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Mercedes C-Class interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Comfort for front passengers in the C-Class is excellent. The seats are supportive and all UK models get electrically adjustable lumbar and adjustable thigh support as standard. Not only are there many areas to adjust, each offers a wide range of adjustment, too. That means even very tall drivers will be able to find a comfortable seating position.

Your view out front and to the sides is mostly unobstructed but, like all other rivals in this class, over-the-shoulder visibility is compromised by the car's thick rear pillars. You don't have to stress about parking the C-Class's near-4.8-metre frame, however, because all cars include park assist (self-parking) as standard, as well as all-round parking sensors and a reversing camera. Upgraded AMG Line Premium cars also include a 360º parking camera.

Standard equipment

Clearly, UK buyers are of a more athletic persuasion than our friends on the continent, because the C-Class is now only available here in sporty AMG Line trim.

That means all models are generously equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, an AMG-inspired body kit and tinted rear windows. Inside, you'll find standard faux-leather upholstery, adjustable lumbar and thigh support, heated front seats, climate control, keyless entry and starting, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, ambient lighting, park assist, all-round parking sensors and a reversing camera. You also get the C-Class's standard pair of infotainment screens with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and sat nav built in.

Stepping up to AMG Line Premium adds 19-inch alloys to all but the plug-in hybrid engine, as well as a 360º parking camera, more front seat adjustments and a fancy augmented reality feature for the sat nav.

Finally, the awkwardly named AMG Line Premium Plus gets even more aggressive alloys on non-PHEV models, a panoramic openable sunroof, a head-up display for the driver and upgraded four-zone climate control. As a side note, AMG Line Premium Plus also ditches the 'metal-weave' dashboard finish we feel looks a bit cheap, in favour of a wood-effect finish, which we prefer.

Considering entry-level models are packed with kit from the factory, we're not convinced there's much need to upgrade to the higher-end trims unless you find one at an attractive price.

Infotainment and audio

When you're first presented with the C-Class' 'MBUX' infotainment system, you're struck by its fancy on-screen graphics and slick integration into the 'floating' dashboard panel. While it definitely looks good and comes stuffed with features, spending more time with the system reveals a few frustrations.

For one, the graphics on both screens generally look quite busy, with little cohesiveness between the layouts of different menus. That means it takes longer than it should to read on-screen instructions, or spot the particular button you're looking for. You can swap between several 'themes' for the driver's screen but all of them have information, symbols and readouts somewhat randomly scattered across the display – even when we swapped over to the 'Understated' theme! Some of the colours you can choose for the digital display are quite bright and distracting, too.

Nevertheless, you'll eventually get used to the whole system and – while we're still not fans of screen-based climate controls – the Mercedes' heater and air conditioning buttons are at least permanently locked to the bottom of the screen, making adjustments a little easier. You can't complain, either, about the functionality, with lots of control over infotainment and vehicle functions, as well as the all-important standard-fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There's no option with this C-Class to upgrade the stereo, unlike the old car which had an optional Burmester setup. Despite this, the standard-fit unit still does a great job of reproducing your favourite tracks, so only true audiophiles may want to look elsewhere.

Rear seat space

Space for rear passengers in the C-Class is good, if not great. The 3 Series slightly pips the Mercedes for space, while models like the Skoda Superb or Volkswagen Arteon are larger still.

Presuming your front passengers aren't closing in on seven-foot tall, your rear occupants will find enough room to sit comfortably, even if they themselves are over six-foot tall. Sitting four professional basketball players may call for a compromise between front and back passengers but, for the rest of us mere mortals, rear space in the C-Class is generous enough.

The rear seats themselves are nicely trimmed and comfortable, without the more upright backrests you find in some second rows. Sitting three side-by-side in the rear will be an uncomfortable affair, however, with almost no elbow room and a thick transmission tunnel that eats into foot room.

Boot space

Cargo room for the C-Class saloon stands at 455 litres. That's a little less than you'll find in the competing A4 and 3 Series but should still be enough for most day-to-day jobs. You'll be able to get a couple of big suitcases or a properly big weekly shop in with little fuss. Like most four-door cars, however, the saloon-style bootlid does mean loading bulky objects in can be a pain.

The C-Class Estate answers most of those complaints. Its 490-litre figure is much more competitive with its BMW and Audi rivals, and the ability to load to the car's roof means it can handle awkwardly shaped items more easily. Plus, the hatchback-style boot opening makes those items easier to load.

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