New 2022 Mercedes C-Class review

Rory White

28 Jan 2022

1/7
The Mercedes C-Class has been given a thorough going-over for 2022, but does that mean you should buy one instead of its established premium saloon competition? Let's find out.

YesAuto Score:

84/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Comfortable to drive

+ Interior wow-factor

+ Brilliant plug-in hybrid


CONS:

- Comfort before cornering-ability

- There are bigger boots...

- ...and saloons with more rear space


Verdict: The Mercedes C-Class is a comfortable cruiser with a stunning cabin and a superb plug-in hybrid option. If you like a sharp drive there are better, though, and if your saloon doubles up as a family motor there are more spacious alternatives.



2022 Mercedes C-Class: walking around it


Viewing a Mercedes C-Class through your rearview mirror will have you confused – is it an S-Class? An E-Class maybe? It's true that Mercedes' range of saloons are all a bit cookie-cutter at the moment.


At least the overall design is pretty inoffensive mind. The C-Class has a sleek look, with a sensibly-sized grille, raked-back LED headlights and a pebble-like fluidity to the lines that run back to its pinched rear.


It's less in your face than a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Volvo S60 or Skoda Superb, but is probably less attractive than a Tesla Model 3 or Jaguar XE. You'll be the judge of that though, eh?


There are four different trim levels on the C-CLass, from the most reserved Sport with 17-inch alloys and a black plastic grille to next-rung AMG Line with 18-inch alloys, Merc's bling chrome grille and more aggressive front and rear bumper designs including some terrible fake exhaust exits.


AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus get the same basic look but add larger wheels with different designs and a panoramic sunroof as standard.


2022 Mercedes C-Class: sitting inside it


The first thing you notice when opening the door of the C-Class is that Mercedes has made sure its interior has a massive visual impact in the showroom next to its competitors.


Even on the entry-level car there's lots of convincing fake leather, chrome accents, faux carbon-fibre trim details and a sweeping design that is really easy on the eye. It makes an Audi A4 look very boring indeed.


Faux leather seats come as standard in a choice of three colours (black, tan or white), but there's the chance to upgrade them to two-tone colours as an option further up the range.


Other things that come as standard as you move up the range include ambient lighting, aluminium sports pedals, a leather multifunction steering wheel and more man-made leather on the things you see and touch.


If you press and prod the leather, chrome and trim inside the C-Class you'll notice the way it's all screwed together isn't quite as solid as in a BMW, Audi or Volvo, but it isn't far off and is a better effort than the insides of a Tesla or Jaguar.


2022 Mercedes C-Class: using the tech


Another big part of the C-Class's wow factor inside is its massive central infotainment screen, which comes on every single model in the range rather than being reserved for the range-topping models.


Not only that, but alongside this huge 11.9-inch portrait screen in the middle, you also get a 12.3-inch set of digital dials on every model too.


A big screen is all very well, but it needs to be nice to use too – just like in a Tesla Model 3. Thankfully Merc's graphics are razor sharp and the response times are excellent. Getting your head around the various menus doesn't take too long either.


Of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard if you'd prefer it all to look and work like your smartphone, which most people these days do.


Still, built-in sat-nav is standard, you can control the system using your voice as well as touch and all models come with wireless smartphone charging as well as two USB-C ports in the front for charging devices.


Sadly, Merc's brilliant Burmester sound system is reserved for the range-topping AMG Line Premium Plus model only.


2022 Mercedes C-Class: getting stuff in it


If you intend to use your C-Class as a company car but it also needs to carry out family duties at the weekends and on holiday, there are more spacious options than the C-Class.


There are no issues for a couple of six-foot-plus adults in the front seats, but in the back adults of the same size will find their heads are brushing the ceiling, especially on cars with the panoramic sunroof fitted. Kneeroom is tight in the back too.


You'll also struggle to sit three adults side by side across the rear seats, although kids will be fine. Getting a bulky child seat in through the rear opening and in place behind the front seats isn't particularly easy though.


Behind the rear seats is a boot that beats an XE and matches an A4 for size, but falls short of a BMW 3 Series' effort.


The biggest problem all of the aforementioned cars have is the Skoda Superb. It has a simply staggering amount of room for passengers and luggage and is priced below all of them. If it's space you need, you really can't ignore the big Skoda.


