When it comes to the petrol engines, there isn’t much to choose from as they all perform similarly. We like the C200, which does 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds, and which is well-suited to the city. Out on the motorway, it’s less adequate. A petrol-hybrid boasts good running costs and can do 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, while the AMG C 63 is absolutely brutal, and does the same distance in just 4.7 seconds.
The 2.1-litre diesel engine spoils things a little by being so noisy, but the noise is not entirely its own fault – the C-Class is so quiet that you can’t help but hear the diesels sonorous notes.
Fuel economy has improved by around 20% on the whole, which is very pleasing. Resale values are good, too. The cheapest diesel to run is the C220d, which is good for 70.6mpg while costing just £20 per year in road tax. BiK is 20%. The hybrid can achieve returns of 78mpg and is free to tax, while the C200 petrol averages returns of 53.3mpg.
The interior is a real treat. Fit and finish is great, the design is smart, while the seats offer plenty of comfort. The dash is stylish and marked by good quality, and standard kit is generous. Go for the diesel, though, and you will hear a fair amount of noise in the cabin. The petrols, however, are super quiet.
The C-Class has bigger dimensions than last time, which means there is more room indoors. Interior space upfront is excellent, while there should be enough in the back for most adults. Passengers could do without the sloping roofline, though, while foot space is wanting. A large glovebox and a few door bins are part of the handy storage spaces, while the boot offers the same amount of space as the Alfa Romeo and BMW – 480-litres.
Mercedes – £28,300 – £47,500