2019 Volkswagen Beetle vs. 2019 Mercedes SLC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Beetle has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The SLC doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the Beetle’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 SLC doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Beetle and the SLC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The Beetle comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The SLC’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Beetle’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the SLC’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 71 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Beetle’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Beetle’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the SLC’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 1 place higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Beetle gets better fuel mileage than the SLC 300 (26 city/33 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Beetle uses regular unleaded gasoline. The SLC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Volkswagen Beetle as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Mercedes SLC is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Beetle’s wheelbase is 4.4 inches longer than on the SLC (100.1 inches vs. 95.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Beetle is 1.2 inches wider in the front than the average track on the SLC.

Chassis

The Volkswagen Beetle may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Mercedes SLC.

Passenger Space

The Beetle has standard seating for 4 passengers; the SLC can only carry 2.

The Beetle Convertible has 32.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the SLC (81.4 vs. 48.8).

Cargo Capacity

The Beetle Convertible has a larger trunk than the SLC with its top down (7.1 vs. 6.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Beetle Convertible’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches. The SLC’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Beetle comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Mercedes SLC isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Beetle owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Beetle will cost $345 to $3200 less than the SLC over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Beetle will be $26477 to $26587 less than for the Mercedes SLC.

Recommendations

The Volkswagen Beetle outsold the Mercedes SLC by almost seven to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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