2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Earns Highest IIHS Safety Rating, but Only With Optional Equipment

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a midsize luxury car with opulent features along with great handling. This entry-level option from Mercedes-Benz also has excellent car safety. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class earned a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, that top rating only applies when available accessories are selected. Here’s a look at the Insurance Institue for Highway Safety’s ratings and which optional features are needed to own an award-winning 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The IIHS and its safety ratings

A silver 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class on a concrete slab with a black background.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class | MBUSA

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reduces deaths, injuries, and damages caused by vehicle crashes. The IIHS selects its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ award winners to recognize vehicles from a model year and size category that provide the highest levels of safety.

Vehicles that earn the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS have Good ratings in all six crash tests, Advanced or Superior ratings for front crash prevention, and Acceptable or Good ratings for their standard headlights. Vehicles that earn the Top Safety Pick award have received nearly the same ratings, but headlights receiving an Acceptable or Good rating are available rather than standard.

The six crash tests include driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. The front crash prevention rating evaluates both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian prevention capabilities.

IIHS ratings for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, the higher the two awards given. However, only the version with the optional front crash prevention system earned the award, says the. In addition, the award applies to C-Class vehicles built after January 2021 since that was when Mercedes-Benz made a headlight change.

C-Class vehicles that qualify have the optional Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function front crash prevention system, which is available on all trims that select the optional Driver Assistance Package (for an additional $1,700 cost). This system earned a Superior rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian test front crash prevention, but the standard system earned a Basic rating from the IIHS.

In addition to the vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention ratings, the C-Class earned a Good rating for all six crash tests; Good, Acceptable, or Marginal for headlights, depending on the trim, Superior for the vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems, both standard and optional, and Good for the LATCH child seat anchors ease of use.

Other 2021 Top Safety Pick+ vehicles


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The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class isn’t the only one that received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS in the midsize luxury cars category. It is one of 10 vehicles that earned that distinction.

The others are the 2021 Acura TLX four-door sedan, 2021 Lexus ES 350 four-door sedan, 2021 Lexus IS four-door sedan, 2021 Tesla Model 3 four-door sedan, 2021 Volvo S60 four-door sedan, 2021 Volvo S60 Recharge four-door sedan, 2021 Volvo V60 four-door wagon, 2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country four-door wagon, and the 2021 Volvo V60 Recharge four-door wagon.

Across 11 size and body style categories, 66 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick+ award for the model year 2021. Midsize luxury SUVs were the category with the most award winners, with a total of 13 for the model year 2021.

There are several available midsize luxury cars that earn the top safety rating of Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of those vehicles, but buyers should be sure to select a model manufactured after January 2021 with the optional Driver Assistance Package. The C-Class from model years 2016, 2019, and 2020 were also named Top Safety Pick+ winners. The 2022 C-Class has been fully redesigned, but the IIHS hasn’t yet released its awards for the model year 2022.