2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Maxima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Maxima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Maxima 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 seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Nissan Maxima is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

Maxima

C-Class Sedan

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

106

138

Neck Compression

20 lbs.

62 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

67/94 lbs.

421/449 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

103

246

Neck Injury Risk

29%

60%

Neck Stress

114 lbs.

147 lbs.

Neck Compression

52 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, results indicate that the Nissan Maxima is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

Maxima

C-Class Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1 inches

Hip Force

286 lbs.

452 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

391

459

Spine Acceleration

57 G’s

67 G’s

Hip Force

591 lbs.

949 lbs.

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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 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

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the C-Class Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the C-Class Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.

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 Maxima’s reliability 28 points higher than the C-Class Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The C-Class Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 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 Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 3 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 45 more horsepower (300 vs. 255) than the C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Transmission

The Maxima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the C-Class Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17). The Maxima’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the C-Class Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The Maxima’s 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.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the C-Class Sedan.

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare 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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Maxima is .4 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the C-Class Sedan.

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Maxima has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The C-Class Sedan uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses 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

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Maxima a Mid-size car, while the C-Class Sedan is rated a Compact.

The Maxima has 8.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C-Class Sedan (98.5 vs. 90).

The Maxima has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 3.3 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the C-Class Sedan.

The front step up height for the Maxima is 1.4 inches lower than the C-Class Sedan (15.1” vs. 16.5”). The Maxima’s rear step up height is 1.3 inches lower than the C-Class Sedan’s (15.5” vs. 16.8”).

Cargo Capacity

The Maxima has a much larger trunk than the C-Class Sedan (14.3 vs. 12.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The C-Class Sedan does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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 Maxima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the C-Class Sedan’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

Both the Maxima and the C-Class Sedan offer available heated front seats. The Maxima also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the C-Class Sedan.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Maxima with a number “1” insurance rate while the C-Class Sedan is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $459 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the C-Class Sedan, including $255 less for a water pump, $271 less for a muffler, $19 less for front brake pads, $132 less for a starter, $381 less for a fuel pump, $189 less for front struts and $152 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima second among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The C-Class Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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