THEthird generation of the Mercedes C-Class built between 2007 and 2014 finally caught up with its arch rival the BMW 3-Series.
Even the smallest engine 1.6 models have decent performance and where it scores over the BMW is in the more comfortable ride.
However, the sporting AMG versions and some others have stiffer suspension and this spoils the comfort a good deal - as it so often does with other cars.
I'm going to ignore the AMG versions for this appraisal, because they are almost a different range of cars based on the same body.
From 2011, there were just two petrol engines available in the standard C-Class, supercharged 1.6 and 1.8 units with 153 and 201bhp.
The four cylinder diesel engines are all 2.1-litres. The C200 has 134bhp and the C220 167bhp, while in the C250, it boasts an impressive 201bhp.
None of these are the smoothest diesels by a mile, but they are quiet enough from inside the car.
The most powerful oil burner is the C350CDi, which has 262bhp and will accelerate from rest to 60 miles an hour in under six seconds.
The petrol C180 does the same sprint in 8.2 seconds so it's no slouch and it is also capable of 40-plus miles per gallon on a longer run.
The diesels are best for running costs overall of course, but they are also more expensive. The C200 and 220 should both manage better than 50mpg on a run.
Some lower order cars were sold with manual gearboxes, but most will have a smooth changing automatic.
All models are good to drive, with excellent grip and road holding, informative steering and a high level of safety as you would expect.
The rather plain interior is very easy to live with and has everything the driver needs well to hand.
The front seats are well-shaped and comfortable, but headroom is tight in the rear compared with contemporaries.
The boot is a good size though, with plenty of room for a couple of large cases, or two sets of golf clubs.
All come with climate, four electric windows, cruise, stability control and electric seat adjustment and the estates offer much more practicality than the saloons.
Other equipment in the Executive SE includes parking sensors, audio remote controls and alloys, but most cars will have more kit from the extensive and expensive Mercedes extras list such as sat nav and heated leather covered seats.
There is a bewildering number of models in the range so make sure any that you're interested in have all the kit you want.
Pay about Â£9,300 for a '12 12-reg C180 auto BlueEfficiency SE, or Â£10,700 for a '14 63-reg C200 CDi Bluefficiency Executive SE auto.