What You Need to Know

Deborah K. Vick

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sits in the top third of our luxury small car rankings. It has an opulent cabin, a comfortable ride, and a strong lineup of engines, but it could use a bit more rear-seat passenger space.

a car parked in a parking lot: 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

© Mercedes-Benz USA
2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class a Good Car?

Yes, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a good car. It has one of the nicest interiors in the luxury small car class, and it’s chock-full of quality materials. Its handling is well-balanced and focuses on comfort, and its potent engine choices help the C-Class generate plenty of acceleration and passing power. This Mercedes also gets great safety scores.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

You should buy the C-Class if comfort and elegance are your main priorities. This is one of the more expensive cars in the class, and it comes standard with a long list of infotainment and safety features.

The BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4, the C-Class’ longtime rivals, are worth a look. The 3 Series has more dynamic handling and a roomier second row than the Mercedes, and it has one of the largest trunks in the class. The A4 also has well-balanced performance, and its infotainment features are more user-friendly than the C-Class’.

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class belongs to a generation that began with the 2015 model year. There have been several changes over the years, so you’ll need to weigh the savings you may get from purchasing an older model against differences in features and body styles.

Blind spot monitoring is standard for 2020, and the entry-level sedan model gets a standard 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Prior to this model year, that display size was standard in the coupe and convertible, while the sedan had a 7-inch screen.

For 2019, Mercedes refreshed the C-Class’ styling, added standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and introduced a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the C 300 line. The 2018 C-Class coupe gained a standard rearview camera. This feature was standard in 2017 sedan and convertible models.

Note that not every body style and powertrain is available for every model year. The C-Class coupe was on hiatus for 2016 and reintroduced for 2017. The C-Class convertible was introduced for 2017. Also, Mercedes offered the C-Class as a plug-in hybrid for the 2016 through 2018 model years.

If you’re considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 C-Class, 2018 C-Class, and 2019 C-Class reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 53 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 53 Mercedes-Benz C-Class reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 C-Class is the right new car for you.

This 2020 C-Class review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2015.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cost?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C 300 sedan starts at $41,400, making it one of the more expensive vehicles in the luxury small car class. Coupe and convertible C 300 models start at $45,950 and $53,950, respectively.

There are also performance-oriented AMG versions of the C-Class. They range from the C 43 AMG sedan, which retails for $55,950, all the way up to the C 63 S convertible, which has a starting MSRP of $84,900.

No matter which trim and body style you choose, Mercedes offers individual options and packages that can raise the price of the car significantly.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series has deft handling and will appeal to those who enjoy more aggressive driving. The Mercedes prioritizes ride comfort. Neither vehicle, however, wants for engine power. The 3 Series has a much larger trunk, as well as a roomier second row, and it costs less than the Mercedes. The C-Class has one of the nicest interiors in the luxury small car class, so buy it if that’s what you prioritize.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4?

The Audi A4 is more fun to drive than the C-Class. Both of these cars have a nice interior, but the A4 costs a couple thousand dollars less than the C-Class in its base form. Also, Audi’s infotainment features are more intuitive, though the screen size is smaller than in the Mercedes. Anyone shopping in the luxury small car class would be wise to buy the A4, as it’s a slightly better choice than the C-Class.

Compare the C-Class, 3 Series, and Audi A4 »

C-Class Interior

How Many People Does the C-Class Seat?

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available as a five-seat sedan and a four-seat coupe or convertible. In all models, the front seats are comfortable with ample standard power adjustments to help you find a suitable driving or riding position. There’s also good lateral support, and you can upgrade to various sport or performance front seats that are more contoured and supportive.

Rear-seat space differs greatly by model. In the sedan, adult passengers should have adequate room in the second row. However, that space is compromised if you’re tall or if the front occupants slide their seats back.

The coupe and convertible models have even less second-row space. Those body styles also only have two doors, which can make getting into and out of the second row difficult.

