2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Change year or vehicle
$4,171 — $20,543 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2010 Mercedes‑Benz C‑Class. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    15-22 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    228-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort in C300, C350
  • Eye-pleasing styling
  • Crash-test ratings
  • Exhilarating V-8 power and sound (C63 AMG)
  • Well-equipped base model
  • Good all-around visibility

The Bad

  • Sloppy handling (C300, C350)
  • Small backseat and trunk
  • Some lackluster cabin materials
  • So-so gas mileage
  • Punishing ride in C63 AMG
  • Firm front seats uncomfortable for long drives

Notable Features of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

  • V-6 or V-8 drivetrains
  • Rear- or all-wheel drive
  • Up to 11 airbags
  • Available 481-hp C63 AMG
  • Seven-speed automatic

2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Road Test

Kelsey Mays

Traditionally the cheapest bed at Hotel Benz, the C-Class sedan has been a success for Mercedes-Benz. It's outsold its larger siblings eight of the past 10 years — despite the fact that some versions have presented a cut-rate side to the brand.

Now well into its third generation, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is competent, but its cost-cutting interior ranks it below a number of competitors on the luxury ladder.

Trim levels for the C-Class include the C300 Sport, C300 Luxury and C350 Sport; click here to compare them with the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There's also a high-performance C63 AMG, which we cover in greater detail in our review of the '09 model. All four cars come standard with rear-wheel drive; the C300 Sport and Luxury offer Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive. I evaluated an all-wheel-drive C300 Sport.

Small, Stately

German sport sedans aren't a plus-sized group, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is among the smallest. With a footprint roughly equal to that of a Nissan Sentra, the C-Class looks like a miniature version of Mercedes' S-Class flagship. Other than the tail's awkward forward-leaning stance, it's a well-proportioned look — and it's aging better than the prior-generation's portly curves.

C300 Luxury models have a traditional three-pointed star hood ornament. All others drape a larger emblem over the grille itself. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard on the C300 and C350, with 18-inchers optional. C300 Luxury models have uniqu...

Traditionally the cheapest bed at Hotel Benz, the C-Class sedan has been a success for Mercedes-Benz. It's outsold its larger siblings eight of the past 10 years — despite the fact that some versions have presented a cut-rate side to the brand.

Now well into its third generation, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is competent, but its cost-cutting interior ranks it below a number of competitors on the luxury ladder.

Trim levels for the C-Class include the C300 Sport, C300 Luxury and C350 Sport; click here to compare them with the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There's also a high-performance C63 AMG, which we cover in greater detail in our review of the '09 model. All four cars come standard with rear-wheel drive; the C300 Sport and Luxury offer Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive. I evaluated an all-wheel-drive C300 Sport.

Small, Stately

German sport sedans aren't a plus-sized group, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is among the smallest. With a footprint roughly equal to that of a Nissan Sentra, the C-Class looks like a miniature version of Mercedes' S-Class flagship. Other than the tail's awkward forward-leaning stance, it's a well-proportioned look — and it's aging better than the prior-generation's portly curves.

C300 Luxury models have a traditional three-pointed star hood ornament. All others drape a larger emblem over the grille itself. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard on the C300 and C350, with 18-inchers optional. C300 Luxury models have unique bumpers and side sills, which make for a more formal — if less dynamic — look. The C63 AMG, conversely, has unique bodywork and standard 18-inch wheels. Xenon headlights are optional across all trims.

City drivers will appreciate the narrow 35.3-foot turning circle for C300 and C350 models, but tight alleys reveal limitations thanks to the folding side mirrors. (My garage opens to a tight alley, so it's become something of a pet peeve.) They don't fold completely in, or even close to it — and with integrated turn signals, heated surfaces and available motorized folding, knocking one off would mean a hefty repair bill.

