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Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

03 Aug 2022

A used Mercedes-Benz remains just about the safest bet you’re going to find on the second-hand car market, and the C-Class is no exception. The Mk3 (2007-2014) and Mk4 (2014-2021) Mercedes-Benz C-Class are effortlessly classy, comfortable and superbly made cars. They’re also well-equipped and represent excellent value for used car buyers. 

But with so many engines and trim levels available, and coupe, saloon, estate and convertible body types to choose from, which is the best used Mercedes-Benz C-Class for your money? Read on to find out.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • High-quality interior
  • Very well made
  • Lots of great engines to choose from

Cons

  • Servicing costs can be high
  • Options can hike up the price
  • Some rivals are more practical

What is a Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a premium, mid-sized car that’s available as a four-seater coupe and convertible or a five-seater saloon and estate. Renowned for its premium feel and excellent driving experience, it was originally introduced in 1993, with the fifth generation of the C-Class launched in 2021.

How does it look? 

Style is a priority for executive saloon buyers so it’s no surprise that the C-Class has the sleek and sharp looks you would expect. Mercedes wanted the newer generations of the C-Class to appeal to younger buyers and the neat design, backed by the strong image and an excellent choice of diesel and petrol engines, have certainly helped it do that. 

The C-Class has more rounded features than its main competition, the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4, giving it a timeless appeal while still retaining a muscular and executive look. On the inside, things are more modern, with an exciting cabin that features high-quality materials and a premium feel that suggests you’ve spent your money wisely.  

What’s it like to drive?

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class faces stiff competition in the compact executive car class. However, while it may not be quite as dynamic to drive as some of its major rivals, the C-Class more than makes it for it when it comes to comfort and refinement. 

The C-Class is at its best when cruising down the motorway, where low levels of interior noise, convenience features and seats that are engineered for all-day comfort make it an effortless and enjoyable way to travel long distances. It also comes fully equipped with numerous safety systems as well as some of the same technology as you’ll find on the flagship Mercedes, the S-Class. 

Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class reliable?

Despite being one of Mercedes’s most popular cars, the reliability scores for the C-Class could be better. Whether it’s the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe, convertible, saloon or estate, the scores are the same. One of the main reasons for that is the sheer amount of technology in the car, which means there’s a lot that can go wrong. 

With that in mind, when shopping around for your C-Class, try all of the electrical items to make sure they work. During the test drive, check that the gearbox operates smoothly, listen for any interior rattles and make sure the suspension rides smoothly over bumps. Other warning signs to look out for include a car that pulls to one side when driving or braking and an engine that has flat spots or power surges rather than accelerating smoothly. Buying a C-Class with a full service history is also advised.   

Which is the best used Mercedes-Benz C-Class to buy?

With excellent petrol and diesel engines across the board along and plenty of trim levels and body types, the sheer range of options can be bewildering. However, if you’re looking for a Mk3 C-Class, we think the C180 petrol models are a good starting point. They’re economical, quiet and offer perfectly good performance.

If your budget stretches a little further, arguably the best all-rounder is the 2.1-litre C220 CDI diesel. A post-2012 model delivers 167bhp and can achieve a real-world fuel economy of up to 60mpg. If you want to step into Mk4 territory then the 2.1-litre C220d is a serious contender thanks to its low running costs and excellent mid-range performance. 

When it comes to your spec, the entry-level SE is just as well-equipped as you’d expect an executive saloon to be. It comes with a DAB radio, climate and cruise controls, and a reversing camera. However, it could be worth upgrading to the Sport if you can afford it to benefit from parking sensors and a more refined interior trim. 

How much is a used Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

You can buy a Mk3 C-Class Mercedes-Benz for less than £2,000 if you go for an early, pre-facelift version. It’s likely to have plenty of miles on the clock but the build quality is so good that it shouldn’t really matter. A post-facelift 2012 model will cost you between £5,000 and £8,000, with the price depending on mileage, engine and trim level. A 2014 C-Class could still cost upwards of £10,000, with the AMG versions the most expensive.

For a Mk4 C-Class, you’re looking at a minimum price of around £9,000 for a high mileage version. We’d suggest spending a little more if you can, up to £12,000, to get a 2015 model with a full service history and average mileage for its age. £17,000 will get you a good 2017 C220d Sport, while £20,000 should be enough for a post-facelift 2018 C-Class. If you want to go even newer, expect to spend £20,000 to £25,000 for 2019 and 2020 models.

 

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