By KBB.com Editors
The C-Class offers young drivers a way to join the exclusive Mercedes-Benz family without spending an arm and a leg. Although priced slightly higher than similarly equipped models from Audi, Infiniti, Saab, Cadillac and Lexus, the C-Class can certainly match these vehicles in the areas of luxury, performance and value. The availability of a slick-shifting six-speed manual with the C230 and C350 Sport trims is a must for the driving enthusiast and is offered as a no-charge alternative to the seven-speed automatic. Those not concerned by such matters will find much to like in the C-Class, including a number of desirable features such as the 4MATIC all-wheel drive and a new Flex-Fuel V6 capable of running on E85 or gasoline.
If you're looking for the quality and prestige that comes from the Mercedes-Benz brand at a price comparable to some top-of-the-line family sedans, the C230, C280 and C350 are the way to get it.
Prestige has its price. The C-Class is tight on rear-seat legroom and can cost thousands more than comparably equipped European, American and Japanese rivals.
The C230 receives a new E85-compliant engine, while the C280 and C350 Luxury models gain power front seats and a power-adjustable steering column with memory settings for up to three drivers. C230 and C350 Sport models receive new 17-inch wheels, an AMG rear deck spoiler and dual AMG exhaust pipes.
Driving Impressions The top-of-the-line C350 definitely feels tighter and more in touch with the road than most of its luxury counterparts. Yes, the ride is a bit firm and can even be...rough over broken pavement and untended expansion joints, but it's a small price to pay for the benefits a taut suspension yields.
Panoramic Glass Sunroof
The C-Class's panoramic glass sunroof covers the entire interior and includes an electric sunshade for both the front and rear panels.
The C230, C280 and C350 models offer a Mercedes-quality interior at a surprisingly affordable price.
Inside you'll find a comfortable set of sport bucket seats complete with fore and aft adjustable headrest and controls for the seat-bottom angle and seat height adjustment. From the driver's seat, you'll find a logically appointed instrument panel, devoid of overly complicated touch-screen menus and confusing switchgear. The instrument cluster features a digital trip computer neatly tucked between the speedometer and tachometer. Steering wheel-mounted controls regulate the audio and information screens.Exterior
The C-Class is a Mercedes-Benz product through and through. With overtones of E- and S-Class clearly visible in the design, the C-Class fits right into the Mercedes family and should more than satisfy any entry-level buyer. The Sport models offer a more distinct look than their Luxury counterparts, with sporty six-spoke alloy wheels and numerous details borrowed from Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division.
The C230 Sport features a six-speed manual transmission, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), front and rear fog lights, dual heated power mirrors with turn signals, AM/FM/CD stereo, front and rear side-impact and head-curtain airbags, stability control, cruise control, sport suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels and heated windshield wipers. The C280 and C350 Luxury models add more powerful V6 engines, 16-inch wheels and more standard equipment plus the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
Popular C-Class options, which are typically grouped into packages, include a panoramic glass sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, in-dash six-disc CD changer, audio upgrades, COMAND navigation system, heated front seats and a power rear sunshade.
The C230's new 2.5-liter powerplant is a definite improvement over the old supercharged four-cylinder and its Flex-Fuel versatility makes it ideal for areas that supply E85. The more powerful V6s found in the C280 and C350 suit this car's image, but buyers will pay a price, first at the dealership and then at the gas pump.
201 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
181 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 (E85), 19/25 (Gasoline)
228 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 (RWD), 19/26 (AWD),
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (RWD manual), 20/29 (RWD automatic), 19/24 (AWD automatic)
By Andy F on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great purchase..awesome value...Superior engineering...Comfortable and amazing handling over all types of roads..."
By Lurch on Thursday, February 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 187,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, and has great hi-way mpg"
Cons: "cup holders holds nothing, and cramped space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Granted my vehicle has a ton of milage on it, but I have had it for about 50,000 miles. Granted the car was ahead of its time, but now its just eh. I'm a bigger guy and the seats are way too small for me. Also about 1500 miles after buying the vehicle the power seats witch were amazing turned into a battery killer. If I let the car sit for to long with the seats plugged in the car battery would die. Also the car has a cup holder that is useless to say the least. Not even a medium sized soft drink fits in the holder. Personally if you are thinking about driving this vehicle I would say to look for something better and more reliable. Yes the vehicle was ahead of its time, but thats the thing it was. If you want to spend the money on this vehicle I would tell you to save the money and buy something newer, and better."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Niklas on Saturday, November 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "You get that Mercedes prestige"
Cons: "You'd do better buying a Ford"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased this car from a private dealer on an 'as is' sale 16 months ago and have had problems from Day 1. I would highly recommend only buying this car from a dealer with an extended warranty. Most issues I list below have been confirmed by other owners on the MB Blog. Drive train has been fine, performance acceptable but it is prone to 'parasitic battery drain' (yes, there is even a term for it!) that will leave the battery dead in a matter of hours. The air system is temperamental, the sensors over-sensor, the seat modules blew, the auto intermittent wipers don't work, now the wipers don't work at all unless the car is going more than 6 mph, the wiper-washer reservoir leaks and just the labor to replace is nearly $400... the exterior paint is sub-par and there is rust in the rear passenger door (this car came from a southern climate) and there is much more I cannot remember off the top of my head... in most circles this car would be called LEMON!"
23 people out of 41 found this review helpful
By C180K on Sunday, November 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 186,750overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel economy, fun to drive, manual 6 speed trans"
Cons: "Flip out cup holder is useless and in the way"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a great entry level car. I previously had a 1998 BMW 528i (Manual 5 Speed) and the Benz is very comparable. Though smaller and the doesn't handle as "balanced" as the E39 BMW, its a great little runner. Not very fast off the line (6 speed manual) but its a heck of a freeway car. Easily runs at 125 mph all day long. Mine is the C230 Kompressor Sport, 1.8ltr (yep 1.8 4 cylinder) with a factory supercharger. Great pull, awesome gas mileage too. I bought her used, one owner with about 90,000 miles. Bright red with the leatherette interior. Build quality is awesome, body and interior still look like new. My only complaint is the front end chips easily (normal wear & tear), but with almost 200,000 miles I have no squeaks, rattles or issues with the build. Mechanically, I've only had two issues. The MAF sensor went out causing the idle to rev up and down ($750 repair) and the voltage regulator IS going out causing the headlights to blink off and on until the car is hot ($47.00 part, I'm doing the install). Otherwise, its Mercedes luxury at a Honda price! Only changes have been 19 inch staggered TSW wheels, upgraded Pioneer Double-din DVD system with Bluetooth and integrated phone connection. Car still has the original clutch at almost 200,000 miles!"
20 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By Mom on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "We'll engineered advanced features for production"
Cons: "Have found none"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"First mercedes ever owned-would drive no other brand of car. Advanced features for product year. Absolutely reliable. Superbly engineered. Seat warmers are fabulous. Air conditioner the best."
17 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By 3-point star on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Fun to drive, Quick, Comfortable"
Cons: "Small car, Outdated look"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had my Mercedes c280 since 32k miles. It now has almost 100k. Absolutely love the car and had no problems with it. The only things I have done is change the tires, oil, and breaks. I also have a 2007 E350 if I could get the feel of the C280 while driving the E350 I would be very happy! Pros: Very comfortable car Very quick Soft quiet ride Great MPG (on the free I get close to 32mpg, city about 24mpg) Fairly cheap to maintain Auto lights Auto dimming mirrors Auto wipers Cons: Its a bit small Now an outdated look"
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful