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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was new.


Interior: 7.7

Mercedes-Benz revamped the C-Class' interior for 2012, and auto critics like almost everything about it. Reviewers say the high-end materials, comfortable seats and handsome design make it somewhat comparable to the more expensive CLS. The optional COMAND system gets praise for being more logical and easy to use than single-knob infotainment and climate systems from the competition.

The interior of the C-Class isn’t perfect though. There are some reviewer complaints of a small trunk and cramped back seat.

  • "For 2012, Mercedes gutted it, refinishing the C with soft, rich plastics befitting the pricier E-class. There are new gauges with higher-quality displays, the seats are more comfortable, and the switchgear looks to have been lifted from the new CLS. It's so much nicer inside that we actually feel a little bad for customers who already bought a C-class." -- Car and Driver
  • "Most surfaces are soft-touch, but the overall effect is sober high quality rather than sybaritic luxury." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Just tugging on the C-Class' door handle makes you feel as if you've cracked open an impenetrable vault. This model's interior was always beautifully crafted and it gets even better for 2012, though its austere ambience and angular design may still convey a less luxurious feel to some. Additional wood or metal trim for 2012 helps in this regard, while opting for a two-tone color scheme adds at least a small amount of warmth and excitement." -- Edmunds
  • "Nicely padded surfaces and upscale trim are appropriate for the price level. The brushed aluminum trim that comes standard on Sport models looks great, and the available Burl Walnut trim adds a bit of warmth." -- Consumer Guide


The 2012 C-Class sedan can seat five, but test drivers say the middle person will be extremely cramped. The C-Class coupe only has seating for four, and reviewers note that since the roofline is lower than the sedan, back seat passengers will have limited headroom. The standard C-Class seats are made of a high-end vinyl material often called leatherette, and leather is optional. Heated front seats are standard on some C-Class sedan trims, and optional on coupes.

  • "The lower roofline creates a cozier cabin, which is a nice way to say that there's a lot less rear-seat room. Where the sedan has a five-place interior that can accommodate at least two rear-seat riders in comfort, the coupe is strictly a 2+2. Those second two actually have decent legroom, but foot room is tight and so is headroom, despite a strategically scooped out section in the ceiling." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The standard vinyl upholstery looks nice and feels good to the touch, but the available leather gives off a richer vibe." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Though the current-generation C-Class is bigger than previous editions, it's hardly the best choice for growing families. Some might find a child seat difficult to install in the narrow, bucketlike backseat positions, and the 12.4-cubic-foot trunk is on the small side." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

Reviews say the interior features of the 2012 C-Class are a high point and build quality is excellent. Most reviewers, though, focus on the optional COMAND system, which controls comfort and entertainment functions. Auto writers consistently agree that Mercedes' single-knob system is more intuitive and makes more sense than similar efforts from BMW and Audi. See the full list of 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class specs.

  • "The controls are straightforward for this class of car, and Mercedes' optional COMAND electronics interface is fairly easy to use; the iPod interface is particularly user-friendly. The COMAND screen no longer pops out of the dash like before, and it seems like a good change to us, as it's a cleaner look and one less thing to go wrong." -- Edmunds
  • "Gauges are easy to read. Climate controls consist of convenient rotary dials and clearly marked buttons, and though mounted low, they're easy to reach. Audio controls are more complicated; basic functions can be performed with a convenient knob and buttons, but other operations are addressed through a console-mounted ‘joyknob’ and dash-mounted screen, which also control the optional navigation system. The navigation system itself takes time to master, with many controls buried in a series of menus and sub menus. The low-mounted turn-signal lever requires acclimation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The C-Class Sport models get the flat-bottomed, three-spoke, leather-covered steering wheel. M-B aficionados will recognize the design as an AMG cue. Covered in perforated leather, it feels and looks good." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The inside of the … Mercedes-Benz C-Class features stunning, hand-stitched leather with laurel wood trim tastefully surrounding the well-designed and accessible controls." -- Automobile.com


The trunk of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is average for a German luxury car. The sedan has 12.4 cubic feet of space, while the coupe has 11.7 cubic feet. The Infiniti G sedan has more space at 13.5 cubic feet. If storage space is a priority, check out the Hyundai Genesis, which has 15.9 cubic feet for cargo.

  • "The trunk is narrow, but lid hinges are covered and the area is quite deep and nicely trimmed." -- Consumer Guide

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