2020 Mercedes C-Class Coupe vs. 2020 Dodge Challenger

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 Coupe 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 Dodge Challenger doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

The C-Class Coupe has standard Active Brake Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Challenger offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The C-Class Coupe’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Challenger doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The C-Class Coupe offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Challenger 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.

The C-Class Coupe’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Challenger doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Coupe and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the C-Class Coupe has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

Engine

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The C-Class Coupe’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 268) than the Challenger’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger:

MPG

C-Class Coupe

RWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

Challenger

RWD

Manual

5.7 OHV V8

15 city/23 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

14 city/23 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/21 hwy

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

15 city/25 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/22 hwy

AWD

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

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

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Coupe higher (6 out of 10) than the Dodge Challenger (1 to 3). This means the C-Class Coupe produces up to 45.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Challenger every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Coupe, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Challenger.

Brakes and Stopping

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

C-Class

Challenger

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The C-Class Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Challenger SXT are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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

The C-Class Coupe’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 Challenger SXT’s standard 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Coupe’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 Challenger doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The C 300 handles at .91 G’s, while the Challenger SXT pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the C 300’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Challenger R/T Scat Pack’s (36.8 feet vs. 37.8 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Coupe may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 800 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.

The C-Class Coupe is 1 foot, 1 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the C-Class Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The C-Class Coupe is 5.4 inches narrower on average than the Challenger, making the C-Class Coupe easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The design of the Mercedes C-Class Coupe amounts to more than styling. The C-Class Coupe has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the Challenger (.337 to .398). A more efficient exterior helps the C-Class Coupe go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the C-Class Coupe get better fuel mileage.

For excellent aerodynamics, the C-Class Coupe has standard flush composite headlights. The Challenger has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the C-Class Coupe easier. The C-Class Coupe’s trunk lift-over height is 25.3 inches, while the Challenger’s liftover is 33.2 inches.

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The Challenger’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the C-Class Coupe’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Challenger doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 66% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

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When three different drivers share the C-Class Coupe, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat (memory seat optional for the front passenger), steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The Challenger doesn’t offer a memory system.

The C-Class Coupe’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Challenger doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The C-Class Coupe 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 Challenger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The C-Class Coupe’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Challenger’s parking brake has to released manually.

The C-Class Coupe’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

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

The C-Class Coupe 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 Challenger doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The C-Class Coupe’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 Challenger’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 Coupe offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Challenger doesn’t offer cornering lights.

When the C-Class Coupe 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 Challenger’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The C-Class Coupe 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 Challenger has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Challenger doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The C-Class Coupe’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Challenger 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 Dodge Challenger isn’t available as a convertible or sedan.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Coupe is less expensive to operate than the Challenger because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Coupe than the Challenger, including $29 less for a muffler, $234 less for front brake pads, $271 less for a timing belt/chain and $386 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/12/01

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes C-Class Coupe and the Dodge Challenger, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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