2019 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2018 Mercedes C 350e

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Prius Prime has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The C 350e doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

To help make backing safer, the Prius Prime Advanced’s 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 C 350e doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Prius Prime and the C 350e have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head 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, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius Prime the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The C 350e has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Prius Prime 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the C 350e. 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 350e ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C 350e.

There are over 3 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Prius Prime’s warranty.

Reliability

The C 350e’s redline is at 6500 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Prius Prime has a 4000 RPM redline.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

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

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime gets better fuel mileage than the C 350e:

 

 

Prius

C 350e

 

 

Running on electricity (MPGe)

145 city/121 hwy

45 city/61 hwy

 

 

Running gasoline engine

55 city/53 hwy

28 city/32 hwy

 

The Prius Prime’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 25 miles, over two and a half times as far as the C 350e’s 9-mile range.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Prius Prime uses regular unleaded gasoline. The C 350e requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Prius Prime 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 350e doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the C 350e’s (33.4 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Prius Prime may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 pounds less than the Mercedes C 350e.

The design of the Toyota Prius Prime amounts to more than styling. The Prius Prime has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .25 Cd. That is lower than the C 350e (.28) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Prius Prime get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The C 350e doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Prius Prime a Mid-size car, while the C 350e is rated a Compact.

The Prius Prime has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the C 350e.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the C 350e (19.8 vs. 11.8 cubic feet).

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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