2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The ES Series has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The C-Class Sedan 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The ES Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking that uses 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 ES Series 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 and rear 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, 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 Lexus ES Series is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

ES Series

C-Class Sedan

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

138

Neck Injury Risk

24%

24%

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

62 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

33%

60%

Neck Compression

62 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 Lexus ES Series is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

ES Series

C-Class Sedan

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the ES Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the C-Class Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the C-Class Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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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 ES Series’ reliability 24 points higher than the C-Class Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

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

Engine

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The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (302 vs. 255) than the C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the C 300 Sedan RWD (43 city/44 hwy vs. 23 city/34 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The C-Class Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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The ES 300h 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

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For better traction, the ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the C-Class Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The ES Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire 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

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the C-Class Sedan (113 inches vs. 111.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is .7 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the C-Class Sedan.

Chassis

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The design of the Lexus ES Series amounts to more than styling. The ES Series offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .26 to .29 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the C-Class Sedan (.3 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the ES Series get better fuel mileage.

The ES Series F Sport 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

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

The ES Series has 9.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C-Class Sedan (99.9 vs. 90).

The ES Series has .4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom and 4 inches more rear legroom than the C-Class Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the C-Class Sedan (16.7 vs. 12.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the ES Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the ES Series will cost $530 less than the C-Class Sedan over a five-year period.

The ES Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the ES Series will retain 48.23% to 49.19% of its original price after five years, while the C-Class Sedan only retains 36.56% to 37.71%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $427 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the ES Series than the C-Class Sedan, including $272 less for a water pump, $437 less for a muffler, $4 less for front brake pads, $4 less for a starter and $390 less for a fuel pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus ES Series will be $8378 to $22795 less than for the Mercedes C-Class Sedan.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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