The C-Class is a car of which Mercedes should be proud. As the entry point to traditional Mercedes ownership where cars have their engines at one end and their driven wheels at the other, it is a fine example of the breed. Additionally, it leaves you curious to find out how much better even than that must be an E-Class or S-Class, so for Mercedes it does its job to perfection.

It also performs its less traditional but no less important task with impressive skill. If ever a car was going to convince prospects that Mercedes is no longer an old man’s marque, the C-Class should. Even the slowest, least powerful model is fun to drive, and it's an enjoyment level that ratchets up through the ranges until you reach the AMG, our favourite ultra-high performance small saloon or estate.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
A likeable and capable contender, but not quite as good as the BMW 3 Series

As ever, however, the C-Class has one problem, and it’s got a BMW propellor on its nose. This generation of C-Class has run its 3 Series neighbour closer than any other, but if you compare the core models on the key battleground it's possible to conclude that a BMW 320d is still a better car than a Mercedes C 220 CDI.

The margin is not large, but it is there. It looks like Mercedes will be pushing that rock uphill for just a little longer yet.

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