2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2019 Subaru Legacy

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Subaru Legacy doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The C-Class Sedan offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Legacy only offers a rear monitor.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Subaru Legacy:

 

C-Class Sedan

Legacy

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

24%

27%

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

259 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 post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Subaru Legacy:

 

C-Class Sedan

Legacy

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

17 inches

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

Warranty

The C-Class Sedan comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Legacy’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 80 more horsepower (255 vs. 175) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The C 300 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl. The AMG C 43 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 129 more horsepower (385 vs. 256) and 137 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy 3.6R (22 city/33 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the C-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Legacy doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

C 300

AMG C 43

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

11.8 inches

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the Legacy:

 

C-Class

Legacy

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 Legacy 2.5i/2.5i Premium’s standard 55 series tires. The C-Class Sedan’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Legacy Sport/Limited’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the C-Class Sedan offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Legacy’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The C-Class Sedan offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Legacy’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Legacy (111.8 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

The C-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Legacy’s (58.9% to 41.1%). This gives the C-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The AMG C 43 Sedan handles at .93 G’s, while the Legacy 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Legacy 2.5i Limited (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

The C-Class Sedan is 4.6 inches shorter than the Legacy, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The Legacy’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the C-Class Sedan’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Legacy doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Legacy.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 42% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Legacy Limited, 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. The Legacy doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the C-Class Sedan and the Legacy have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the C-Class Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Legacy prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The C-Class Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Legacy’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Legacy Premium//Limited’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the C-Class Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Legacy can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Legacy doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

When the C-Class Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Legacy’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the C-Class Sedan keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Legacy doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the C-Class Sedan 300’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The C-Class Sedan has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the C-Class Sedan has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy Base doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

The C-Class Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Legacy because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the Legacy, including $217 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2015 issue and they ranked the Mercedes C 300 Sedan 4MATIC higher than the Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium.

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The Legacy hasn’t been picked since 2006.

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Subaru Legacy by 40% during the 2018 model year.

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

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