Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B)

Mercedes-Benz redesigned the C-Class sedan in 2015 and brought the coupe and convertible models into that change two years ago. The C-Class now sees a refresh for 2019, this time to all three body styles at once. The 2019 C-Class retains the model's luxurious sport driving motif and eye-grabbing good looks, which have made it popular while adding some updates that bring the little Mercedes back into the competitive ranks of its class.

Primary changes to the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class include a newly-updated turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with 14 more horsepower than the outgoing 2018 engine. The C43 model's turbo-six also sees a power boost, adding 23 hp to make 385 in all. New fascia and lighting designs, a new transmission for the C63 model, and new infotainment add-ons as standard equipment were also added this year.

The 2019 C-Class is a four-seat sedan, coupe, or convertible selling as an entry-level luxury car. Three powertrain choices and both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are available for the C-Class in most of its formats.

What We Love About the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class:


  • Classic, timeless design that looks good both stationary and in motion

  • Excellent interior with luxury at its core

  • Good on-road dynamic with a great feel


What We Don't Love About the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class:


  • Reliability is a concern

  • Infotainment is often clunky and frustrating

  • Value proposition difficult to quantify


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Exterior View (10/10)

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a very, very good-looking car. Perhaps the most instantly classic car on the road today. The sedan has fastback proportions and smooth styling that reminisces of the front-heavy saloon looks of yesteryear while keeping a low and fast build for today's sport driving enthusiast. The coupe shortens those proportions into a more classic look denoting both elegance and power in one package. The convertible revises the coupe to give it an airy, more dynamically fun appeal.

The design of the C-Class starts with the new front fascia, which features a more proportional and gauged grille, slightly taller headlamps for a more balanced look given the taper of the grill-to-fender design, and a wider, more GT-styled lower intake and scoop. The long hood, meanwhile, runs at a slope towards each fender, slightly giving the impression of a large engine bump beneath, and terminates at a very fast-paced, raked windscreen.

The steep angle of the front windshield's pillar flows into the rounded and equally fast-paced roofline and rear pillar, creating a low meeting point for the two pillars that gives the car a low profile and forward movement. The center pillar is deleted on all three body styles, aiding this feel.

Body lines on the 2019 C-Class are definite and raked. They flow to the rear in a slight pinch, aiding the forward movement of the car. This classic design motif has been often used and is always a winner, giving the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class a really beautiful look that hits all of the marks for excellence and expected luxury.

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Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The Mercedes nameplate is all about premium quality interior experiences with the best of the best in terms of materials use and workmanship. The 2019 C-Class certainly lives up to that expectation with its elegant interior.

The driver and front passenger are treated to top-shelf seating with excellent comfort and adjustment options. There is nothing to knock in the driver's seat design, adjustments, or comfort levels. The coupe model (and the convertible with the top up) are a bit cramped for headroom, but otherwise enjoy the same excellence of the sedan up front. The driver's controls layout is also very well done.

New this year is a digital instrument cluster, which is easier to see in more lighting conditions, and which mimics a standard gauge cluster most of the time. The driver information screen at center offers customization options. Mercedes also moved the cruise controls from a hard-to-see dongle on the steering column to more traditionally understood buttons on the steering wheel.

The rear seats in the sedan model C-Class are good for adults, though knee room is cramped given the car's size. The coupe and convertible have child-ready rear seating, but these models should be considered 2+2 models, not four-seaters. Cargo is good for the class, with a larger trunk than might be expected on the 2019 C-Class. It starts at 12.6 cubic feet in the sedan, drops to 10.5 cubic feet in the coupe, and then 8.8 cubic feet in the drop-top C-Class. The rear seats split three-ways by default, allowing some configuration for larger cargo items.

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Technology (8/10)

A few upgrades to the technologies offered in the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are noted, with a few added infotainment options. The 10.25-inch infotainment screen is larger than expected for a vehicle this size, but fits with the Mercedes lineup in terms of its quality and crisp output. Additionally, Mercedes added some safety and driver-assist features to the C-Class this year.

Now standard or available on the 2019 C-Class are a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless device charging, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, a surround-view parking camera, forward and rear cross-traffic alerts, automated parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, advanced steering and speed limit assistance (stays in the center of the lane, reads speed limit signage and adapts cruise control to match), and a head-up display.

The technology on the infotainment is controlled through a touchpad-topped dial controller (COMAND knob). It requires a learning curve to get used to it and make it work well while parked or in motion and Mercedes' menu system can be clunky and frustrating at times. Some of this is alleviated with voice controls through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay (standard) and the touchpad on top of the COMAND knob is a nice touch, allowing some entry freehand to speed things up.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

Fuel economy in the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class depends on the model chosen. The sedan model C300 receives an EPA estimated 27 mpg combined, with 22 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Adding 4Matic (all-wheel drive) drops the combined rating to 26 and the highway rating to 33.

The C300 Coupe model is EPA-rated at 25 mpg combined with 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Adding 4Matic does not change those numbers.

