Mercedes-Benz C-Class

#6 in Luxury Small Cars Overall Score: 8.6 / 10
2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class View More Photos »
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$39,500 - $80,850

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Overview

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranks 6 out of 20 Luxury Small Cars.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class swaddles its occupants in elegant comfort. It’s full of high-tech features and luxurious cabin materials, and it smooths out bumps in the road. It’s not particularly sporty, however.

SEATING


4-5

MPG


17-24

  CITY


22-34

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


AWD, RWD

HP


241-503
See full 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine lineup
  • Soft ride
  • Superior cabin
  • Difficult infotainment system
  • Confining rear seats

Notable for 2017

  • New C350e plug-in hybrid model
  • New C300 cabriolet model
  • Three new AMG cabriolet models

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Rankings and Research

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Small Cars category. Currently the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a score of 8.6 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 40 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.6
Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.6
Safety: 9.3
Reliability: 3_5

Rankings

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Pictures

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

By Nate Parsons July 21, 2017

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class swaddles its occupants in elegant comfort. It’s full of high-tech features and luxurious cabin materials, and it smooths out bumps in the road. It’s not particularly sporty, however.

Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class a Good Car?

The C-Class lives up to Mercedes' reputation for classic luxury – few, if any, cars can match the level of upmarket style you'll find in the C-Class. You'll also enjoy a comfortable ride, even over rough bits of road. The C-Class is not, however, thrilling to drive. But that's okay because there are other luxury small cars to choose from if that's what you want. The Mercedes C-Class is unapologetic in the way it treats you to refined comfort.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

If your idea of the perfect luxury small car is chic and comfortable, the C-Class is a good choice for you. It's got an elegant cabin, a cushioned ride, and plenty of features to keep you comfortable, safe, and entertained. However, those who prefer sportier cars will be better off looking at the Mercedes-Benz CLAAudi A4, or BMW 4 Series.

Compare the C-Class, CLA, and A4 »

We Did the Research for You: 40 Pieces of Data Analyzed

We analyzed 40 pieces of data, including professional automotive reviews, crash test ratings, and predicted reliability scores, so there's no need for you to scour the internet to find which car, truck, or SUV best fits your lifestyle. Our reviews are consumer-oriented to provide you with the information you need to make the right buying decision. Mercedes-Benz last redesigned the C-Class for the 2015 model year, and aside from adding a few trims to the lineup, it has seen few major changes since. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2015 through 2017 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

The editorial team at U.S. News Best Cars have 75 years of combined experience working in the auto industry, and we've been ranking cars based upon the needs of consumers for nearly a decade. You can rest assured that our reviews are impartial; we do not accept expensive gifts, trips, or bribes of any kind from automakers, and all of the advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cost?

The base Mercedes C300 sedan starts at $39,500, a higher starting price than most cars in the class. And it can increase even before you consider a higher trim. If you want the C300 with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, you'll have to add $2,000 to the price tag, and you'll have to add $3,700 if you want a coupe body style instead of a sedan.

If you want a more powerful engine, you'll want to check out the AMG C43 sedan, which starts at $50,800. There are also two high-performance C-Class models. The AMG C63 sedan starts at $65,250, and the AMG C63 S sedan starts at $73,250. If you want either of these models in a coupe body style, you'll have to pay an extra $1,750.

The C300, C63, and C63 S trims are available in cabriolet (convertible) models. No matter which trim level you choose, opting for a convertible will cost you close to $10,000 more than the original price of the sedan version.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Versus the Competition 

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Mercedes-Benz CLA?

When you're behind the wheel, do you want a luxurious and comfortable cruiser or a nimble corner carver? Buy the C-Class for class and comfort, and the Mercedes-Benz CLA for agility. Otherwise, the two cars are very similar. The C-Class' cabin is more upscale, but it has a higher price to match. The CLA is smaller so back-seat passengers will appreciate the extra space in the C-Class. Still, despite being a smaller car, the CLA offers slightly more cargo capacity. While the CLA does offer two engines, the C-Class ultimately has more power in its top AMG 63 and AMG 63 S trims. Highway fuel economy estimates for the base CLA250 are slightly higher than they are for the C300, but both have the same rating in the city: 24 mpg.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4?

The Audi A4 ranks near the top of our luxury small cars class (above the C-Class) for good reason, and we recommend it over the Mercedes. It has a posh and roomy interior that's filled with lots of high-tech goodies, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, despite having a lower starting price than the C-Class. It earns one of the highest safety scores in the class, and it's available with some impressive driver assistance systems, including traffic sign recognition and a surround-view camera. The A4 balances ride comfort and lithe handling to match different drivers' tastes.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 4 Series?

The BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are both solid choices in the luxury small car class. Choose the 4 Series for better performance or the Mercedes for a more luxurious interior. The 4 Series has a higher base price than the C-Class sedan, though the BMW’s price slightly undercuts that of the C-Class coupe. The 4 Series coupe’s rear seats are similarly tight, like the C-Class coupe’s, though the 4 Series Gran Coupe models offer similar rear-seat space to what you’ll find in the C-Class sedan. One plus is that the Gran Coupe has a lot of cargo room compared to the C-Class because it's a hatchback. On the performance side, the 4 Series is clearly better than the C-Class. Every engine in the 4 Series lineup makes generous power, and the car takes corners with agility without sacrificing much ride comfort.

