2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2019 Buick LaCrosse

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/02/26

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Buick LaCrosse doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

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

The C-Class Sedan’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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the LaCrosse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Buick LaCrosse:

C-Class

LaCrosse

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

138

220

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

212 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

246

320

Neck Stress

147 lbs.

195 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

311/161 lbs.

346/354 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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Buick LaCrosse:

C-Class Sedan

LaCrosse

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

76

187

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

280 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

15 inches

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The LaCrosse was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Engine

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The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 61 more horsepower (255 vs. 194) and 86 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 187) than the LaCrosse’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 268) than the LaCrosse’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/02/26

On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the LaCrosse:

MPG

C-Class Sedan

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

LaCrosse

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

The C-Class Sedan has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the LaCrosse FWD’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The C-Class Sedan has 1.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the LaCrosse AWD’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 16.2 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

© 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 2020/02/26

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Sedan higher (6 out of 10) than the Buick LaCrosse (5). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the LaCrosse every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the LaCrosse:

C-Class

LaCrosse eAssist

LaCrosse V6

Front Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

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

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the LaCrosse:

C-Class

LaCrosse

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The C-Class Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the LaCrosse Essence/Premium/Avenir’s optional 40 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Sedan’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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The C-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the LaCrosse’s (58.6% to 41.4%). This gives the C-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the LaCrosse Premium pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the LaCrosse Premium (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the LaCrosse’s (36.8 feet vs. 38 feet).

Chassis

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

Cargo Capacity

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the C-Class Sedan’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the LaCrosse’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the C-Class Sedan. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the C-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the LaCrosse. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the LaCrosse Sport Touring/Essence/Premium/Avenir, the C-Class Sedan 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 Sedan’s front and rear power windows all 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 LaCrosse’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the C-Class Sedan 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 LaCrosse can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Keyless-Go standard on the C-Class Sedan allows you to unlock the doors, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick LaCrosse’s Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.

The C-Class Sedan 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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The C-Class Sedan’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 LaCrosse’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The C-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the LaCrosse’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the C-Class Sedan detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Model Availability

© 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 2020/02/26

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

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the C-Class Sedan with a number “3” insurance rate while the LaCrosse is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

The C-Class Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the C-Class Sedan will retain 36.56% to 37.71% of its original price after five years, while the LaCrosse only retains 30.31% to 36.47%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the LaCrosse because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the LaCrosse, including $85 less for front brake pads, $351 less for front struts, $769 less for a timing belt/chain and $43 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 2020/02/26

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes C-Class Sedan and the Buick LaCrosse, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The LaCrosse has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Buick LaCrosse by over six to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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