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

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The C-Class Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The ES Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The C-Class Sedan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

To help make backing safer, the C-Class Sedan’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The ES Series doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The C-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The ES Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ES Series has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 59 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Engine

The C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (255 vs. 215) than the ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The C 300 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The AMG C 43 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 83 more horsepower (385 vs. 302) and 117 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 267) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the C 300 RWD Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the ES 350 (23 city/34 hwy vs. 22 city/33 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the C-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ES Series Hybrid.

The C-Class Sedan has 4.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The C-Class Sedan has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series’ standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the ES Series.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

 

C 300

AMG C 43

ES Series

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.1 inches

The C-Class Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ES Series are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the C-Class Sedan has larger standard tires than the ES Series (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17).

The C-Class Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The C-Class Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the ES Series’ optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The ES Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The C-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The ES Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The C-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the C-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the ES Series’ (36.8 feet vs. 38 feet). The AMG C 43 Sedan’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the ES Series w/18-19” wheels’ (38.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Lexus ES Series.

The C-Class Sedan is 11.4 inches shorter than the ES Series, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The ES Series doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

The C-Class Sedan’s optional rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The ES Series doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the C-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the ES Series. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the C-Class Sedan to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Lexus doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the ES Series.

Ergonomics

The C-Class Sedan has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The ES Series doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the ES Series, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the ES Series.

The C-Class Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The ES Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The C-Class Sedan’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ES Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Lexus ES Series isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Recommendations

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The ES Series has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Lexus ES Series by 30% during the 2018 model year.

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

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