Compare the C-Class, CLA, and A4 »

C-Class Interior

How Many People Does the C-Class Seat?

There are seats for five in the Mercedes C-Class sedan, while coupe and convertible models can only accommodate four people. The C-Class' front seats are roomy and supportive, and you'll easily find a comfortable driving position. The rear seats have less room, and coupe and convertible models probably don't have enough room for adults to ride in the back (though that's common for a coupe). The BMW 4 Series has a similarly cramped rear seat, but the Audi A4 at least has enough space to keep adults comfortable for most trips.

If you choose the A4 instead of the C-Class, you'll get leather upholstery in all models. The C-Class has standard leatherette upholstery instead, with leather as an extra-cost option. The C-Class is also available with heated and ventilated front seats, sport seats, and a heated steering wheel in upper trims. Drivers who prefer top-down driving in a convertible will appreciate Mercedes’ Airscarf. It blows warm air onto your neck to keep you warm on chilly days.

C-Class and Car Seats

The rear seats in all models feature two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the outboard seats. The connection points are easy to find and identify, and it's fairly simple to hook a car seat to the connectors. The middle seat includes a tether anchor, but no lower anchors.

Want to know more about child safety seats and LATCH? Read How to Get the Most Out of Your Child's Car Seat.

C-Class Interior Quality

Upscale. Elegant. Classy. Pick your favorite word that means "really nice," and you can apply it to the C-Class. The cabin has a beautiful overall design replete with top-notch materials. With all due respect to the Audi A4, the C-Class may just have the best interior in the class.

C-Class Cargo Space

The lack of space in coupes and convertibles extends to the trunk. In those models, the C-Class has one of the smallest trunks in the class, though in sedan models, trunk space is about average for a luxury small car. With the C-Class sedan's 12.6 cubic feet of cargo room, you should have plenty of space for a couple golf bags. There's about the same amount of trunk space in the BMW 4 SeriesAudi A4, and Mercedes-Benz CLA. Those who need bigger trunks should check out the Jaguar XE. It has around 25 percent more cargo room.

C-Class Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

There are plenty of standard features in the Mercedes C-Class that you'll find in many luxury cars – automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and HD Radio among them. But there are also features that give you more flexibility as a vehicle owner, such as mbrace Connect, which lets you control certain vehicle functions from your smartphone. There are three additional mbrace packages available that allow you to exert greater control over your C-Class.

Another standard feature is the touchpad controller you use to operate many vehicle functions. It stands out for its ability to recognize handwriting (you can draw letters and numbers on the pad with your finger), which, among other things, can ease the pain of entering addresses into your GPS.

The touchpad might seem like a natural fit with the available COMAND infotainment system, but the whole thing is something of a mess. The touchpad controller is located just in front of the center armrest, making it easy to inadvertently touch it and change a setting. The COMAND interface also doesn't mesh well with the controller, so adjusting some functions requires several steps.

The C-Class' complicated COMAND infotainment system stands in sharp contrast to the MMI infotainment system found in the Audi A4. There are two systems, one with a 7-inch screen and one with an 8.3-inch screen. Both are easy to use and have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, but the optional larger system is the real winner here. It uses a handwriting recognition system like the C-Class, but it doesn't have any of the pitfalls. Adjusting settings or inputting destinations into the MMI infotainment system is pain free.

Among the C-Class' many available features are a premium Burmester audio system, an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spot, and a cabin-air purification system. Cabriolet models also feature Mercedes' Airscarf system, which blows warm air on the back of your neck to keep you comfortable while the top is down in cooler temperatures.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

C-Class Performance

C-Class Engine: An Engine for Everyone

Do you like having plenty of engine choices? Well then good news! The C-Class offers a wide range of engines. The base engine (in the C300) is a turbocharged four-cylinder. For many drivers, this engine should have all the power they'll need. It feels potent, and it also gets good fuel economy.

AMG C43 models feature a twin-turbo V6 that has better power and acceleration – but worse fuel economy – than the four-cylinder. For the best possible performance, you'll want one of the high-performance AMG models. The AMG C63 and C63 S each feature a twin-turbo V8. The C63's engine puts out over 450 horsepower, and the C63 S' has over 500 horses. Mercedes claims that both AMG models will go from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds or less, and test drivers report a quick response whenever you press the gas.

C-Class Gas Mileage: Comparable to Competitors

According to Mercedes, the C300 gets an estimated 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. That's similar to the estimates competitors like the Audi A4 and BMW 4 Series earn. The C-Class isn't available with a turbodiesel engine, so drivers who want to skip trips to the pump should consider the Jaguar XE. A turbodiesel-powered XE gets up to 32 mpg around town, and 42 mpg on the freeway.

C-Class Ride and Handling: Smooth, but Not Overly Sporty

The C-Class isn't designed as a sport machine, and it lacks the athletic feel of rival cars like the BMW 4 Series. Still, the C-Class is composed around corners with sharp steering. The top AMG models are more focused in their handling prowess, with sharper responses.

