2020 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet vs. 2020 Ford Mustang

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Ford Mustang doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mustang doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The C-Class Cabriolet offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mustang doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The C-Class Cabriolet offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Mustang only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the C-Class Cabriolet and the Mustang have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Cabriolet gets better fuel mileage than the Mustang Convertible:

MPG

C-Class Cabriolet

RWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

Mustang Convertible

RWD

Manual

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

Perf. 2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

5.0 DOHC V8

15 city/24 hwy

Auto

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

Perf. 2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

5.0 DOHC V8

15 city/24 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the C-Class Cabriolet’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 Mustang doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The C-Class Cabriolet has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mustang EcoBoost’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The C-Class Cabriolet has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mustang GT’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 16 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet higher (6 out of 10) than the Ford Mustang (3 to 5). This means the C-Class Cabriolet produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Mustang every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Mustang.

All wheel drive, available in the C-Class Cabriolet, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Ford Mustang is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the C-Class Cabriolet’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Mustang:

C-Class

Mustang

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The C-Class Cabriolet stops shorter than the Mustang:

C-Class

Mustang

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction and acceleration, the C-Class Cabriolet has larger rear tires than the Mustang (245/40R18 vs. 235/55R17).

The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard 225/45R18 front and 245/40R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series front and 40 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mustang’s standard 55 series tires.

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

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the C-Class Cabriolet can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Mustang doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Cabriolet’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 Mustang doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Mustang (111.8 inches vs. 107.1 inches).

The C-Class Cabriolet’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.1% to 48.9%) than the Mustang’s (54.7% to 45.3%). This gives the C-Class Cabriolet more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

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The C-Class Cabriolet is 4 inches shorter than the Mustang, making the C-Class Cabriolet easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The C-Class Cabriolet has 2.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mustang Convertible (81.3 vs. 79.2).

Cargo Capacity

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The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Mustang Convertible doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

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

Servicing Ease

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The C-Class Cabriolet uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mustang uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 59% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Mustang Premium/BULLITT, the C-Class Cabriolet 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 Cabriolet’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Mustang, and is not available on all models.

The C-Class Cabriolet 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 Mustang doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Mustang has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. Ford does not offer a locking feature on the Mustang’s standard power windows.

The C-Class Cabriolet’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 Mustang’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the C-Class Cabriolet 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 Mustang can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the C-Class Cabriolet has a standard remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The Mustang doesn’t offer a remote top, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.

The C-Class Cabriolet has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Mustang doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The C-Class Cabriolet’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 Mustang’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the C-Class Cabriolet offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Mustang doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Mustang Premium.

When the C-Class Cabriolet 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 Mustang’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The C-Class Cabriolet has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Mustang has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The C-Class Cabriolet 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 costs extra on the Mustang.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the C-Class Cabriolet has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Mustang doesn’t offer rear vents.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes C-Class offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Mustang doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Mustang doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet and the Ford Mustang, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Cabriolet first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Mustang isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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