From Capable to Rip-Roaring

A number of sport sedans offer base engines that accelerate enough but fall short of the effortless passing power expected of a luxury car. Such is the case with the C300. Encumbered by an extra 210 pounds versus rear-drive models, our test car's 228-horsepower V-6 moved out with adequate thrust. Pushed hard, the seven-speed automatic dispenses quick upshifts, and the engine emits a satisfying exhaust growl as the tach needle swings right.

The drivetrain's two driver-selectable modes, Comfort and Sport, alter accelerator sensitivity and automatic transmission shift patterns. Even in its Sport mode, the transmission isn't eager to kick down, so passing power is modest. But the engine offers good balance: I loaded up enough weight to simulate three adult passengers plus baggage, and the C300 didn't strain. The BMW 328i and Lexus IS 250 deliver peakier power with lackluster oomph starting out. (As base engines go, the Audi A4's turbo four-cylinder has the group beat.)

Several editors observed some accelerator lag, even in Sport mode. I noticed some, but it's not as pronounced as in some Mercedes-Benz with the automaker's 5.5-liter V8. That king-sized V8 makes up for the lag with effortless power, however; the C300's V6 … not so much.

Stepping up to the C350 gets you a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6, while the C63 AMG has a 451-hp V8. A performance package with revised engine calibrations bumps that up to 481 hp. Both the V8 and 3.5-liter V6 pack a stronger punch — Mercedes-Benz says the C63 can hit 60 mph in just over 4 seconds — but neither will be easy to come by. Of the thousands of Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans in Cars.com's national new-car inventory, just 5 percent are C350s or C63s. Both cars come with automatics; the C300 Sport also offers a six-speed manual. The C350 gets and estimated 20 city mpg and 28 highway mpg, where the C63 AMG is said to get "up to" 18 city mpg and 24 highway mpg.

Handling, Ride & Braking

More a cruiser than a corner-carver, the C300 handles OK. Despite our tester's sport-tuned suspension, midcorner body roll can become intrusive, and the Continental ContiProContact all-season tires lose their grip quickly. Once unsettled, the C300 plows early and often, with too much nose-heavy understeer for a car with rear-drive roots.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel turns with a light touch at low speeds but firms up over switchbacks and during evasive maneuvers, delivering satisfying weight and good turn-in precision over quick cuts left and right. Curiously, prolonged turns — sweeping curves, highway cloverleaves — leave something to be desired. There's too much power assist, lending sloppy, tentative steering motions. Mercedes-Benz says the drivetrain's Sport mode enhances steering feel, but I noticed little difference. Probably of greater influence is the Dynamic Handling Package, which is optional on rear-wheel-drive Sport models. It includes an adaptive suspension and quicker steering ratio. The C63 AMG, with unique suspension and speed-sensitive steering tuning, handles better, but when I drove one last year I noted a wee bit more steering slop than the segment's performance leader — the BMW M3 — exhibits. Slap on all the performance add-ons you want: A car's pedigree is hard to shake.

Ride comfort with our tester's 17-inch wheels was good; it could be even better with the C300 Luxury's regular suspension tuning. The C300 Sport's setup allows sufficient road feel but soaks up most bumps with muted ka-thuds. In this class, sport packages can render some pretty firm rides — the 3 Series and Infiniti G37 both exhibit this. It's clear Mercedes-Benz butters its bread on the comfort side.

One of our editors observed some odd body motions at highway speeds. The effect makes it feel as if the car hasn't settled in yet. I noticed a slight bit of this at low speeds, in a C63 AMG we evaluated last year. Go figure. Either way, it's disconcerting.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, with cross-drilled front rotors on Sport models. The pedal feels a bit mushy, however; others in this class have more definitive pedal feel. The C63 AMG has larger discs with beefier calipers; in our test car last year, the effect made for a much grabbier pedal.