C-Class and Child Car Seats

The C-Class has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, and sedan models have a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system in this Mercedes the highest score of Good for ease of use. All of the anchors are easy to find, and it’s simple to attach the car-seat straps to the anchors.

C-Class Interior Quality

The C-Class sets the standard for small-car-cabin luxury. The overall design is sleek and minimalistic. There are also cool touches, such as retro-looking air vents, an analog clock on the center stack, and flip switches for some climate controls.

All materials are of high quality and soft to the touch. Wood and aluminum interior trim further enhance the atmosphere. The standard upholstery is an impressive synthetic leather, and it can cover parts of the dashboard or side armrests. For more comfort, upgrade to genuine leather or opulent Nappa leather.

C-Class Cargo Space

The C-Class sedan offers up 12.6 cubic feet of trunk space, which is about average for cars of that body style in the luxury small car class. The C-Class coupe’s trunk has 10.5 cubic feet of space, while there’s as little as 8.8 cubic feet in convertible models.

All models come standard with a split-folding rear seat and hands-free, power trunk access. The trunk opens and closes electronically when you push a button near the driver’s seat, on the key fob, or on the trunk lid. If you have the proximity key on you, you can wave your foot under the rear bumper to open the trunk.

C-Class Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Every C-Class comes with a 10.25-inch infotainment screen positioned high on the center stack. Some critics say that the screen looks tacked on, especially compared with other Mercedes-Benz models. In those cars with a newer infotainment setup, the main screen shares its rectangular housing with a large digital instrument cluster.

Still, the C-Class’ screen is easy to see from the driver’s seat, and the graphics are crisp. You control the infotainment system using a rotary knob on the center console or with an optional touchpad in a similar location. It can take some time to get used to this system.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration come standard. A Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, and a five-speaker stereo are also standard.

Optional features include satellite radio, a 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound stereo, navigation, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and wireless device charging.

C-Class Performance

C-Class Engine: A Triple Threat

The base Mercedes-Benz C 300 features a 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard. This setup has plenty of muscle for most driving situations, whether you’re accelerating quickly from a stop or cruising on the highway. A few critics note that the engine can be a little loud when you hit the throttle hard, and that’s because the transmission tends to hold gears to maximize power. Other than that, the gearbox delivers smooth, refined shifts.

If you’re looking for more thrills, check out the high-powered AMG variants. The AMG C 43 has a 385-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The AMG C 63 boasts a hand-built 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 469 horsepower, while the AMG C 63 S has the same engine rated at 503 horsepower.

All of the AMG models have an AMG-tuned sport nine-speed automatic transmission. Power and acceleration in these performance trims is exhilarating. You’ll be thrown back in your seat when you hit the gas, and each engine features a raucous exhaust note.

The C 43 can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, while the C 63 and C 63 S models do that run in 3.9 and 3.8 seconds, respectively.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Powertrain/Performance Options:
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Performance Packages and Options:
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Appearance Packages:
C-Class Gas Mileage: Best for the Sedan

The 2020 C-Class gets its best fuel economy as a sedan with the base engine and standard rear-wheel drive. At an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, its gas mileage is about average for a luxury small car.

Coupe and convertible models return lower numbers, as does the AMG lineup and models with all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive. The C 300 sedan with optional all-wheel drive gets up to 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. A C 300 coupe is rated at 22/31 mpg city/highway, while the convertible gets 21/29 mpg city/highway.

The AMG C 43 sedan and coupe return 19/27 mpg city/highway, while that convertible gets 18/25 mpg. AMG C 63 and C 63 S models are rated at 18/27 mpg and 17/24 mpg, respectively.

C-Class Ride and Handling: Composed and Calm

The C in C-Class might as well stand for comfortable, as this Benz delivers what might be the plushest ride in the segment. It traverses bumps in the road with ease, and the cabin is isolated from outside road and wind noise.

Four selectable driving modes – Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Sport+ – enhance the car’s ride and handling. Comfort and Eco are the tamest, while Sport and Sport+ modes amp up steering response and agility. Still, the regular C-Class model isn’t as athletic as some class rivals.

C 300 coupe models come with a sport suspension that makes the car a little more agile, but ride quality suffers. That’s also true for the AMG models, which have a stiffer ride. The C 300 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. The AMG C 43 is all-wheel-drive-only, while AMG C 63 models only come with rear-wheel drive.

How Fast Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Mercedes C 300 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in as little as 5.7 seconds. That’s on par with rivals like the BMW 330i and Audi A4. The AMG C 43 can dash from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. The AMG C 63 and C 63 S models boast zero-to-60 times of 3.9 and 3.8 seconds, respectively.

Does the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Have All-Wheel Drive?

Yes, the Mercedes C 300 is available with all-wheel drive, and the AMG C 43 model comes standard with all-wheel drive. Mercedes refers to its all-wheel drive system as 4Matic.

C-Class Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Warranty

Mercedes-Benz covers the C-Class with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

C-Class Safety

C-Class Crash Test Results

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan earned ratings of Good in all six tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and was named a Top Safety Pick+, the organization’s highest honor. The C-Class’ standard headlights received the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well they illuminate the road ahead, while models with optional adaptive headlights with curve illumination received the highest rating of Good.

The IIHS has a different scale for grading active safety features. The C-Class earned the highest rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention features in avoiding a collision with another vehicle. In vehicle-to-pedestrian testing, models with the standard setup received the lowest score of Basic, while properly equipped models earned a rating of Superior.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 C-Class four out of five stars in both the frontal crash and rollover tests. A side crash test was not performed on the C-Class, which did not receive an overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

C-Class Safety Features

The C-Class is one of the segment leaders in the number of standard and available advanced safety features it offers. All models come equipped with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, driver attention monitoring, a rearview camera, and crosswind assist. Also standard is Mercedes Pre-Safe, which prepares the car for an impending collision by closing the windows and tightening the seat belts.

Optional driver assistance features include adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam headlights, rear cross traffic alert, a surround-view parking camera system, automatic parking assist, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a head-up display.

The C-Class can be equipped with adaptive cruise control. When activated, it works with lane tracing assist to keep you in your lane. Speed limit recognition also works with adaptive cruise control. It can regulate your speed based on directions in the navigation system.

Optional evasive steering assist stabilizes steering and braking if you make a sudden turn to avoid an obstacle in the road, and it can direct you back to your lane. On the highway, an available feature directs your car to automatically change lanes when you engage the turn signal, as long as the neighboring lane is clear.

Also available is Mercedes’ Car-to-X communication, a radio-based exchange of information between vehicles. This feature essentially allows properly equipped cars to “talk” to each other about upcoming obstacles or traffic infrastructure.

C-Class Dimensions and Weight

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is 15.4 to 15.6 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,472 to 4,275 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Built?

Mercedes-Benz builds the 2020 C-Class in Alabama.

When Did the Mercedes-Benz C-Class First Come Out?

Mercedes-Benz launched the current generation of the C-Class in 2015. However, the nameplate has a much longer history. The first-generation C-Class debuted in 1994 as a replacement for the Mercedes 190 – the brand’s initial stab at the luxury compact car market – and it received praise for its roomy interior, sleek styling, and many standard safety features. Refined four- and six-cylinder engines were available from the onset, providing confident acceleration and respectable fuel efficiency. More powerful options were soon available. Mercedes produced the C36 AMG beginning in 1995 with a 270-horsepower straight-six engine, and it became the first of many AMG models to reach U.S. shores. The C43 AMG followed in 1998 with a 302-horsepower V8.

Which Mercedes-Benz C-Class Model Is Right for Me?

