Used Mercedes C-Class (14-present) long-term review

Buying used brings a premium badge within reach – but is it worth it? Our two-year-old C-Class will help us find out

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Mercedes C-Class saloon

The car 2015 Mercedes-Benz C220 Bluetec Sport Premium Plus Run by Alex Robbins, used cars editor Why it’s here It’s one of the best-selling used executive cars, so we want to find out what all the fuss is about – and whether buying a two-year-old example is a worthwhile alternative to a newer car from a less upmarket brand Needs to Cosset through city traffic jams and motorway snarl-ups during the week and smooth away the miles on longer weekend trips

Price when new Β£35,655 Price on arrival Β£24,270 Approx value now Β£19,000 Mileage on arrival 7998 Mileage now 20,675 Test fuel economy 50.4mpg Official fuel economy 68.9mpg

Prices based on a car with Premium Plus pack but no further optional extras

12 July 2018 – Saying goodbye to the used Mercedes C-Class

It’s time for our used Mercedes-Benz C-Class to head back into the dealer network from whence it came, to be sold on to its next owner. And as it drives away, I’m left with somewhat mixed feelings.

First, the good. All C-Classes look sharp, but with its expensive Designo Hyacinth Red paintwork, cream leather interior and the contrast offered by the panoramic roof, ours is undoubtedly one of the smartest. To my eyes, the C-Class is the best-looking car of its type out there, in fact, with the air of a miniature S-Class – meaning it looks the part whether you’re turning up to a business meeting or a dinner party.

It hasn’t been a case of style over substance, mind you. Our car has also proven to be pretty economical. I’ll grant you, our overall test average of 50.4mpg doesn’t look all that impressive, but that includes an Alpine trip, with a roofbox attached and driving at autobahn speeds. Without that trip factored in, the average rises to a more impressive 53.4mpg. Given that’s a good mix of motorway, urban and rural driving, I’d say it’s a respectable figure. It's miles off the official numbers, of course, but which diesel executive saloon isn’t?

It was on the aforementioned trip that the C-Class impressed the most, actually. A twelve-hour journey with four adults on board will soon tell you just how comfortable and spacious a car is, and in this instance, the fact there were no complaints from our rear-seat passengers about either the space or the support offered by those seats, spoke volumes. And from the driver’s seat, hour after hour on the motorway passed with ease, the ride smoothing out and the engine noise softening to a background hum.

I point those two things out in particular, because off the motorway, they were two of the car’s most apparent downsides. I never got used to its habit of jostling over humps, crashing through ruts and jiggling from side to side over uneven patches of Tarmac, and even after nine months I still found myself noticing the intrusive noise of the diesel engine, especially under acceleration.

I suspect you could overcome these problems by seeking out a C250d, which, despite being a tweaked version of the same engine, is in fact slightly quieter. I’d also choose a car equipped with Airmatic suspension or an AMG Line model, which will have firmer suspension but actually ride more pleasantly, lacking the unsettlled nature of the Sport.

But even if you picked the β€˜right’ C-Class, you’d still have to live with the other aspects which annoyed me. The infotainment screen, for example, whose dated graphics and unintuitive operating system made it at best an inconvenience and at worst a chore to use. And while the interior looked swish, there were always a couple of bits of fit and finish that felt cheaper than you’d expect from such a hallowed brand. I also found myself frustrated with the seven-speed automatic gearbox, which proved sluggish and a little jerky; cars with the newer nine-speed 'box are much better.

Pay heed to our reliability survey, too, which suggests that Mercedes’ cars, and diesel C-Classes in particular, aren't always paragons of dependability. Having said that, though, we haven’t even had a hint of a problem with our car, and it goes back feeling, quite honestly, like new, despite being more than three years old, as evinced by the fact it heads off to its next owner complete with its first MOT certificate, gained with flying colours back in May.

What if you’ve read this far waiting for the answer to the question 'should I buy one?'? Well, the C-Class’s sharp suit appeals, as do its fuel economy, good motorway manners and interior space. So the answer isn’t an outright β€˜no’ – on the proviso you can stretch to the right model or one with the right options fitted.

The problem is, there are executive cars out there that cost less and do the same job more completely, even if they perhaps don’t look quite as swish – the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series come to mind. So as pleasant as life with the C-Class has been, were it my money, I think I’d still err on the side of one of those rivals instead.

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