2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic / C-Class sedan used car review W204

2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic / C-Class sedan used car review W204


In the United States, there’s a new family
hierarchy developing at Mercedes-Benz. 2014 sees the introduction of the CLA – a compact,
front wheel drive entry level vehicle for the brand, with a starting price in the $30,000
range. This means that the upcoming 2015 C-class has room to grow – and in fact it will be
larger with a more upscale interior and a higher starting price. So what does this mean
for the outgoing model? Well for starters the current generation has
been with us since 2008 and over the last 6 years has seen small, incremental improvements,
ultimately ending up with what you see here. Our tester is a C300 and because we’re in
the Northeast where snow happens, it’s equipped with AWD or what Mercedes calls “4Matic”.
The 4-door sedan is the most popular body style, but depending on where you live in
the world there is also a wagon or estate version available and in 2012 a 2-door coupe
made its debut. Exterior styling is typical Mercedes-Benz,
but with sport models featuring a large 3-pointed star front and center and sporty wheels. Luxury
versions have a more traditional grille and hood-mounted emblem. In 2012 an update was
done that changed the shape of the headlights to these more aggressive units and added LED
daytime running lights to keep up with the current LED obsession, especially by rivals
like Audi. On the side there are clean lines and you really get a sense that this is a
small car. In the rear Mercedes’ signature horizontal bars can subtly be found in rather
large tail light housings, but otherwise it’s starting to look a bit dated. Inside there’s plenty of adjustments available
to help you find just the right seating position, including the door panel mounted seat controls
we’ve been seeing in Mercedes-Benz cars for years. Storage and connectivity are somewhat
lacking but interior materials quality and ergonomics are generally pretty good. I didn’t
really care for the position of the HVAC controls behind the gear selector, but I liked that
the door panels have all the window switches arranged vertically, so you can see them easily. Overall it’s a nice place to spend time
but isn’t quite as exciting as a BMW 3-Series or as modern as an Infiniti Q50 or Lexus IS
– all of which have the advantage of being all new within the last year or 2. The upcoming
2015 should be a marked improvement. Space is decent for a compact car, especially for
one with a rear-wheel drive chassis. If you didn’t realize this car is about the same
exact size as a Honda Civic sedan., so despite what people commonly think, it’s not large. Trunk space is adequate as well, for when
you need to kidnap a friend or carry your stuff with an official globe rating of 5.
A split fold-down rear seat gives you even more space. Based on the C300 nomenclature you’d expect
there to be a 3.0L engine, but under the hood is a detuned version of the 3.5L V6 that can
found in many of Mercedes-benz’s other models. In this case it makes 248 HP and 251 pound-feet
of torque linked up to a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters – the only
available option. This combination results in a 0-60 time of around 6.0 seconds with
fuel economy coming in at 20 in the city, 28 out on the highway. This is helped by a
standard start-stop system which will shut the engine down completely in traffic or at
stop lights and automatically restart when you start moving – all while accessories like
your radio continue to work. Transitions are somewhat smoother than in the BMW 3-Series
but luckily the feature can be shut off at the press of a button if it should distract
you too much or perhaps for when there’s passengers in your car. Overall while this
is a nice power train, I do wish the exhaust note had a bit more lust to it. Out on the road the C300 rides well, its good
steering and small size helps handling but it still feels like a substantial car. Luxury
versions ride a little bit softer and are quieter. Visibility out is good and overall
the car is right on par with others in the class like the Audi A4. If you want more performance
the C350 also comes with a 3.5L V6, but it delivers 302HP and 273 pound-feet of torque.
If that’s not quite enough other variants like the C63 AMG, AMG Black Series coupe and
AMG “Edition 507” all come with a 6.2L V8 making anywhere from 451HP to a staggering
510. On the other end of the spectrum the C250 serves up a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
that produces 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque while returning a few more MPG than
the base V6. Elsewhere in the world there’s a wider range of smaller displacement gasoline
engines and even diesels – so check your local market. Driving a compact car, in the back of your
mind you’re always concerned about safety – although the German car companies usually
have a good reputation. It’s worth noting that even though this is an older design,
remember it debuted 6 years ago, it still performs well in the Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety’s crash tests, except for the new small overlap test where it received
a rating of “marginal” – that’s only one step up from the worst rating of “poor”.
It’s also worth noting that the C-class’s biggest competitor, the BMW 3-Series received
the same exact ratings, even though it’s a brand new design. Meanwhile Infiniti’s
Q50, also brand new, scored slightly better, earning an “acceptable” rating. We’ll
have to see how the Cadillac ATS and Lexus IS do in this important test but in the meantime
you should take a look at the Volvo S60, which did good in every single crash test, earning
it a “top safety pick plus” rating – the highest a car can get. The Audi A4 should
definitely make you pause as it scores lower than all of them. And you may want to shop around a bit anyway,
as pricing for the C300 starts at just under 40,000 USD but option packages add up quickly
– even to get basic things like a rear view camera and navigation, you could be spending
thousands extra. But this is the last lower priced C-class you can buy, as when the next
generation hits dealerships at the of this year, it will likely carry a significantly
higher price tag. And think about how much that Mercedes-Benz nameplate means to you,
when there are other new cars that give you more for your money or even a pre-owned Mercedes
where you won’t take as big a hit on the depreciation. As always, spend some time and do your research
including subscribing to our channel where you see videos of the cars that the Mercedes-Benz
C-class competes against. Thank you for watching!

About the Author: Michael Flood

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