Mercedes C-Class estate (2014-present)

The Mercedes C-Class estate is a stylish, comfortable family car but its boot could be bigger and its handling more entertaining

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Well equipped
Comfortable
Impressive engines

Weaknesses 

Quickly becomes expensive
Not the largest boot in the class
A little dull to drive

With their high riding position, versatile interiors and chunky looks, SUVs may be all the rage but there’s still a strong case to be made for the good old estate car. Being lower to the road, estates tend to roll or lean less in corners, look more stylish and discreet and are just as practical with good sized boots that can more than triple in size with the press of a seat catch.

The Mercedes C-class estate is just such a car. To these virtues it brings a premium badge with the quality to match, lots of kit as standard and the kind of comfortable and relaxing manner you associate with the brand. Granted it’s not quite as entertaining to drive as a BMW 3 Series but Mercedes has clearly chosen to prioritise comfort over sportiness. In any case, if you want to go flat out, there are always the extreme Mercedes-AMG versions at the top of the range.
It was launched in 2014 with a choice of just three engines: a 2.0-litre petrol for the C200, a 2.1-litre diesel for the C220 d and a more powerful version of that engine for the 250 d. The 2.1-litre diesels have a reputation for being a little noisy and rough at low speeds. A hybrid petrol badged 300 e and the fast Mercedes-AMG C63 followed.
The facelift in 2018 would have happened anyway but was made more pressing by strong competition in the shape of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, not to mention impressive models from the class below such as the VW Passat estate and the new breed of SUVs.

Major beneficiaries were the C-class’s engines. Out went the 2.1-litre diesels to be replaced by new smoother and more efficient 2.0-litre units. A 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol also joined the range and while the 300 e hybrid was dropped a 300 de diesel-hybrid has since arrived offering strong performance, good economy and low emissions.

Already long, low and sleek, with the facelift the C-class gained reprofiled and more assertive-looking bumpers with extra chrome highlights, while AMG Line versions got a sporty-looking diamond-shaped grille insert. A nice touch is that the tailgate is powered on all trims.

Likewise, the interior was already one of the most stylish in the class and very similar to one found in the top-of-the range S-class. All models have a tablet-style display, circular, chrome ringed vent nozzles and lashings of brushed steel. The infotainment system can be operated using a conveniently placed wheel on the centre console.
Occupants in the front of the car can easily get comfortable thanks to a good range of seat adjustment but so, too, can those in the rear where there’s plenty of head and legroom. The panoramic glass roof in the Premium Plus package makes it all feel even more special.

Unfortunately, this space comes at the expense of luggage room. The boot is not the biggest in the class (both the 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 have larger boots). The same applies with the back seats folded down. However, we’re talking a few litres of space and taking the model’s other attributes into account the C-class estate still adds up to a well-balanced and attractive car.

Last Updated 

Sunday, July 28, 2019 - 21:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years
Boot size: 
440 litres
Width: 
1810mm
Length: 
4686mm
Height: 
1457mm
Tax (min to max): 
£10-£1815 in the first year; £145 to £465 from the second year.

Best Mercedes-Benz C Class for... 

Mercedes C200 d SE
Cheaper and probably just as economical in the real world, this version is a much better buy than the 300 de diesel-hybrid.
Mercedes C220 d SE auto
This version is the most rounded C-class estate: comfortable, well equipped, economical and reasonably priced.
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
Without doubt, this is the fastest and sportiest C-class estate. However, if it’s too extreme and expensive, the C300 d AMG Line is a great alternative being almost as sporty looking and quick but economical with it.
Mercedes C200 4Matic
The 1.5-litre petrol engine in the C200 is reasonably powerful but the extra weight and drag of the 4Matic four-wheel drive system takes the edge off its performance, as well increasing the car’s price. It seems unnecessary at this level in the range.

Mercedes-Benz C Class History 

  • 2014: Model launched with C63 AMG state following a few months later. Beware early models which lacked sat nav

  • 2014: Recall announced for a steering system check.

  • 2017: C350e petrol-hybrid launched with claimed 134.5mpg potential.

  • 2018: Facelifted C-class launched. Includes new 300 de hybrid but promised new 300 e hybrid doesn't materialise

  • 2019: New WLTP economy figures released  

Understanding Mercedes-Benz C Class car names 

  • C Class
  • 200 d
    Engine
  • 4MATIC
    Drive
  • 9G-Tronic Plus
    Gearbox
  • AMG Line Edition
    Trim
  • 200 d
    Mercedes’ badging bears little resemblance to the actual size of the engine, For example, here, 200 refers to a 1.6-litre engine and not a 2.0 litre as you might expect. The ‘d’ tells you it’s a diesel.
  • 4MATIC
    Some versions have Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system; otherwise, the car is rear-wheel drive as standard.
  • 9G-Tronic Plus
    A few versions have a six-speed manual gearbox but most have Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic gearbox.
  • AMG Line Edition
    The basic trim is SE but higher up the range you’ll find trims like this one. It’s available with all engines and transmissions, bar the AMG models.

