipped interior and lots of class-leading safety and security kit. Add to that its strong residual values and it’s clear this model is definitely a Merc worth considering.