CARS.COM — At the beginning of the year, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class received our stamp of approval as Cars.com’s Best Car of 2015, so we purchased a C300 4Matic for a yearlong test in our long-term fleet. The 17,561 miles accumulated over the past year were hardly drama-free given the numerous issues requiring dealership visits in the first six months: mysterious seat discoloration, dead key fobs, window material flaking and a stuck seat belt that trapped the folding backseat.
Related: Follow Our Long-Term Fleet
All those issues were covered under warranty so we never incurred out-of-pocket costs, and the local Mercedes-Benz dealership provided loaner vehicles — CLA-Class, C-Class and GL-Class — when the repairs were necessary overnight, as well as shuttles to work when the car was serviced during the day. The C300’s observed overall fuel economy of 27.17 mpg matches the EPA’s combined city/highway rating of 27 mpg, and the C300 bested the Audi A4 and Volvo S60 in head-to-head comparisons.
Given the highs and lows, we asked if our editors would buy the C-Class C300 again:
William Jackson, assistant managing editor: Yes
True: It was in the shop a great deal of the time, but when I did get to drive it, I remained impressed with its ride, driving dynamics and comfort. That it also feels richer on the inside than it actually costs is a bonus. It remains the Best Car of 2015 for me, and I’ll be sorry to see it go.
Jennifer Geiger, assistant managing editor: Yes
Although its many problems were annoying (and surprising), and my hatred for Comand still burns bright, the sedan consistently delivered the experience that landed it our award in the first place. It’s a quiet, refined luxury cruiser that turns even the most annoying commute into a pleasant drive.
Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor: Yes
The problems were vexing, but all were covered under warranty. Overall, the new C-Class remains a high-quality car that rides and handles well, with unexpectedly sharp acceleration to match.
Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor: Yes
I’ve never regretted a Best Of winner, and the same holds true here. Granted, I didn’t have to deal with the problems personally, but it’s not out of the ordinary for a model in its first year to have teething pains, and it seems like most of our defects classify as such.
It looks good and rides and drives well. I never tired of the always-clean hidden backup camera in winter, though I should probably mention I found recently that it seemed to have some kind of smudge on it, and I couldn’t figure out how one would clean that without a second person to help.
Not a fan of the touch-pad interference, and if Mercedes-Benz were smart, it would make that defeatable with an update to existing cars. But Comand is a system you can live with.
Mike Hanley, senior editor: Yes
Even though our long-term C-Class sedan seemed to develop weird, mildly annoying problems with each month of ownership, its strong turbocharged engine and agile handling impressed. That said, the issues we dealt with serve as a good reminder that it’s still not a bad idea to wait to buy until the second model year of a redesigned or all-new car so any initial problems (like what we faced) can be sorted out.
Joe Bruzek, road test editor: Yes
Even having personally tended to the C300’s issues by shepherding the car to and from the dealership, the many trips didn’t deter me from thinking of the C300 as a top-notch luxury car. We always had a loaner car when needed, and the issue was always fixed promptly and correctly the first time. It’s been one of my favorite long-term testers because its agile handling and potent engine don’t require a ride-quality-ruining sport package.