| USA TODAY
Mercedes-Benz isn’t giving up on the luxury sedan despite the surge of SUVs, which have led to a decline in passenger-car sales.
While several other automakers are ditching cars, German automaker Daimler invested resources in overhauling one of its signature sedans, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, for the first time in seven years.
The automaker revealed the redesigned 2022 C-Class on Tuesday, showcasing a longer and wider body style with a new mild-hybrid powertrain featuring an electric motor to boost the 2-liter, 4-cylinder gas engine and 9-speed automatic transmission.
The C-Class was Mercedes-Benz’s second-most popular passenger car in the U.S. in 2020, trailing only the E-Class. But sales slumped 46.5% to 26,294 as the vehicle faced the same challenges that have led other automakers to discontinue sedans, namely the surge in popularity of SUVs.
The company also recently redesigned its S-Class sedan, its most luxurious passenger car.
S-Class redesigned: Mercedes-Benz overhauls flagship luxury sedan
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“It’s obvious the trend into SUVs is very predominant,” but sedans continue to retain a loyal following globally, Daimler board member and Mercedes-Benz Marketing & Sales executive Britta Seeger said on a conference call.
Designers drew elements of the recently redesigned S-Class sedan’s interior to incorporate into the C-Class, including a new digital dashboard.
The vehicle gets the remade Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system with voice assistant capability and 50% more processing power than its predecessor.
The center console is equipped with an 11.9-inch touchscreen, while the traditional analog instrument cluster is replaced by a 12.3-inch digital panel.
Safety features include an advanced version of adaptive cruise control that can stop the vehicle completely from speeds of up to 62 mph. The car also gets an active steering assistance system that will help keep the vehicle in its lane at speeds of up to 130 mph.
Mercedes-Benz did not reveal pricing for the 2022 C-Class, which goes on sale in early 2022. Starting prices on the 2021 C-Class range from $46,425 to $77,250 depending on the trim level, according to car-research site Edmunds.
The vehicle competes with the luxury car likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS, Volvo S60 and Cadillac CT5.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.