During a recent visit to Dallas, I needed a rental car for a week and decided to go with Hertz at the DFW airport. Hertz is normally my go to rental car service and this trip was no different. I hopped on the shuttle bus to the rental car center and checked out the car they had reserved for me – a 2015 Chevy Impala. Now, I’m a President’s Circle member, and normally the cars are new model, full-size cars so I wasn’t super excited about the car selected for me.
I ran into the office and asked what upgrade options were available for my weekly rental. The first options were limited to a Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 (won’t fit my luggage), an Infiniti QX80 (only needed if you have a large family), and a Mercedes CLA45 AMG ($150 EXTRA per day, no thanks). After waiting around about 15/20 minutes we landed on a 2016 Mercedes C300. So, this was my ride for the week. I drove to Houston, back to Dallas, and around the city for a full week pulling in a whopping 1,050 miles so it’s safe to say my review is based on a long-term, long distance experience!
Overall Rating: 3.5
The C300 was redesigned in 2015 adding a more aggressive front with harsher lines and a more sporty feel. The redesign took the C300 from a simple sedan to a sportier sedan with the traditional Mercedes feel – appreciated by people of all ages. The one I rented was white with black accents including a fully blacked out roof – one of the best combinations I’ve seen.
My rental included black MBTex – essentially fabricated leather – not the good stuff that your body melts into and leather trim accents through the front cabin. Both were nice but nothing fantastic. It included 8 way power seats for the driver and 4 way power seats for the passenger which made it pretty easy to get comfortable.
The front and passenger seats were relatively spacious and plenty of leg room. The driver seat includes a powered thigh extension on the seat which provides additional support for your legs on a long drive – a small detail but highly appreciated. The back seat space was average for this class, can easily hold 2 additional passengers but 3 would be tight. The spacious interior was met with a small trunk. To be exact, the trunk could fit approximately 1 check in bag and 2 back packs but that’s about it. Keep this in mind if you are traveling with a ton of luggage and a full car of passengers. You luggage will have to join you within the cabin of the car.
The model I had included blind spot monitoring, Sirius radio, but all other technology seemed to be missing. The blind spot monitoring system works pretty well and if you turn my turn signal on with a car detected, not only does the triangle blink on your side mirrors but an alarm sounds. It also included power folding side mirrors which is great for moving through small places but also looks fancy when parked (see video below). One thing surprisingly missing from the car was a back up camera – almost all cars I’ve rented lately from 2015 or newer include this feature at a bare minimum so I’m surprised it isn’t in this C300 especially for the sticker price of the car. The car was equipped with GPS, however, Hertz has this disabled. I’m not a huge fan of the screen and infotainment system utilized in the Mercedes. The system isn’t user friendly and quite frankly underwhelming compared to it’s competitors include Audi and BMW.
Performance and Drive
Driving through the city was fun and I enjoyed the performance settings Mercedes has equipped the car with – eco, comfort, sport, sport plus. This system allows you to customize your ride and how you would like the car to perform and I have to say for a “family car” the C300 has relatively good pick up when needed. The gas mileage is published at 34 highway/25 city which is average for this class of car. I got an average of 32 miles per gallon which I was pretty impressed with seeing I tend to drive my rental cars pretty rough to get the full experience.
Right now it seems to be rainy season in Texas and the week I was there was no different. I drove from Houston to Dallas in heavy rain and felt uneasy pretty much the whole time. The C300 sways and skids through the water on the road, never quite gaining traction, therefore, I never felt like I could take both hands off the wheel. This is something I would consider when purchasing a car in an area with snow or harsh winters.
Overall, the 2016 C300 was a fun car to drive but I paid over $600 to rent for the week and was expecting a little more in my rental. The sticker price of the base C300 runs you about $40,000 and in this market really seems to miss the mark on technology and interior. Sure, you can upgrade and add features but at this price you should be getting more based on what it’s competitors include. Where the C300 wins back points is looking from the outside in with its eye-catching, sporty redesign but this isn’t enough to justify the premium price you will pay to rent the car.