1 Mercedes-Benz Model Finished Dead Last in Consumer Reports Rear-Seat Safety Testing

Mercedes-Benz is one of the most highly regarded luxury automakers, and the German brand’s cars are well known for their opulence. They’re also known for their host of safety features. However, one model performed poorly in Consumer Reports’ recent rear-seat safety testing. Find out why the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class finished dead last.

Consumer Reports now tests for rear-seat safety

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Consumer Reports' rear-seat testing scores
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class | MBUSA

According to Consumer Reports, the rear-seat safety test is a evaluation the consumer site introduced in 2021. Its purpose is to evaluate the safety of vehicles’ rear seats for children and adults. CR’s testers look at six aspects. Three are related to children, and the others are general categories.

The areas related to kids include the child-seat fit category, measuring the ease of properly installing children’s car seats. Then there’s the booster-seat use category, which measures how easy it is to install booster seats and whether those seats stay in place. Finally, there’s the rear-occupant alert category. It looks at whether a car has safety features that might prevent hot-car deaths.

The other three testing categories relate to rear restraints. Rear-seat minders remind passengers in the back to buckle up. Advanced rear restraints can enhance seat belts’ effectiveness. And rear head restraints measure the effectiveness and safety of the car’s rear head restraints.

CR clarifies that cars that perform poorly in these evaluations aren’t necessarily dangerous. “The message from our new rear-seat safety testing is not that vehicles with lower scores are unsafe, but that they do not offer the same comparative margin of protection as those vehicles that earn higher marks,” says Emily A. Thomas, an automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports.

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class finished last on Consumer Reports’ rear-seat safety tests

When Consumer Reports finished testing the vehicles and tallied the scores, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ended up in last place among 54 models. Ironically, the 2022 C-Class won an IIHS safety award. Of the six rear-seat safety categories Consumer Reports tested, the C-Class scored terribly in three. However, the luxury car performed decently in two areas and scored well in one.

The one category where it did well was rear head restraints. The two areas where the C-Class performed decently were booster seat use and advanced rear restraints. And the three categories where the car performed poorly were child-seat fit, rear occupant alert, and rear-seat minders.

According to Consumer Reports, mainstream models from Toyota and Honda scored well in comparison. For example, the 2022 Toyota Sienna minivan took first place.

To be fair to the C-Class, CR tested two other Mercedes-Benz models, and both scored poorly. The EQS electric sedan scored the highest of the three, but it was still below average. The GLA compact SUV scored only slightly better than the C-Class. 

Overview of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Though its terrible rear-seat safety score could be a deal-breaker for some shoppers, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class remains a high-quality compact car. It starts at around $44,000 — reasonably affordable for a luxury vehicle. Of course, Mercedes-Benz offers plenty of options.

The range-topping Pinnacle trim starts at about $48,000. As for features, the C-Class has an 11.9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display.

Unsurprisingly, the cabin is stylish and opulent. Synthetic leather upholstery is standard, as are heated front seats. There’s only one engine option: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder harnessing 255 hp. But it’s powerful enough to make driving the C-Class fun.

RELATED: Downgraded 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Won’t Have V6 or V8 Engines