2022 Mercedes C-Class: driving it


The Mercedes C-Class comes with the choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid petrol-electric engines.


The cheapest way into a C-Class is the 204hp 1.5-litre C200 petrol, but there's also a larger 258hp 2.0-litre C300 petrol if that's not enough.


The diesels start with a C220 d that has a 2.0-litre engine with 200hp, and finishes with the C300 d, which is the same size but has 265hp instead.


The sole plug-in hybrid is called the C300 e. It's an impressive thing, combining the C200's 2.0-litre petrol engine with 204hp with a battery and electric motor to produce a range-best 313hp but also the ability to drive for up to 68 miles on electricity. That electric range is better than most other PHEVs on sale today.


So far we've driven the C300 d diesel, which felt easily fast enough for all types of road and remained nicely hushed even when pushed hard. Most people will be happy with the C200 petrol if spending the majority of time in town, or C220 d if there's more motorway driving to be done.


Company car drivers should certainly investigate the PHEV though, especially if they have room for charging at home or at the workplace. It has the lowest CO2 of the range is the cheapest in terms of company car tax by some margin. That said, a fully-electric Tesla Model 3 will be even cheaper again.


There are three types of suspension for the C-Class, a Comfort type for the hybrid, Agility or Sport. So far we've tried the Sport, which despite being the firmest, was still pleasantly comfortable most of the time.


The C-Class feels more relaxed to drive than a BMW 3 Series or XE and is on par with an A4 or S60 in terms of agility. Its steering is always fairly light and while it'll happily be hustled along, it feels at its best cruising rather than going hell-for-leather.


It's a shame that Mercedes reserves its full suite of adaptive cruise control and lane-keep tech for the range-topping trim because it works very well and adds to the sense of comfort and relaxation the C-Class is so good at on motorway journeys.


2022 Mercedes C-Class: paying for it


For a full in-depth rundown on the C-Class's prices, specs and YesAuto deals, click here.


The Mercedes starts at a little under £39,000 for the entry-level C200 petrol in Sport trim and tops out at a little over £51,000 for the C300 d in range-topping Premium Plus trim.


Those prices are slightly more than Audi, BMW or Volvo's, but then you do get more standard equipment which evens things out. Of course, the Skoda Superb undercuts all of them by a fair margin and the Tesla Model 3 looks price on average to buy.


Where the C-Class stands out is as a hybrid. Here it'll go further on electricity than a hybrid 3 Series, A4 or S60 and will be cheaper to run as a result. Mercedes often has some pretty aggressive finance deals available too. However, a Model 3 will prove cheaper to run as a company car day-to-day.


Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Volvo are all similar in terms of reliability according to the latest surveys – around mid-table and heading south. Skoda is the best of the lot and Jaguar, as usual, is the worst.


2022 Mercedes C-Class: comparing it


Next to a BMW 3 Series the C-Class is more impressive from a visual standpoint inside and although the BMW's infotainment is easier to use while driving with its rotary dial system, the Merc's touchscreen is one of the best of its type. There's no doubt the BMW feels better built inside and is much sharper to drive too.


The Audi A4 has the best-built interior of the lot and is more spacious in the back, but if you like your interior to wow you every day, it'll be the Mercedes you want rather than the Audi.


The Volvo S60 has a serious Scandinavian interior that oozes class in a different way, but it isn't quite as comfy as the C-Class and won't hold on to as much of its value. This will affect finance payments and its plug-in hybrid options aren't as strong as Merc's either.


Compare these cars with the EV6 using YesAuto's car comparison tool here.


FAQs


Q: Is Mercedes discontinuing the C-Class?

A: Mercedes is likely to discontinue the C-Class eventually, in favour of its new line of EVs. We've had the EQs and EQE revealed already, and the EQC already exists as an SUV, so we'll have to wait and see what name an all-electric C-Class takes.


Q: How much is the new Mercedes C-Class?

A: The Mercedes starts at a little under £39,000 for the entry-level C200 petrol in Sport trim and tops out at a little over £51,000 for the C300 d in range-topping Premium Plus trim.


Q: When can you order the new 2022 C-Class?

A: The 2022 Mercedes C-Class is available to order now and the first deliveries are happening in the first quarter of 2022, so right now.


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Rory White

28 Jan 2022