Mercedes-Benz C Class Engines 

1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 petrols; 1.6, 2.0 (194hp and 245hp) diesels and 2.0 diesel-hybrid

Whether diesel or petrol, the engines that power the C-class estate are all powerful, with no version taking more than 8.7 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph. Under the new, tougher WLTP economy cycle the most frugal diesel, the 1.6, returns up to 57.7mpg but none dips below 41.5mpg. Naturally, the petrols are not so frugal but even so, the 1.6 can claim up to 42.2mpg The worst in this respect are the powerful AMG models, which return as little as 25.5mpg.

The point is, if economy is important to you, choose one of the diesels. The most rounded from an economy, price and performance point of view is the 194hp 2.0 litre in the C220 d.

Among the petrol engines is the 1.5 in the C200. It doesn’t sound very big but it’s a modern and efficient engine whose power is supplemented to the tune of 13hp by a mild hybrid system called EQ Boost.

An interesting engine is the 300 de, a hybrid that combines a diesel engine with an electric motor. The result is a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions, greater fuel economy (although nothing like the claimed figure in real-world motoring) and a boost in performance. However, it’s expensive and aimed primarily at business users wishing to reduce their tax bill. For all other users, the C220 d or more powerful C300 d are a better choice. 

Note that the 4Matic four-wheel drive system imposes a slight economy penalty but the pay-off is greater security in the wet and when cornering. 

The two high-performance AMG models are aimed squarely at petrolheads. If you have to ask about their economy and road tax, you probably can't afford one. 

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration

Top speed

1.5

Petrol

34.5-39.8mpg

184hp

0-62mph: 7.9-8.4s

143-146mph

1.6

Petrol

35.3-42.2mpg

156hp

0-62mph: 8.4-8.8s

137-139mph

2.0

Petrol

38.7mpg

258hp

0-62mph: 6.0s

155mph

3.0

Petrol

28.8mpg

390hp

0-62mph: 4.8s

155mph

4.0

Petrol

25.5.mpg 

476bhp

0-62mph: 4.2s

155mph

1.6

Diesel

47.1-57.7mpg

160hp

0-62mph: 8.2-8.7s

137mph

2.0

Diesel

41.5-52.3mpg

194hp

0-62mph: 7.0-7.4s

142-145mph

2.0

Diesel

41.5-47.9mpg

245hp

0-62mph: 6.0s

155mph

2.0

Diesel-hybrid

217.3mpg

306hp

5.7s

155mph

Mercedes-Benz C Class Trims 

SE, Sport Edition, Sport Edition Premium, Sport Edition Premium Plus, AMG Line Edition, AMG Line Edition Premium, AMG Line Edition Premium Plus 

Excluding the AMG models there are potentially no less than seven trims to choose from, although not all are available with every engine and drivetrain. SE, the entry-level trim, opens the batting with 17in alloy wheels, a reversing camera, Dynamic Select offering five driving modes, artificial leather trim and piano black interior trim. It also has a sat nav, a 10.25-inch colour display and a digital radio plus comprehensive phone connectivity.

For £1650 more, Sport Edition, the next trim, adds larger alloy wheels, sports seats trimmed in leather, lowered comfort suspension and LED headlights.

AMG Line Edition sits at the heart of the trim range and is available on all versions of the C-class estate. Inspired by the sporty AMG models it features a bodykit, AMG wheels and pedals, sports steering, braking and suspension, a larger 12.3-inch display. It costs £1495 more than Sport Edition and is our pick. 

Depending on the trim, the Premium and Premium Plus upgrades range in price from £1995 to £4195 and bring extra kit including a larger display screen where required, wireless charging, a panoramic sunroof and an upgraded sound system.

Mercedes-Benz C Class Reliability and warranty 

The C-class estate has a three-year warranty from new with no mileage cap. Rivals BMW and Audi offer the same length of cover but Audi caps the mileage at 60,000.

To be fair to Audi, that’s more than enough for most business users and those financing their car on a lease agreement with restricted mileage but if you are a high-mileage driver, the C-class’s cover (or BMW’s on a 3 Series Touring) is better.

In the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power survey of owner satisfaction, the C-class ranked 43rd but in 2019 it had fallen to 74th place, one place lower than the Audi A4. The BMW 3 Series didn't feature. This result is not necessarily an indication of the model’s poor reliability, although that aspect of ownership forms a key part of the survey, and nor does the ranking distinguish between salon and estate models. 

Used Mercedes-Benz C Class 

Big new car discounts and sales incentives help drive down the values of used C-class estates, making them relative bargains. For example, as this was written BuyaCar was showing a 2016 (16) C220 d AMG Line auto estate with 45,000 miles for £18,980 or less than half the price of a new one today, albeit the latest facelifted version with a little more equipment.  

There are currently 258 Mercedes C-Class estates available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £12,999 to £44,521 for nearly-new models.

The car is particularly affordable on finance, thanks to that high level of demand, which ensures that it retains its value well. Monthly finance payments start from £173 per month.

It’s still expensive compared with more mainstream estates but that’s the price of the C-class’s strong image, premium quality and good equipment level. As the car ages, these qualities will shine through even more brightly, ensuring that it always commands a premium.

Other Editions