Reviews

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Walk Around

We had two days to audition the four-wheel drive versions in and around Seattle, and found that the design, especially in the darker colors, stands out spectacularly, whether the backdrop is snow-covered Mount Rainier or the bare steel piping of a trash treatment plant. While there are cues from the smaller CLA and larger S-Class in the body treatment, the tension in the creases, along with the short overhangs and sleek, long hood, create a C-Class that stands on its own, style-wise.

The view of the new C-Class is most pleasing from head-on, encompassing teardrop-shaped headlamps and the two-bar chrome grill enclosing the obligatory three-pointed star (buyers can also opt for the classic MB-look slat grill with the star placed atop the hood). The fins on the radiator grill can be closed to optimize aerodynamics. A handsome chrome strip stretches the width of the car under the bumper; the C-Class has a fairly low ground clearance; so don't expect to go off-roading with this one.

Large wheels emphasize the rear end and give the car a sense of forward thrust. The rear lamp and brake light is LED technology, while cars equipped with the Premium Package include full LED head and taillights.

Interior

The passenger compartment is set well back from the windscreen, and entry and exit to the front seats is non-dramatic. The rear door openings aren't limousine-like, but the space back there is airy and comfortable one you're inside. Legroom is more than 35 inches in the rear, while headroom is 37 inches. Three adults can fit back there in reasonable comfort.

Cabin materials are excellent. However, we think the multi-media display that sits atop the dash is tacky. Elements of the interior design mirror those of the S-class interior, such as the new center-console design, decorative touches on the dash and door panels. One interesting touch: the controls for the front seat heaters (on models so equipped) are on the right and left door panels, rather than grouped with the other heating/AC controls in the center.

The large, one-piece center console creates an elegant line from the round air-vents to the center armrest, There's wood decorating the dash, which is covered with MB-TEX, the company's term for vinyl, and the leather seats in the Premium package are skewed toward comfort rather than a bolstered feel.

Standard equipment on the C-Class is a touchpad, not to be confused with the 7-inch display screen. Essentially, the mouse-like controller, sitting on the center console, replicates most of the functions of the control dial, which is located directly in front of the pad. The pad allows one to navigate through the on-screen menus by moving a finger up and down, left and right, or swiping in various directions. Buttons on the lower part of the pad direct the system back, and allow instant access to media selections. Mercedes says the pad idea will find its way into other new models as well. We found the pad responsive, but it takes some getting used to, and we often defaulted to the more familiar round dial to adjust and control inputs.

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