We look at why you would want to buy a 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and why you might want to look elsewhere.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is no longer the bread-and-butter product in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, but it’s still at the top of the list for anyone looking for a luxury vehicle that isn’t an SUV. Redesigned in 2022, the new-generation C-Class is heavily influenced by the flagship S-Class, which is a good thing.
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class looks like an S-Class, inside and out. Granted, it doesn’t have the presence of the full-size M-B sedan, but it does look classy, and you can quickly tell the new model apart from the previous generation. The major changes are found inside, however, where the dashboard and centre console are essentially the same as in the S, albeit after being put through the dryer. The centre 12.3-inch vertical centre display prominently houses a new infotainment system while the steering wheel features haptic controls. There are two types of steering wheels, including an AMG-themed option that comes when you add the Sport Package (in Canada).
The dashboard is covered in a large piece of trim, either open-pore or lackered wood, or weaved metal. As with any Mercedes-Benz product, the list of available add-ons and interior finishes is impressive. Aside from the six trim options, buyers can choose from 12 seat colour options. There are also five wheel options and a range of optional packages, including a blacked-out Night Package and a host of advanced safety technologies and driver assistance features.
Speaking of safety, the available Intelligent Drive Package brings a range of semi-autonomous driving features such as Evasive Steering Assist, Route-based Speed Adaptation, Active Blind Spot Assist and Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic automatic braking. In other words, the C-Class can stop for you in a range of situations, including when turning at an intersection when an oncoming vehicle is detected, it can avoid obstacles ahead, and it can adapt its speed to the road you are driving on.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes with one available engine in the C300, a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That will get you to 100 km/h in about 6.0 seconds, and 4Matic AWD is standard. The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is on the way with a ton more power, but for now, buyers have to do with the turbo four-cylinder, which is largely carried over from the previous generation. It features a mild-hybrid system with a 48-volt battery assisting in various functions and helping improve efficiency.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a starting price of $56,700 in Canada, while adding all options will push the price closer to $70,000. And now, let’s take a look at why you should buy a new C-Class and why you might want to look at the other options available like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS, Volvo S60, Acura TLX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, or Infiniti Q50.
Why You Should Buy a 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The new C-Class continues to shine with its comfort and refinement while its engine stands out with its efficiency. The technology inside is also quite impressive.
Using the new-generation S-Class as a starting point for designing the interior of the C-Class was a wise decision. The large centre display and available trims combine to create a stunning interior that leads the segment in elegance. Available open-pore wood trim adds an extra touch of refinement, but whatever option you choose, the quality is there. The haptic controls on the steering sometimes get in the way, but they also give the interior an even more modern feel. Getting behind the wheel of the C-Class is always enjoyable.
Decent turbocharged performance
The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder isn’t all that quick on paper compared to other engines in this segment, but the 295 pound-feet of torque compensates by making the C-Class feel quick. Especially at low speeds, the new 2022 C-Class has plenty of get-up-and-go, reacting with little hesitation to initial accelerations and when passing. It’s quicker than its 6.0-second 0-100 km/h makes you think it is.
Impressive fuel economy
The C300’s turbo engine happens to be very efficient. Over roughly 600 kilometres, I averaged 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres, and I didn’t really try to drive efficiently. I also averaged around 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. The 2022 C-Class doesn’t offer a true hybrid option, but the base engine’s fuel economy at least compensates.
Easy infotainment system
Despite having a ton of technology and features, the C-Class makes it easy to find everything. The centre vertical display could have been a disaster with its unorthodox layout, but it’s intuitive. You can access it using a pad or the steering wheel controls, and it’s quick to react to your inputs. As far as infotainment systems go in this segment, Mercedes-Benz has one of the most user-friendly you will find.
The new C-Class provides just about any feature you could want. The safety features described previously are just the beginning. It offers just about everything you could need from a comfort standpoint, including standard heated seats and steering wheel, a range of connected services, including remote start using a mobile app, 64-colour LED ambient lighting and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Why you should not buy a 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The C-Class still can’t match some of its rivals in terms of agility and handling, and it might not be quick enough for some. Moreover, the C-Class is missing a few engine options to really stand out.
Only one engine option
The C-Class doesn’t offer a plug-in hybrid version nor a powertrain that can compete with the Audi S4 or BMW M340i in terms of power. Moreover, the entry-level turbo-4 doesn’t have the punch of the new 3 Series’ entry-level turbo or what you find in a TLX, Q50 or Giulia. Yes, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 E Performance is coming and will offer a massive 671 horsepower, but I think Mercedes-Benz could have benefited from offering a middle-ground option.
A more comfortable ride and/or sharper handling would be nice
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has always offered a more comfort-focused drive than, say, a BMW 3 Series. It’s also significantly improved its handling and sportiness in the last decade. The new generation is comfortable and fairly dynamic, but it doesn’t particularly stand out in its segment in either area. The suspension is surprisingly harsh with the Sport Package, but the handling doesn’t necessarily compensate. In other words, the C-Class is comfy and sporty, but not as comfy or sporty as other options in the segment. Specifically, I’d put the C-Class behind the A4 and TLX in terms of comfort while the 3 Series, Giulia, and Q50 offer sharper handling.
There’s a lot to like about the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, with the interior design and efficient powertrain leading the way. A few other engine options would benefit the model, and the on-road behaviour is balanced, but doesn’t stand out in either agility or comfort.