The C300 Convertible is rated at 24 mpg combined with 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Those numbers remain with the 4Matic model as well.

The C43 Coupe model is EPA-rated at 22 mpg combined with 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The convertible is rated at 21 mpg combined (18 city, 25 highway) and the sedan at 22 mpg combined (19/27 city/highway).

The V8-powered C63 model is rated at 20 mpg combined both its coupe and convertible iterations, with the Coupe being 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway and the convertible being 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The sedan is rated at 21 mpg combined (18/27 city/highway).

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (6/10)

The 2019 C-Class has not received reliability ratings from any major evaluation group, but the Mercedes brand itself is often ranked at about the middle of the field for overall reliability expectation. Several recalls, all for safety and mechanical issues, have plagued the 2019 model of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which also adds concern.

Safety (9/10)

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but has had published testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The mechanically similar 2018 model C-Class received a 5-Star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, with four stars for frontal crash results, five stars for side crash results, and four stars for rollover results.

The IIHS has given the 2019 C-Class a full suite of top "Good" scores on all crash testing plus a "Superior" result for advanced crash prevention systems.

Performance (10/10)

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes in three basic powertrain iterations. Each noted by a model number. The C300 models utilize a well-matched 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that outputs 255 horsepower to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The transmission shifts smoothly and isn't afraid to downshift for added boost when spirited driving is the wont.

The C43 models have a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that offers 385 horsepower to the same nine-speed transmission, but tuned by AMG for better performance. The AMG C63 models have a big 4.0-liter V8 that's twin-turbocharged to output 469 horsepower, again with the AMG-tuned nine-speed automatic.

In all iterations, the 2019 C-Class becomes incrementally speedier and more sport-tuned. The standard C300 Coupe that we drove is very spirited and well-mannered on the road as-is. It feels good to drive, thanks in part to the low driver's position and the fast-paced and precise steering it offers. The larger-engined models build on that with more power underfoot and a quicker sprint.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an enjoyable sport drive no matter which model is chosen.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

There's no getting around the high price tag for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class in all its formats. Despite this, the car is a consistent seller with excellent sales figures for the class. Add in the expected low resale value for the car (true of all German luxury autos), and the C-Class is difficult to justify on a purely economic basis.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers the epitome of luxury for the entry-level luxury compact class, though, and is one of the best-looking vehicles on the road today. There is a lot of prestige and a lot of daily driving happiness in this car, which accounts for its continual sales.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (69/80, 86%)

Chief among competitors for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are the BMW 3 Series, the Volvo S60, and the Audi A4. Comparatively, the BMW and Audi are just as sporty, but not as luxurious or upscale in interior feel. Adding in the price paid to get similar technology as the standard model C300 and the other German offerings aren't really any cheaper either. The Volvo S60 is less sport-tuned, but is just as luxurious and well-mannered as is the C-Class and it's priced lower as well. The choice comes down to style and expectation.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers some of everything for just about everybody shopping in the luxury compact car arena. It's a great drive, all around, with options for even more sport or luxury as one wishes to add it. As one of the best-looking vehicles being made today, the C-Class gives off a classic feel without giving up modern convenience.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Convertible - AWD
C 300 C 300 4MATIC Cabriolet 4 Cylinder AWD 53850
AMG C 43 AMG C 43 4MATIC Cabriolet V6 AWD 63650
Convertible - RWD
C 300 C 300 Cabriolet 4 Cylinder RWD 51850
AMG C 63 AMG C 63 Cabriolet 8 Cylinder RWD 76100
AMG C 63 S AMG C 63 S Cabriolet 8 Cylinder RWD 83800
Coupe - AWD
C 300 C 300 4MATIC Coupe 4 Cylinder AWD 45800
AMG C 43 AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupe V6 AWD 57450
Coupe - RWD
C 300 C 300 Coupe 4 Cylinder RWD 43800
AMG C 63 AMG C 63 Coupe 8 Cylinder RWD 68750
AMG C 63 S AMG C 63 S Coupe 8 Cylinder RWD 76450
Sedan - AWD
C 300 C 300 4MATIC Sedan 4 Cylinder AWD 43400
AMG C 43 AMG C 43 4MATIC Sedan V6 AWD 55250
Sedan - RWD
C 300 C 300 Sedan 4 Cylinder RWD 41400
AMG C 63 AMG C 63 Sedan 8 Cylinder RWD 67000
AMG C 63 S AMG C 63 S Sedan 8 Cylinder RWD 74600

Comparison of 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class with Similar Cars

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class MSRP Invoice
2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class $41,400 $38,916
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2019 BMW 3 Series $40,250 $37,935 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class VS 2019 BMW 3 Series
2019 Lexus ES 350 $39,600 $37,000 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class VS 2019 Lexus ES 350
2019 BMW 4 Series $44,600 $41,980 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class VS 2019 BMW 4 Series
2019 Audi A5 $44,200 $41,548 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class VS 2019 Audi A5
2019 Lexus IS 350 $42,030 $39,089 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class VS 2019 Lexus IS 350

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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