2010 Mercedes-Benz C300: Love/Hate

C300screen

As I’ve mentioned in previous Love/Hate posts, it’s not always the big things that can make or break a car for a particular driver. Yes, things like fuel economy and blind spots are important to consider, but it’s often the little things you may initially overlook that can make you want to tear your hair out shortly after driving off the dealer lot. Such was the case with the all-wheel-drive C300 I drove recently. As one of Mercedes-Benz’s more accessible models – the starting MSRP is $33,600 – there are a lot of things this car does right. It was a fun weekend car, and if I were considering the entry luxury segment, I’d give it a closer look.
 
Love: Flip-up navigation screen
With all the high-tech options available on new cars, the center stack on many cars has gotten incredibly cluttered, with the navigation screen occupying a large chunk of that real estate.  Luxury cars can be complicated machines, but there’s no reason for the inside to look like the cockpit of a 747. Mercedes-Benz has tidied up the interior with a display screen that flips up from the dashboard with a touch of a button. For those of us who spend our working hours in front of a computer screen, the option to stow the display screen in the car is a welcome one.
C300stalks
 
Hate: Cruise control stalk
This feature is common across the Mercedes-Benz line, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. The cruise control is adjusted using a stalk that’s located a couple of inches above the turn signal; so there are two stalks on the left side of the steering wheel. In at least half the instances when I was trying to engage the turn signal, I adjusted the cruise control instead. The effect of this mix-up can range from minor annoyance to potential safety hazard. Considering how infrequently most people use the cruise control, it’s not clear why those controls would be in a more prominent position than the turn signal.
By Amanda Wegrzyn | July 16, 2010 | Comments (12)

Comments 

David in Houston

I have always loved Toyota's execution of the cruise control stalk. It's on the lower right hand side of the steering wheel, near 4 or 5 o'clock. Other cars have copied their design and rightfully so. It's simply well thought out.

Style

Simply well thought out are buttons on the steering wheel.

Dan

If you're accidentally hitting the cruise while looking for the turn signal, you aren't driving in a safe manner. Your hands are on the wrong spot on the steering wheel.

I've found Mercedes cruise control stalk to be the best I've ever used. It is quick to learn and VERY precise.

Dan,
really? I do this every time I get into a Mercedes. Now, over time I get used to it but that first day or two I'm always hitting the wrong one.

AP

This is all the more ridiculous because there is NOTHING on the right side of the steering wheel. And that the cruise control stalk sticks upwards so that its constantly reminds you of its presence. And that the turn-signals are incorporated onto the same stalk as the wiper controls. An ergonomic disaster, and only because the traditionalists at Mercedes are too arrogant to accept that they made a mistake.

AP

By the way, almost every review of a Mercedes product mentions this deficiency. I recently drove a 2010 E-Class, and the turn signal actually points downward, seemingly to discourage its use. It is truly uncomfortable to use, not to mention its awkward shape.

Dan

I like the stick not so much because of its placement, but its design. Accelerate goes up, decelerate goes down. A quick tip will quickly adjust 1 mi/h or 1 km/h, whatever unit your speedometer is on.

Modern airbags work best when the arms are thrown sideways in an accident, so the old "2 and 10 o'clock" should really be "3 and 9".

Mercedes design discourages this because it widens its steering wheels a bit at 2 and 10 o'clock making it a more comfortable place to put your hands. Plus, it is natural to put your hands higher up as it gives better steering wheel control. With your hands up there, I could see hitting that stick incorrectly quite a bit.

Then again, I'm a "elbow on the arm rest, two fingers on the steering wheel" sort of guy, so I guess I really shouldn't be throwing stones. :)

I hate Mercedes

I have a 2001 CLK320 whose engine kept cutting off. I went to Downtown LA Mercedes to get it fixed. I have had to bring the car back 4 times because they couldn't figure out what caused the car to keep cutting out. $3,000 later, I finally have my car back, but now I suddenly have another problem -- my transmission does not shift gears. Mercedes had the car for over 2 weeks, and never told me there was a problem with my transmission other than I might need to get the gasket changed. Now it is costing me another $400 for them to tell me that they might be able to fix it for another $3,000 and it "might work", but to be sure, I should replace the transmission for $8500. WTF??? So, I asked them to give me a trade-in to see if I should fix the car or get another car from them instead. They just called and offered $1,0000! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS????? What happened to Mercedes cars holding their value?? ...And why would I spend $8500 on a car that's supposedly only worth $1000 to them??? Now I have to go get the car that I just shelled out $3000 -- for plus another $400 for "diagnostics" and it still does not work!!! DO NOT BUY MERCEDES, THEY WILL ROB YOU BLIND! I have the paperwork to prove it.

I am sure that you get wonderful service and a "great price". It is not the buying that is the issue, it's the repairing and whether you can trust that they are not playing hinky with the car when you leave it there for repairs. ...Like going to the doctor for a cough and comming out with cancer? I am going to get my car and sell if for parts and video the entire project. That is how pissed I am.

Joe Mamma

I can never figure out why anyone who can actually afford a "Benz" would complain about the cost. If you cannot afford these so called costly repairs, maybe you should consider purchasing a Hyundai. They have a terrific warrantee for those with "tighter" budgets.
Moving along, all German cars have some "quirky" functionality , buttons, knobs, etc. Get over it. You buy these cars for one of both of these things. German engineering or for Status. So stop whining and start driving , will ya!!

Ibrahim

OMG. You made me lough so hard Mr Joe Mamma. I absolutely agree with you. Why you freaking complain about the cost if you cant afford dont buy. Like me I am a poor bus driver and got a Mercedes now I cant drive it because I am so scared to put too many miles then my warranty will expire :))) So the car is here sitting but I enjoy looking at it hahaha

Mercedes Owner

The cruise control on the Mercedes c300 is extremely dangerous, it's a few inches above the direction signal and can be accidentally engaged. The cruise control engages immediately instead of a two step engagement like in most other cars. The really dangerous condition occurs if the cruise is accidentally engaged and then the stalk is accidentally pushed up, at this point the car accelerates by itself. This is a sudden acceleration which is extremely dangerous. Please post comments on this subject.

Andrew

The cruise control on the C300 is different from other cars, and if you drive it as your regular vehicle, it is far superior. My family has three vehicles, a 2011 Mercedes C300, a 2012 Mercedes GLK350 and a 2012 Ram pickup truck. The truck has cruise buttons on the steering wheel, which is fine, but sluggish. One press equals one MPH.

The Mercedes control, on the other hand, is pure brilliance. Light tapis one MPH, full push brings speed to the nearest 5 MPH or fully 5 MPH if already at a multiple of 5. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this. See a highway patrol car up ahead, Press-press to instantly drop 10 MPH.

Position is great too. Fast, easy and instantly within reach. No confusion at all with turn signals once you get used to it.

I've been driving Mercedes cars since 2006 and am quite disappointed that they gave in to the whiners for 2013.

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