The car used in this review was rented on my own budget.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 is apparently a “sports sedan.” This means it is a luxury car that is not a land yacht that still seats four (or five) people.

Mercedes C300

Unfortunately, the interface the car presents to the driver is terrible.

The cruise control stalk is right by the turn signal stalk. If you are turning and using your fingers to activate the turn signal during the rotation of the steering wheel (as if approaching a stoplight at the bottom of an off-ramp), you risk activating the cruise control.

There’s controls on the steering wheel that work the display in the middle of the instrument cluster. However, in the non-AMG car, it’s just trip info and a clumsy way to control the radio and phone systems.

There’s a big audio head unit in the middle of the center console with more than twenty buttons on it. To use it, you have to first open up a little concealed screen above the vents, and most of it you can actually do with a knob that rotates, moves four directions, clicks, and has two more buttons next to it down by the gear shift. (The steering wheel controls are just a secondary way to use the audio system, and are navigated completely differently)

The version I rented did not have iPod support, and the analog-in jack is way off on the far side of the glove box. The Bluetooth support is for phones only, and it was kind of clumsy to get it set up with the audio UI too.

The car is fast enough for city driving, handles well enough for city driving in the rain, and is extremely comfy inside. The traction control isn’t obnoxious either.

Also, it’s got Mercedes-Benz badging all over that, so if you know people who are easily impressed (and won’t know what the C-class is), that’s a plus.

But short of impressing people, there’s nothing that the C300 does that other cars don’t do better at similar prices.