The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been around in Australia since 1993 and has consistently been the company’s biggest selling model, at least until the last few years
when overtaken by a number of SUV variants.
C-Class comes in three body styles: coupe, convertible and sedan, each with the choice of 1.5-litre (C 200) or 2.0-litre (C 300) engines.
Note that only the sedan version has been given an upgrade at this time; the two-doors will arrive next year as will high-performance C43 and C63 AMG models.
Our test car was a fully-optioned C 200 sedan.
What’s it cost?
The latest C-Class sedan follows similar lines as its larger S-Class sibling with similar coupe-like profile and scalable lines.
A long bonnet and shorter front overhang highlights this sleek appearance.
The oval grille features a single horizontal bar with the iconic three-pointed star in the dead centre.
In a clever piece of design, the grille infill comprises hundreds of tiny matching stars.
Both the C 200 and C 300 have the AMG Line kit and body styling fitted as standard as well as 19-inch five-spoke AMG alloy wheels.
There are 10 colour choices, nine of them $2500 metallic options.
Styling features with the optional Vision Package include a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.
Unlike the E 350 that we drove recently which uses a wide, narrow infotainment screen, C 200 takes a different approach with a 11.9-inch portrait style touchscreen occupying most of the depth of the dashboard.
New C-Class gets the latest version of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) with nice large tabs.
The second screen is a fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster that can be customised in a variety of ways.
Both screens can be adjusted via small controls in the twin-spoke steering wheel while the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command system proves a third, even safer, way of operating controls.
Other features include premium satellite navigation with live traffic updates, parked vehicle locator; smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; DAB+ digital radio and emergency calling.
There are two USB-C ports in the centre console and another at the bottom of the dashboard next to the wireless smartphone charging pad. None in the rear.
Standard safety features include 10 airbags, including pelvic and thorax bags for the driver and front passenger.
There’s also enhanced ABS brakes with hold and brake drying functions; autonomous emergency braking; adaptive cruise control; electronic stability program with acceleration skid control; active bonnet; lane keeping assist; blind spot monitoring; active distance assist; active parking assist; front and rear parking sensors; extended run-flat tyres; hill start assist; speed limit assist and tyre pressure monitoring.
The optional Driving Assistance Plus package adds active blind spot assist; active brake assist; cross traffic alert; active distance assist; active emergency stop assist; lane change assist; steering assist; stop-and-go assist; evasive steering assist and traffic sign recognition.
What’s it go like?
The interior of the C-Class inherits a number of design features from the S-Class and it brings a real premium look that hasn’t been there in previous models.
The 2022 upgrade C-Class sedan gets a longer wheelbase than the previous model which converts into extra rear legroom.
You can store your user preferences and log into the car using a fingerprint scanner which allows multiple drivers to preset their seat position and cabin set up as soon as they activate their profile.
Boot capacity is 475 litres expandable with the rear seatbacks folded. This can be done without entering the car via small levers on either side of the boot’s interior.
Mercedes C 200 is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with outputs of 150kW and 300Nm of torque from a very handy 1800 rpm, linked with a 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) starter-generator that sits between the electric motor and nine-speed G-Tronic automatic transmission.
The C 300 has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol MHEV that generates 190kW and 400Nm.
The coupe-like roofline is likely to make entry and exit a bit awkward for taller occupants but once ensconced the front seats are large, supportive and comfortable.
By necessity the driving position was lower than we prefer but that’s normal in passenger cars of this ilk.
There’s good rear leg and headroom for four adults without any compromise required from those in the front seats.
The centre rear seat is really only suitable for children. Again, this is pretty well the norm for cars of this size.
We loved the tablet-style infotainment screen, positioned in the centre and slightly angled towards, and within easy reach of the driver.
Our test car came with the optional head-up display but the number of features occupied far more of the windscreen than we liked.
One of the most impressive features of the C 200 is its fuel consumption. Listed at 6.9L/100km, we averaged 7.1L/100 km during our test and even managed 6.0L on our 100km return trip from Gosford to Sydney.
The nine-speed automatic shifted smoothly at all times with steering wheel-mounted paddles there if needed.