The Inside

The C-Class wears the three-pointed star, but closer scrutiny reveals areas of cost-cutting versus the $35,000 competition, let alone Mercedes' pricier cars. It's the sort of thing that requires a closer look. At first glance, the cabin seems upscale — the wood and chrome accents are tasteful; the gearshift pulls with weight and precision from Park to Drive. The window switches and turn-signal stalk impart good craftsmanship. But on closer inspection, we found too many areas that rang cheap. The rubbery armrests on all four doors haven't the slightest veneer of upholstery. The dashboard has exposed gaps, cheaply grained plastics and flimsy climate dials. The door locks employ the sort of flimsy, roughshod plastic you'd find in an entry-level car, and the three-spoke steering wheel is covered in hardscrabble leather.

Taller drivers may want more front legroom. When the seat was elevated, I had to drive with it all the way back; I'm 5-foot-11. The backseat is tight all around, with limited legroom and narrow doors. A 60/40-split folding backseat is standard on the C63 and optional elsewhere. Considering the trunk's 12.4 cubic feet — class-competitive, but still small — the folding feature is worth getting.

Our tester had leatherette (that's vinyl) upholstery, which some luxury carmakers offer in base models. Certain competitive examples do a good job simulating real cowhide; this isn't one of them. The C-Class C300's upholstery is low-rent, rubbery stuff. Real leather seats are optional — but I'm not sure that would improve their comfort. The seats lack lateral support, and several editors found too much lumbar support even with that adjustment dialed all the way back.

One hit: MercedesBenz's optional Comand system. Comand manages the navigation, audio and other systems via a flip-up dashboard screen and a console-mounted knob. I still find it the best of its knob-based peers: Map scrolling, audio track changes and submenu organization are altogether more intuitive than in BMW's iDrive or Audi's Multi Media Interface.

Nuts & Bolts

Overall reliability for the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been average. In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the car earned the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-crush tests, making it an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2010. Standard features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and nine airbags; click here for a full list. Seat-mounted airbags for the rear seats are optional, but the car secured its Top Safety Pick status without them.

The C300 Sport starts at $33,600 — at the high end of the segment, but it comes well-equipped. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, vinyl upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a moonroof and a CD stereo with an MP3 jack. The C300 Luxury runs $35,300; it has a standard automatic transmission, which costs $1,490 on the C300 Sport. All-wheel drive C300s command just over $37,000 in Sport or Luxury trim, but both include the automatic. The C350 starts at $39,750 and is available only with rear-wheel drive and the automatic. The same goes for the C63 AMG, which starts at $57,350 — plus a $2,100 gas-guzzler tax.

Climb the options ladder, and available features include a navigation system, genuine leather, additional power seat controls, full iPod compatibility, heated seats and a backup camera. Typical of Mercedes-Benz, some common luxury features are optional no matter how high you go on the C-Class ladder: The C63, despite its near-$60,000 starting price, still upholsters its sport seats in vinyl — and charges extra for real cowhide. "Ridiculous" defined.

Check all the factory options, and the C63 can top out over $75,000. That's an eye-watering price, to be sure, but an M3 sedan loaded to the gunwales costs just as much.

C-Class in the Market

Second only to the 3 Series in terms of sales popularity, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class takes a different tack than its BMW rival. The BMW is dynamically talented but, for some, uninvitingly austere; the Benz is soft and stately. Problem is, others have Mercedes-Benz beat at its own game. From the Infiniti G37 to the Audi A4, cabins both richer and roomier can be had for this sort of money — and a number of competitors pack better fuel economy and resale values, too. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is competent, but in a field of excellent contenders, continuing its sales popularity will require some work.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Best car I've ever owned

by Lovethedrive on August 9, 2018

Absolutely fantastic. Pure pleasure to drive, comfortable on the highway and exhilarating on side roads. Excellent balance between comfort and control. Very well planted, so it invokes driver ... Read full review

(4.0)

Amazing Car and looks very sleek!

by msjesenia from miami on July 23, 2018

Looks very nice, Car meets all needs , such a nice design and comfortable inside out. great safety features and excellent sound system as well. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class currently has 5 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The C-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker