2019 Lexus IS Series vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the IS Series and the C-Class Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lexus IS Series is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

IS Series

C-Class Sedan

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

55%

60%

Neck Compression

64 lbs.

219 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus IS Series is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

IS Series

C-Class Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

89

459

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

67 G’s

Hip Force

691 lbs.

949 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

43 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the IS Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The C-Class Sedan was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the C-Class Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the C-Class Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The IS Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the IS Series’ reliability 11 points higher than the C-Class Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Tires and Wheels

The IS Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the C-Class Sedan’s standard 50 series tires.

The IS Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the C-Class Sedan; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the C-Class Sedan don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

The IS Series AWD handles at .89 G’s, while the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the C-Class Sedan’s (34.2 feet vs. 36.8 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the AMG C 43 Sedan’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Lexus IS Series amounts to more than styling. The IS Series has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .28 Cd. That is lower than the C-Class Sedan (.3 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the IS Series get better fuel mileage.

The IS Series 300 RWD offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The IS Series has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more front shoulder room than the C-Class Sedan.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The IS Series’ headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the C-Class Sedan’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the IS Series is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $531 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the IS Series than the C-Class Sedan, including $119 less for a water pump, $483 less for a muffler, $36 less for front brake pads, $386 less for a fuel pump and $72 less for front struts.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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