The C-Class may be a compact sedan but it's also a solid, agile, quiet, comfortable and credible luxury car. We tested the base C250, powered by the exceptionally smooth, 201-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine Mercedes introduced for 2012. It serves up ample power, but its 24 mpg is not exactly stellar.
Alerts
There are 5 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
NA
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and front side air bags standard. Rear side air bags standard from 2001-2007. Head protection air bags standard from 2001. ESC standard from 2000.
Road Test

The C-Class may be a compact sedan but it's also a solid, agile, quiet, comfortable and credible luxury car. We tested the base C250, powered by the exceptionally smooth, 201-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine Mercedes introduced for 2012. It serves up ample power, but its 24 mpg is not exactly stellar. We liked the steady, supple ride and agile handling in the Luxury trim we tested; it was more comfortable riding and about as agile as the Sport trim. The cabin is impeccably furnished, with great front seats. Some controls are a little hard to get the hang of, but they're simpler than the Benz's closest rivals'. Our biggest beef was the rear seat, which is tight for two adults, let alone three.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
coupe
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 7-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (201 hp)
  • 3-liter V6 (228 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (302 hp)
  • 6.3-liter V8 (451 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Parking brake

"Parking brake isn't strong. Doeant provide much braking power"

Anonymous, BC (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 3.5-L V6)

"About one in ten times I start the car, the parking break warning light and chime comes on even though the brake is not engaged"

Kennard Y., TN (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Premature brake wear

"Driver side brake pad wore prematurely and needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Rotors

"Was normal brake wear after 41,000 miles that required replacement of rotors and calipers on front axle"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Squeaking

"Driver side break pad wore prematurely"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Antilock system (ABS)

"The system has failed twice. It should not have failed once"

Anonymous, AL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 3.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"Will no tconsistently play CD. Most of the the time just will not respond"

William M., NJ (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"Difficult to use and does not understand voice commands"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Radio

"On two occasions the radio would remain on but would go mute and unresponsive"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Voice control commands

"Totally useless. Does not understand me even though it was trained to understand my voice. Very frustrating"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

"Intake and exhaust camshafts had to be replaced!"

Phillip R., CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Timing belt or chain

"The timing belt tensioner became weak and it made noise when first started. It was repaired under warranty. No other problems"

Richard W., CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"broken or worn out timing chain tensioner"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"hard to start and hesitant. dealership had to repair twice to correct the problem"

Lou M., SC (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

"Dealer replaced bulb at no charge"

Dave R., CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"Erratic performance"

Anonymous, OH (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.5-L V6)
Wiper motor or washer

"The automatic wiper system is very erratic and something that I wish I could over-ride. Sometimes when it's just drizzling the wipers will turn on full speed and other times when it's raining hard it takes them a while to switch to a faster speed. It's "fancy" but not helpful"

Kennard Y., TN (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Constantly having indicator light bulbs replaced"

Anonymous, OH (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

"Had to replace the compressor"

Anonymous, OR (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Blower (fan) motor

"Fan would not work"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"The blower motor will stop working them come back on full blast. Frustrating and the dealership "cannot replicate the problem" thus cannot fix it"

Kennard Y., TN (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"motor failed due to water being pushed into the vent by blowers in car wash. Poor design that was fixed the next year. Have to turn off the climate control during car wash"

Richard V., NY (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - movement

"Driver's power seat failed"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Sunroof

"Had to replace sunroof rails they broke under normal use. Covered by warranty"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Windows

"Power window would not roll down completely"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"A valve was stuck and replaced by the dealer at no charge. An easy fix"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Fuel pump

"4 visits to the dealership. Malfunction of the High Pressure Fuel Pump stalled the engine. Was replaced under warranty"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"fuel pump made grinding noise-dealer replaced it"

Anonymous, MN (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Failure of the Electronic steering / ignition lock system"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"On three occasions, while idling at a stop sign, the engine would abruptly die. However, I was able to immediately start it again"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
4WD/AWD components

"Vibration in the steering with the front wheel drive, coming from the automatic transfer case"

Stephen M., MA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Electronic ignition

"The car has push button start and recently this starting has proven to be very difficult, causing the car not to start with the button and brake are pressed simultaneously. The Dealer says there is no problem, yet, there have been time when the car takes minutes of trying to start. This makes it very worrisome for driving. The fact that the Dealer denies any problem is plain nuts"

Michael G., CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Alternator

"Recently had to be replaced. Loud noise when start up would quiet down after driving for a few miles"

William M., NJ (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"After owning the car for 6 months the alternator was making a high pitched sound. Had to be replaced but covered under factory warranty"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Fuel leaks

"High pressure fuel pump had to be replaced"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Oil leaks

"There is a very small oil leak that manifests itself in a burning oil smell. I took the car to a Mercedes dealership and they supposedly corrected the problem but it continues to persist. The leak if big enough that it creates a smell but small enough that it does not result in a large consumption of oil. I have since taken it to a third party Europoean car mechanic and he mentioned that I was one of the "unlucky ones" that had an engine that leaked oil and that he was familiar with the issue. H"

Kennard Y., TN (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)
Engine computer

"manufacturer software updates"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"My coupe has ongoing rattles from the rear seat. Also the body makes a cracking sound near the driver's head when I hit a small curb bump that creates torque to the body"

Jon P., AR (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Unable to identify whether exhaust hangers/clamps or something else"

Anonymous, BC (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

"The dealership fully corrected the rattles at no charge"

Anonymous, BC (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on the trunk is visibly cracked and in need of repair"

M G., CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Paint chips from slightest touch. Strange peeling on roof"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Springs or torsion bars

"Very squeaky M-B seems unable to repair"

Anonymous, BC (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350 3.5-L V6)
Tire wear is uneven

"I have gone through multiple tires on this car. Strange wear. Most frustrating vehicle EVER!!!!"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Thermostat

"Thermostat housing cracked and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"During start up, occasionally there will be no sound. Radio/CD/NAV have no sound. Replaced the amplifier to fix it under warranty"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 3.0-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Torque converter

"Car died randomly while coming to a stop and needed a new part for transmission. It took many days for the dealership to diagnose the problem"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Check engine turned on and a couple of months later vehicle didn't responded to gear shift"

Anonymous, PR (2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
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