Did not live up to expectations
No faults at 46,000 miles from new. Very reliable so far.
Unfortunately this car does not anywhere near live up to what I expected from a £31,750 (with options) car.
It has been very reliable so far, which is great. It is also quite a comfortable car to sit in for long periods of time, however there are just too many things I don't like about the car to call it a good car.
First off is the gearbox. This is without doubt THE WORST manual gearbox I have ever experienced in my life. You have no idea how bad until you try one for yourself. You may think that the gearbox on your 15 year old Ford Fiesta is abit tricky, but the Mercedes C class manual gearbox is in a league of its own. It's hard to describe, but no matter what you do with it it always feels like you have done something wrong and that it is about to jump out of gear at the slightest nudge. I have read several reviews on the C class and pretty much all of them state that the mercedes manual gearbox is "not so sporty" That is a huge understatement. I don't see why the reviewers are scared to come out and say it's possibly the worst gearbox on any car and is really not what you expect from a quality manufacturer, but they always just refer to it as 'not so sporty'
Next there is the engine. It is economical and is quite quick if you look at the 0-60 times. Unfortunately it stops there. It is noisier then much cheaper diesel cars (peugeot 406, VW golf etc) and it shakes the car violently when you turn the engine off. The power band is totally in the wrong place. In a diesel you expect the engine to pull strong from low rpms and then tail off at high rpms. With the Mercedes 220CDi you push your foot to the floor and nothing happens, you count to 5 and then you get a huge surge of power. Yes its quick when its going, but there is far too much of a lag. In 4th gear acceleration from 30mph to 50mph takes absolutely ages, and in 5th gear acceleration is non-existent. It is by no means as bad as a renault DCi engine, but it really is anoying.
Next is the driving experience. The steering is overly heavy, partly because I think the wheels are 17" and I am used to cars with 15" wheels, but it makes the drive very tiring. The brake pedal is quite heavily sprung, so you need to apply a lot of force when braking. If you swap cars a lot like me, when you are in any other car other than a Mercedes you will find yourself stamping on the brakes too hard and putting yourself through the window.
The interior quality is actually quite good. The cabin has a light airy feel and as said before the seats are comfy. Unfortunately a lot of the buttons feel very cheap, they are quite irregular and each button seems to require a different ammount of force to press it. My final point is the arrangement of the standard driver controls (indicators, wipers, etc) Where every other car maker puts these controls on 2 or 3 stalks, Mercedes decided to cram every function onto one single stick which requires pushing and twisting in various ways, which is confusing and takes getting used to. If you drive other cars, this makes you scramble about for the controls every time you get in the car.
Overall the car is a disappointment. It really does not have the drivability that I would expect from what I consider to be an expensive car. If I could go back in time I would possibly buy something like a fully loaded VW Passat Highline for roughly half the price. I drove one of those recently and could not believe how much nicer they are to drive.
I just hope the car keeps up its Mercedes reliability otherwise the car will have absolutely nothing going for it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 30th November, 2005