The real pride of the C-Class is its soft ride, which remains smooth under virtually any condition. And if you want to have a smoother ride or sportier performance, then you can switch through the C-Class' four drive modes – which adjust steering and throttle response – until you find one to your liking. There are also three available suspensions in sedan models, depending on which trim you choose – Sport, Comfort, and Airmatic, which is adaptive air suspension – with varying degrees of stiffness that affect ride quality. Coupe and convertible models are only available with Sport and Airmatic suspension.

Read more about performance »

C-Class Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Reliable?

The 2017 C-Class earned a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. That score is above average, and the same as class rivals like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the BMW 4 Series.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Warranty

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is backed by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. Audi offers a similar warranty on the A4, while the Jaguar XE has a five-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

C-Class Safety

C-Class Crash Test Results

Most luxury small cars earn excellent scores in crash tests, and the C-Class follows suit, getting a five-star overall rating (the best possible) in tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety designates the C-Class as a Top Safety Pick. Still, as high as the C-Class' scores are, some competitors' are even better. The Audi A4 and Volvo S60 both earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ designation.

C-Class Safety Features

The C-Class has more standard driver assistance features than class rivals like the Audi A4 or BMW 4 Series. Among them are several features that are uncommon – if not unique – for the luxury small car class. Crosswind assist helps keep the vehicle stable and in line when it detects strong winds (when you're driving through the mountains or during a rough storm, for example). Driver drowsiness monitoring can detect signs that you might not be fully alert and let you know before you fall asleep at the wheel. Mercedes' Pre-Safe preps occupants for a crash by tightening seat belts if it detects that a crash is imminent.

There are many available active safety features as well. These include features that are standard or available in many competitors, such as a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist. There are still some available features that are less common, though. These include pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition, and active park assist, which helps you size up a parking spot before you try to fit into it and then helps you park.

Read more about safety »

Which Mercedes-Benz C-Class Model Is Right for Me?

Most drivers should be satisfied with the base Mercedes-Benz C300, and choosing between the sedan, coupe, or convertible body styles is up to your personal taste. The C300 comes with a long list of standard features, and you can add nearly every optional feature too. Higher trims mostly only add more-powerful engines, along with much higher price tags.

Drivers who crave serious power will want to go for one of the Mercedes-AMG C63 models, which come with a twin-turbocharged V8. The Mercedes-AMG C43 slots between the AMG C63 and the C300, with a twin-turbo V6.

Once you've chosen your favorite C-Class, it's time to add any optional features you might want. There are several option packages you can add on, though not all of them are available in every trim, and prices may vary from trim to trim. Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive is available for $2,000.

Some packages include driving aids. The Parking Assist package includes active park assist and a surround-view camera system for $1,290. For $2,800, you can get the Driver Assistance package, which includes blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and other active safety features.

Other packages provide infotainment options or raise the level of luxury. The Multimedia package costs $2,690 and includes a rearview camera and the COMAND infotainment system. The Interior package costs $2,880 and adds leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and heated and ventilated front seats.

Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan

The base C300 sedan costs $39,500 and comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch infotainment system, Bluetooth, dual USB ports, HD Radio, the mbrace mobile app, forward collision warning, driver drowsiness monitoring, crosswind assist, and a rearview camera.

Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe

The $42,650 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe has most of the same features as the C300 sedan. It adds standard LED headlights but loses dual-zone automatic climate control, which becomes optional.

Mercedes-Benz C300 Convertible

The C300 convertible starts at $50,900, and it adds dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, the Airscarf system, and blind spot monitoring to the features found in the C300 coupe.

Mercedes-AMG C63 Sedan

For $65,200, you can buy the AMG C63, which comes standard with most features from the C300 sedan, plus a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, a limited-slip differential, the AMG Dynamic Select drive mode system, sport exhaust, heated front sport seats, and push-button start.

Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe

The AMG C63 coupe will cost you $67,000. It has the same features as the AMG C63 sedan, along with a panoramic sunroof.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class specs and trims »

The Final Call

Drivers seeking thrilling performance in a luxury small car probably won't find it in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, at least in the standard trims. Instead, they’ll get a chic and comfortable cruiser that does its best to treat its occupants to luxurious appointments, lots of features, and a cloud-like ride. You can opt for a higher trim for more power and sharper performance, but if corner carving is your idea of fun, consider a rival like the BMW 4 Series.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The C300 makes for a nice luxury coupe, but if it's sport you're after, there are plenty of more fun $40,000 two-doors available." -- Car and Driver
  • "… the C43 has a swagger and a presence that makes it feel special in a way the 4 Series can't touch. Nor can most any other car in the sub-$60,000 price bracket. Its combination of luxury coupe style and sports coupe performance isn't something you see very often these days. It both oozes class and excites your soul. In a sense, it's a lottery car you don't have to win the lottery to afford." -- Road and Track
  • "If your idea of a luxury car is one that pampers, impresses and occasionally thrills when the road turns winding, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class should prove a very satisfying purchase. Vast improvements in interior design and materials help the 2016 C-Class shed its ‘entry-level’ status." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
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