Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2021 review
Our Rating

4.5/5

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2021 review

The C-Class has always been a popular option, but how has this new version moved the game forward?

Introduction

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a go-to model in the compact executive segment. Available with a variety of different powertrains and specifications, the C-Class is one of those cars that’ll slot quite easily into a variety of different situations. It’s also a big hit with business users, who appreciate the C-Class’ high level of standard equipment and premium finish. 

A new model has just arrived, bringing a fresh new exterior look as well as an interior loaded with high-tech features. It benefits from some of the aspects of the range-topping S-Class, too, meaning C-Class can get a real slice of the premium experience for a fraction of the cost. Let’s take a look at what the C-Class is like elsewhere. 

Performance

As we’ve already mentioned, the C-Class has always been known for its wide variety of powertrains and that’s certainly the case with the new version. It arrives initially with a series of four-cylinder engines which incorporate 48-bolt mild-hybrid technology to help boost performance and efficiency. The range kicks off with a 1.5-litre C180 which packs 168bhp, while the more powerful C200 uses the same engine but delivers 201bhp instead. The petrol range is then topped by the 2.0-litre-powered C300 with 255bhp. 

When it comes to diesels, there are just two - a C220d and C300d - and both utilise the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine but push out 197 and 261bhp respectively. 

A plug-in hybrid is also expected to join the C-Class range too. Fitted with a larger battery pack than before - a 25.4kWh version as opposed to the 13.5kWh version found in the older car - it’ll bring a decent output of 304bhp as well as ultra-low emissions running. 

Ride and handling

The C-Class has always needed to be a good riding car - particularly here in the UK - so it’s pleasing to discover that this is certainly the case for this latest version. The suspension has been well-judged to allow the C-Class to float over bumps and imperfections, but it’s not too soft so that the car feels wallowy in the bends. In fact, the C-Class corners keenly and manages its body roll well, so you are able to have a little bit of fun in the bends. 

We drove the C300d diesel variant and this version brings more than enough punch for daily driving. In fact, the 2.0-litre engine endows the C-Class with excellent pick-up and though it can sound a little overbearing under hard acceleration, quickly drops back into a refined and quiet affair. 

There’s very little in the way of road or wind noise, too, and this will help to make the C-Class more relaxing and less tiring over longer distances. As far as high-mileage users are concerned the C-Class will be a great choice, while this refined diesel will no doubt appeal to many drivers.

Interior and equipment

We’ve already mentioned that the new C-Class benefits from many of the features from the latest S-Class and it’s why the interior of this new compact saloon is so impressive. It’s dominated by a huge central screen and it’s here that you access all of the key media and navigation functions. Not only does it has all of your standard features, but it also incorporates fingerprint recognition - so that only the driver or a pre-approved person can access some of the car’s additional features - and this really helps to make the cabin feel even more space-age. 

However, the traditional boxes are ticked - and ticked well. There’s plenty of space in the back, for instance, with a good amount of head and legroom. There’s also a 455-litre boot, which can be extended further by lower the rear seats down. It’s square and easy to access, too.

Cost

Mercedes has yet to announce official pricing for the C-Class here in the UK, but it’s estimated that a mid-range C220d model will cost in the region of £40,000. For that, you’ll get the large central screen and all manner of extras, so it’s very unlikely that you’ll feel short-changed in terms of equipment. In fact, given that the C-Class is so brimmed with features, it’s bound to live up to a mid-range price tag. 

In terms of running costs, this C300d model will return up to 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 150g/km, which are around par for the course in this segment. Of course, if you’re after rock-bottom emissions, then the plug-in hybrid will be the one to go for, particularly if you’re often doing shorter trips where you’ll be able to make the most of the all-electric running capability. 

Verdict

The new C-Class arrives as an extremely well-rounded option. It’s comfortable, refined and well-made inside while a variety of powertrain options mean that there really should be a model for all buyers. The addition of a more potent plug-in hybrid will no doubt broaden the appeal of the C-Class even further, too. 

An estate version brings added practicality, while we expect ever-popular Coupe and Convertible versions to join the line-up soon. In short, the C-Class has more than lived up to the reputation of its predecessor. 

Enquire on a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Latest Car Reviews

Join the newsletter

Get the latest news, reviews and guides every week. Update your preferences at any time.