Mercedes has been working hard lately to move away from the conservative styling with which the brand has become synonymous in order to attract younger buyers and steal customers from their arch rivals BMW and Audi. It is slightly disappointing to see that the designers of the C-Class didn’t get the memo, but despite the lack of flair, is the Mercedes worth a second look?
The C-Class might not be at the cutting edge of style but there are plenty of people who will see this is a good thing, by foregoing trendy lines it won’t date as quickly or shout as loudly as some. The same approach has been applied to the interior which, especially in SE trim, is beautifully finished but not desperately exciting to look at.
On the mechanical side, Mercedes has been more successful with the 2.1-litre four cylinder turbo diesel in its middle state of tune and matched to a six-speed manual gearbox, fuel consumption is very good. In order to achieve the lowest CO2 emissions you need to stick with the standard 16-inch wheels with 205/55 section tyres. Plump for the optional 17 or 18-inch wheels and emissions raise markedly, attracting higher company car tax, VED, and of course denting fuel economy.
Sometimes the greatest frustration with a car is when its looks clash with its demeanour. In this respect the C-Class is well judged. It doesn’t look like a sports car and it doesn’t drive like one either. Equally it looks like it will be cosseting and despatch motorway miles with ease and, especially with the sensibly side walled standard tyres, that is exactly what it does.
If you prioritise comfort, efficiency and solidity over outright fun and attention grabbing styling then the C-Class could well be the car for you. It combines one of the best engines in its segment with unsurpassed comfort making it a sensible punt if you spend lots of hours behind the wheel travelling up and down the motorway network.