Mercedes C-Class hybrid saloon reliability & safety
The C 300 hybrid Mercedes are safe cars, but you have to pay extra to get the best assistance technology
|Euro NCAP||Adult protection||Child protection||Safety assist|
|5 stars (2020)||92%||84%||70%|
The C-Class is a safe car on paper and shouldn't be unreliable, but it's a shame that Mercedes satisfaction ratings aren't higher – and that you have to stump up plenty of extra cash to get all of the best safety and driver assistance features. For context, you have to spend at least £45,759 on a C 300 e or £47,905 on a C 300 de in AMG Line Night Edition Premium trim in order to be able to pick the near-£1,695 Driving Assistance Plus package; a BMW 330e SE Pro with optional £3,650 Technology Plus Pack brings comparable safety features for £43,680, or £45,785 in M Sport trim.
So, it's not the best value when put against its closest rival, especially if you want as much safety kit as possible – but then again, the average company-car user won't notice much of a difference in their payments.
Mercedes C-Class hybrid saloon reliability & problems
While we don't expect reliability to be any more of a concern here than in any of the Mercedes' rivals, the brand itself hasn't produced overly happy owners recently – at least according to the 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Mercedes finished 28th overall out of 30 manufacturers – one place behind BMW and three behind Audi. However, running costs and fuel economy were rated poorly – areas where a plug-in hybrid C-Class might do a little better.
A full five-star rating in 2014 from Euro NCAP means the C-Class should still have what it takes to keep you safe in the event of a crash. Since then, the car has been boosted with a fuller suite of active driver assistance and safety systems, and Euro NCAP has re-evaluated it every 12 months; it retained its five-star rating as of April 2020.
Both plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Class come as standard with attention assistance, dual-stage airbags and Mercedes' Collision Prevention Assist Plus system – essentially autonomous emergency braking that can also warn if you're travelling too close to the car in front. Cruise control is standard, too.
For the ultimate in active on-board systems, you have to step up to AMG Line Night Edition Premium trim and choose the additional Driving Assistance Plus option. This adds modern features like active blind-spot assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and evasive steering assistance that steps in to help if you swerve to avoid a pedestrian detected by the car. The pack costs £1,695 to add.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Mercedes C 300 hybrid is the only model in its sector with the option of diesel-electric power – and it's a great combination
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingThe C 300 hybrids' strong range and economy impress, while the diesel-electric version is still fairly frugal when the battery goes flat
- 3Running costsThe C 300 hybrid models make most sense for company-car users; a diesel fallback is a welcome option
- 4Engines, drive & performanceNeither C 300 hybrid is a slouch and both handle well; the diesel-electric version in particular has buckets of torque
- 5Interior & comfortWell built and with good infotainment, the C 300 hybrids have a pleasant cabin; some rivals are more modern-feeling, however
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThey're less practical than a non-hybrid C-Class, but the C 300 hybrid models are just as comfortable and more refined
- 7Reliability & safety - currently readingThe C 300 hybrid Mercedes are safe cars, but you have to pay extra to get the best assistance technology