Mercedes-Benz C180 Avantgarde Review: This Is The C-Class To Buy
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room straightaway - the C180 Avantgarde is $49,000 less than the C200 AMG Line we tested earlier, the first W206 we sampled.
We’re here to find out if it’s more worth it to just go for the more affordable car, or not.
Both cars use the same 1.5-litre turbo engine, but the C180 is detuned so you get 34 hp and 50 Nm less. But 250 Nm is still available from the same low 1,800 rpm, so the C180 still feels sprightly enough, even though 0-100 km/h is dispatched 1.3 seconds slower.
The interior, to my eyes, in the Avantgarde is classier and more luxurious, thanks to the comfort Artico leather seats and leather wrapped dash. Although the C200 has genuine leather in comparison, Artico feels like Nappa, I kid you not. There are no hints it is a base car at all.
From the outside, apart from mini S-Class looks, it still has LED headlights and tail lights, while the standard fit rims look good. Again, what base car?
From behind the wheel, the C180 is perceptibly more leisurely than the C200. But oddly enough, this seems to suit the character of the car rather well. The steering is geared for relaxed driving. The 9-speed Mercedes-developed gearbox will do a decent job with a straightforward acceleration ask, but if the situation increases with complexity it does seem to fumble a bit. Overall though, it’s a smooth experience.
Because all C-Class variants on offer today are mild hybrids, the brake pedal feel can feel overservoed at times. But it also means that start-stop rituals are conducted extremely smoothly, to the point where you will forget the need to turn it off.
Ride comfort is on the firmer side at low speeds but is well-damped at higher speeds. Interior space is quite impressive for its class, now feeling more E-Class than C-Class, even.
Compared to the C200, there is no navigation in this car’s MBUX, but Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is present so it does make the in-house satnav a little superfluous. The other toy you lose is a 360-degree camera, which again does not seem necessary for a car of this size.
Compared to the AMG Line, you’ll miss out on 18” rims, metal-weave trim (we prefer wood), Sport seats, AMG body styling, a sporty engine sound (not a huge difference, to be frank), AMG floor mats, better brakes and a revised steering wheel. We genuinely could live without all of them except the uprated brakes, which would be welcome. Still, it doesn’t justify the premium.
All in, the C180 seems like an excellent entry to C-Class ownership, probably even the best one considering the price-to-shiokness factor.
Credits: Text by James Wong; Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club