In-depth reviews

Mercedes C-Class hybrid saloon review

The Mercedes C 300 hybrid is the only model in its sector with the option of diesel-electric power – and it's a great combination

Mercedes C-Class hybrid
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Available as a diesel-electric hybrid 
  • Efficient with good electric range
  • Refined and comfortable

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Some rivals offer better value
  • Estate version is more versatile
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid34-35 miles177-235mpg31-34g/km

Plug-in hybrid powertrains in mid-size saloons have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among company-car users. The Mercedes C-Class has been available in plug-in hybrid form since 2019 and faces competition from the BMW 330e, Volvo S60 Recharge and Volkswagen Passat GTE, in addition to newcomers like the recently unveiled DS 9 E-TENSE

There's a new C-Class on the way, and it'll also be available as a plug-in hybrid. In the meantime, where the current C-Class plug-in hybrid stands out is its unique combination of diesel and electric power opposed to the petrol-electric powertrains in its competitors. A petrol-electric C 300 e is available, but it can’t compete with its diesel counterpart in terms of economy or emissions – although the petrol version could be better for lower-mileage drivers. 

The C 300 de is aimed at people who do a mix of local, urban driving and big motorway runs. It aims to combine the traditional smooth, long-distance cruising ability of a powerful diesel engine with the sprightly around-town performance and zero-emissions capability of electric power.

Both C 300 e and C 300 de are offered in four-door saloon and five-door estate bodystyles, but here we're reviewing the saloon. The extensive trim line-up includes Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Night Edition Premium and AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, ranging in price from just under £41,000 to just over £50,000. Depending on what standard equipment you prioritise, the BMW 330e could offer better value for private buyers, but it's unlikely that those in the company-car user-chooser market will notice much difference.

The Mercedes C-Class has always been a less sporty proposition than its rivals from BMW and Audi; its plug-in hybrid drivetrain improves refinement, especially at lower speeds where a standalone diesel engine can be a bit clattery. The C 300 de is faster than an equivalent non-electrified model, too, with lots of low-down torque helping to cut the 0-62mph time to 5.6 seconds. 

Despite the car's extra weight – some 310kg in the diesel – the C 300 de rides well and is very comfortable and cosseting. Non-electrified C-Class models feel lighter on their toes, but the plug-in car still handles neatly enough. It stops short of being as engaging for a keen driver as a 3 Series, however. Inside, the C-Class' interior is starting to feel a bit old, but has been fitted with Mercedes' latest infotainment system and – in higher-spec models – plenty of equipment.

Overall, the C-Class is another competitive entry into the hotly contested plug-in hybrid compact executive class. Its unique selling point is the option of electrified diesel power, offering company-car drivers something a little more useful for when their battery runs flat on a longer run. It could well be a clincher for many. For a more in-depth look at the C-Class hybrid in both its forms, see the rest of our review...

Most Popular

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021
DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE
Best cars

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021

The finest plug-in hybrid SUVs offer low running costs, enough electric range for daily use and excellent practicality. These are the best plug-in hyb…
27 Jul 2021
Top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars 2021
Skoda Superb iV
Best cars

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars 2021

Plug-in hybrid cars are great for keeping fuel and company-car tax bills low. Here are the best ones to buy in the UK right now
27 Jul 2021
Top 7 best hybrid and electric sports cars 2021
Taycan
Best cars

Top 7 best hybrid and electric sports cars 2021

Bringing thrills and performance with their powerful electric motors, these are the best electric and hybrid performance cars to buy in the UK in 2021
22 Jul 2021

More on C-Class

New 2021 Mercedes C-Class hybrids revealed
New 2021 Mercedes C-Class
Mercedes-Benz C-Class

New 2021 Mercedes C-Class hybrids revealed

C 300 e plug-in hybrid sees electric range doubled; rest of range goes exclusively mild hybrid, while AMG hybrid is in the works, too
31 Mar 2021
Mercedes C-Class hybrid estate review
Mercedes C-Class hybrid estate
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

Mercedes C-Class hybrid estate review

The Mercedes C-Class is unique among plug-in hybrid estates in offering buyers a choice of petrol-electric or diesel-electric power
11 Feb 2021