Mercedes-Benz offers the 2020 C-Class in four trims: C 300, AMG C 43, AMG C 63, and AMG C 63 S. Each model has a distinct powertrain. You can also choose between sedan, coupe, and convertible variants for each trim.

There’s a long list of individual options and packages to upgrade the car’s features. Leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and a digital gauge cluster highlight the list of standalone options. You also may want to equip the C-Class with packages that add more driver assistance features. Note that the AMG models command a hefty price increase over the base C 300.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 300

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C 300 sedan starts at $41,400. It comes with a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for $2,000.

Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, driver’s seat memory settings, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, power-folding outside mirrors, and a hands-free power trunk. The infotainment system features a 10.25-inch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, and a five-speaker stereo.

The C-Class also comes standard with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, blind spot monitoring, and a rearview camera.

The C 300 Coupe ($45,950) also comes standard with ambient cabin lighting, satellite radio, a 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound stereo, a panoramic roof, and a sport-tuned suspension. In addition to all of those features, the C 300 Cabriolet ($53,950) comes with heated front seats and Mercedes’ Airscarf neck warmer.

The following packages and individual options apply to the C 300 sedan. Pricing and availability of these features may vary for other C-Class trims and body styles.

For $2,000, the AMG Line bundle enhances the interior and exterior appearance and adds distinctive wheels, a sport suspension and steering, sport brakes, front sport seats, aluminum pedals, and a sport steering wheel. The Premium package costs $1,500 and includes ambient cabin lighting, satellite radio, and a 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound stereo. The $1,250 Multimedia package adds navigation, a touchpad controller, upgraded voice recognition, and Car-to-X communication.

The $900 Exterior Lighting package adds adaptive headlights and automatic high-beam headlights. The Parking Assistance package costs $1,150 and includes rear cross traffic alert, a surround-view parking camera system, automatic parking assist, and front and rear parking sensors.

For $1,700, the Driver Assistance package comes with adaptive cruise control, lane tracing assist, evasive steering assist, speed limit recognition, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and automatic lane changing. It also includes active blind spot monitoring, which steers you back into your lane when another car is approaching on your side.

Individual options include genuine leather upholstery ($1,620), Nappa leather upholstery ($3,800), heated front seats ($580), heated and ventilated front seats ($1,030), a heated steering wheel ($250), and passenger-seat memory settings ($350). You can also get a power rear-window sunshade ($440), a panoramic roof ($1,000), tri-zone automatic climate control ($760), a head-up display ($1,100), a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster ($750), and wireless device charging ($200).

Mercedes-AMG C 43

The Mercedes-AMG C 43 starts at $55,950. It features a 385-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, an AMG nine-speed automatic transmission, and standard all-wheel drive.

The AMG C 43 also comes standard with a performance steering wheel, an adaptive AMG sport-tuned suspension, an AMG sport exhaust, and a 13-speaker Burmester stereo. Additional options for this AMG C-Class model include performance front seats for $2,500, steering wheel-mounted performance controls for $400, a performance data recorder for $250, and an AMG performance exhaust for $1,250.

The AMG C 43 Coupe starts at $58,500, and the convertible retails for $64,750.

Mercedes-AMG C 63

The Mercedes-AMG C 63 comes standard with a hand-built 469-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, an AMG nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. An electronic limited-slip differential is also standard.

Pricing starts at $68,100 for the sedan, $69,900 for the coupe, and $77,300 for the Cabriolet.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 S

The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S has a 503-horsepower version of the twin-turbo V8 engine, dynamic engine mounts, adjustable traction control, and an upgraded AMG drive unit. AMG ceramic composite front brakes are available for $5,450.

The C 36 S sedan is $75,700, the coupe is $77,500, and the Cabriolet is $84,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

The Final Call

The opulent, comfortable 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class remains a strong contender in the competitive luxury small car segment. However, its high price tag may give you pause, and shoppers looking for better handling or easy infotainment operation will want to check out some rival cars.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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