Review: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014)

Rating:

Much improved interior quality. More refined and better to drive than predecessor. Facelift diesels get new 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engines.

C220 CDI 2143cc with automatic gearbox is disappointing. Surprising quality issues with pre-facelift models.

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Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014): At A Glance

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is arguably even more desirable than rivals including the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Jaguar XE. As well as sleek looks that echo the S-Class, the S-Class is based on a new platform with more interior space than the old model, especially for rear seat passengers.

The latest C-Class gets a totally new layout with a minimalist design dominated by a large one-piece centre console. Not only is it very stylish but it now feels every inch the premium car it should be. Mercedes-Benz likens the cabin as 'akin to the uplifting feeling of being upgraded from economy to business class on an aeroplane' and we certainly can't argue with that.

Where the C-Class really shines is in terms of refinement and comfort; it's incredibly quiet and cossetting on the move, with a superb ride, helped by a new suspension set up. Even AMG Line models with sports suspension and larger alloys are impressively comfortable. At motorway speeds the C-Class is a joy with barely any wind or road noise. It makes it an ideal long distance car.

Not that this comes at the expense of handling. The C-Class has a new steering system which offers much better feel than previously along with more weight. Add this to a new six-speed manual gearbox and the C-Class is a revelation compared to its predecessor helped by good body control and impressive agility.

Finally the C-Class is the premium saloon it's always promised to be and the famous three-pointed star has a car good enough in all departments to rival the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. It's also well equipped as standard with all cars coming with DAB, Artico leather, a reversing camera, collision prevention assist and a media interface.

Mercedes Benz C200 CDI AMG Line 2014 Road Test

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG 2015 Road Test

Mercedes-Benz C200 1.5 mild hybrid 2018 Road Test

Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4686–4756 mm
Width 2020 mm
Height 1426–1460 mm
Wheelbase 2840 mm

Full specifications

One of the criticisms of the previous C-Class was that the interior didn't feel like that of an upmarket car. It was solid but lacked that premium edge of competitiors. Thankfully the interior is clearly an area that Mercedes-Benz has focussed on and the results are impressive. Finally the C-Class has a modern and sophisticated cabin that's more than a match for the competition from Audi and BMW.

First up is the overall design. It's far less angular than before with a flowing dash and some nice design details like the circular air vents. The vents themselves have a lovely action when you move or open/close them. It's only a small thing but it makes you realise that if Mercedes has put that much attention into just an air vent, the rest must be equally as well engineered and finished.

The old clunky stereo layout has gone as have the button-heavy air conditioning controls of the old C-Class. They've been replaced by a stylish one-piece centre console that flows down into the armrest. As models with the automatic gearbox have the gear selector on the steering column, this frees up more space. It's clear the S-Class has been a big influence on the design with a neat row of metal buttons across the centre console and below that a classy analogue clock.

All models come with the Touchpad which is integrated into the centre console hand rest. This combines a dial controller, now becoming commonplace on premium cars, with a touchpad that lets you navigate through various functions and recognises smartphone-type gestures such as pinching and swiping. You can also use it to write in letters and numbers. It's not new - Audi was the first to introduce such a system and BMW have followed - but the Mercedes touchpad looks great and is easy to use.

Also standard on all models is a 7-inch colour display that looks like a small tablet or iPad on the face of the dash. It's a high resolution screen and comes with DAB and Bluetooth as standard. It's far more modern than the previous Mercedes-Benz system with better menus, faster response and a more intuitive menu layout. The C-Class now also comes with an electric parking brake. They're not to everyone's liking but it's far better than the old fashioned foot operated parking brake of the previous model.

The driving position is good with plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering column and the high centre console with its armrest means the C-Class is incredibly comfortable on long journeys, helped by the usual strong and supportive Mercedes-Benz seat design. Room for passengers in the back has markedly improved over the old car with better knee and headroom, especially noticeable when you have a taller driver in front.

The boot is marginally bigger at 480 litres - identical to a BMW 3 Series - and the wide opening makes it easy to load. One thing to note is that the C-Class doesn't some with folding rear seats as standard - you have to choose a Sport or AMG Line to get that feature. Interesting extras include a head-up display as an option. Like the Touchpad it's not a new thing - BMW debuted it several years ago, but it's nonetheless impressive in the C-Class with a very clear and vibrant display on the windscreen.

Standard equipment from launch (June 2014):

SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, Artico leather upholstery, 7-inch Audio 20 CD with Touchpad, agility control, comfort suspension, reversing camera, rain sensitive wipers, collision prevention assist plus, cruise control with hold function, tyre pressure monitoring, DAB, media interface (for connecting iPhones etc), three-spoke steering wheel, Direct Steer with speed sensitive steering.

Sport adds 17-inch alloys, aluminium interior trim, contrasting stitching, exterior chrome trim, Garmin Map Pilot Navigation, heated front seats, LED high performance headlights, 15mm lowered comfort suspension, mirror package, Parktronic with Active Park Assist, split folding rear seats, sports seats in Artico leather.

AMG Line has 18-inch alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, AMG floor mates, AMG sports pedals, AMG sports seats in Artico leather, AMG sports steering wheel, black rooflining, chrome splitter, sports Direct-Steer system, 15mm lowered sports suspension, gearshift paddles on automatic gearbox models.

Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014) like to drive?

There's a wide range of petrol, diesel and hybrids engines available in the C-Class. Confusingly, but in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, the badging bears little relation to the size of the engine.

As of 2019, the diesel line-up is made of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder C 200 d with 160PS (available with a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic gearbox), a 2.0-litre four-cylinder badged the C220 d producing 194PS (paired with the nine-speed auto and two- or four-wheel drive) and another 2.0-litre four-cylinder badged the C 300 d with 245PS (also paired with the automatic gearbox and available in rear- or four-wheel drive). There's also a C 300 de plug-in hybrid model.

Petrol engine options consist of the entry-level C 180 four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol with 156PS and available with a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission. There's also a C 200 mild hybrid, powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 184PS and available with two- or four-wheel drive, while the four-cylinder 258PS C 300 tops the standard C-Class range.

For those looking for something a bit sportier, there are also AMG models. These include six-cylinder C 43 and eight-cylinder C 63 and C 63 S models, with power ranging from 390 to 510PS.

You won't really go wrong with any of the C-Class's engines, as long as you bear in mind that diesels are generally best suited to high mileages. We rate the C 200 mild hybrid, with its 48v mild hybrid system doing an impressive job of eliminating turbo lag by bridging the time it takes for the turbocharged to build pressure. 

No matter which engine you choose, the C-Class is very good to drive. It's impressively quiet at motorway speeds with minimal wind rustling and hardly any road noise.  So not only does the C-Class look like a smaller S-Class, it also feels like one on the move. Neither the BMW 3 Series nor the Audi A4 come anywhere close for comfort.

 

This extends to the excellent ride quality too. With the C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has gone back to doing what it does best - producing supremely comfortable and solid cars. It feels every inch what a Mercedes should be, helped by a new front axle and a longer wheelbase, while it's unruffled at higher speeds, feeling stable and composed.

The steering is excellent, with a reasonable amount of weight and natural feel through corners. In fact, the C-Class handles surprisingly well considering how accomplished it is at cruising on the motorway.

There are of course differing suspension options. SE models get a comfort suspension set-up while the Sport has the same but lowered by 15mm. The top AMG Line has sports suspension lowered by 15mm and 18-inch wheels so is noticeably firmer but still forgiving and smooth, far more so than the sportier versions of competitor saloons. Unlike the competition the C-Class is also available with air suspension, called Airmatic, which features all-round self-levelling.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
AMG C 43 30–35 mpg 4.7 s 183–213 g/km
AMG C 63 29–35 mpg 4.1 s 192–227 g/km
AMG C 63 S 29–35 mpg 4.0 s 192–227 g/km
C 180 47–48 mpg 8.2 s 134–140 g/km
C 180 Automatic 44–46 mpg 8.3 s 140–149 g/km
C 200 1.5 4Matic Automatic 44 mpg 8.1 s 148 g/km
C 200 1.5 Automatic 46–47 mpg 7.7 s 136–140 g/km
C 200 2.0 50–53 mpg 7.5 s 123–128 g/km
C 200 2.0 4Matic Automatic 41–42 mpg 7.4 s 149–157 g/km
C 200 2.0 Automatic 49–53 mpg 7.2–7.3 s 123–135 g/km
C 200 Automatic - - 135 g/km
C 200 d 1.6 66–72 mpg 8.5–10.2 s 101–113 g/km
C 200 d 1.6 Automatic 63–67 mpg 7.9–10.2 s 112–116 g/km
C 220 d 2.0 4Matic Automatic 58 mpg 6.9 s 131 g/km
C 220 d 2.0 Automatic 61–64 mpg 6.9 s 117–121 g/km
C 220 d 2.1 67–71 mpg 7.7 s 104 g/km
C 220 d 2.1 4Matic Automatic 59–61 mpg 7.5 s 117–127 g/km
C 220 d 2.1 Automatic 61–66 mpg 7.4–7.5 s 110–117 g/km
C 250 d 2.1 4Matic Automatic 59–61 mpg 6.8 s 122–127 g/km
C 250 d 2.1 Automatic 61–66 mpg 6.6 s 110–117 g/km
C 300 Automatic 42–44 mpg 5.9 s 136–153 g/km
C 300 d 4Matic Automatic 53 mpg 5.7 s 139 g/km
C 300 d Automatic 58 mpg 5.9 s 129–130 g/km
C 300 de Automatic - - 38 g/km
C 300 h 74–79 mpg 6.4 s 95 g/km
C 350 e - 5.9 s 48–52 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

68%

Real MPG

18–66 mpg

MPGs submitted

517

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can you recommend a petrol engined car with adequate power and torque for towing a 1200kg caravan?

Could you recommend a petrol engined car with adequate power and torque for towing a 1200kg caravan? It should have automatic torque converter transmission. My previous car was a Saab with a 2.3t engine which was an excellent match (although a manual).
A Mercedes-Benz C-Class would be a good option. It comes with the brand's excellent 9G-Tronic torque-converter gearbox and can comfortably tow a 1200kg following the 85 per cent rule. It's also a lovely car to drive. If you'd prefer something a bit cheaper, consider a Mazda 6 - although its naturally-aspirated petrol engines lack torque.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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