2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Chevrolet Impala

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 2020/02/29

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 Chevrolet Impala 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 Impala doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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

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 Impala 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 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 Impala doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the Impala 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, plastic fuel tanks, 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.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Impala:

C-Class

Impala

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.5/.43

.68/.32

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 Chevrolet Impala:

C-Class

Impala

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

180 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

HIC

248

315

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 Impala was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

The C-Class Sedan’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Impala’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The Impala’s 512-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 4 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 264) than the Impala’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

C-Class Sedan

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

Impala

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

Flex-Fuel 3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/28 hwy

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

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Impala.

Brakes and Stopping

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

C-Class

Impala

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 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 Impala are solid, not vented.

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

C-Class

Impala

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

124 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 Impala Premier’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 Impala doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Impala’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the C-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the Impala Premier pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Impala Premier (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Impala’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 250 pounds less than the Chevrolet Impala.

The C-Class Sedan is 1 foot, 4.8 inches shorter than the Impala, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Impala doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the C-Class Sedan easier. The C-Class Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 28 inches, while the Impala’s liftover is 29.4 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The Impala’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 Sedan’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Impala 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 Impala. 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 Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 25% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Impala Premier, 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 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 Impala, and is not available on all models.

The C-Class Sedan 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 Impala doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Impala’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

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 Impala can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Impala 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 Impala’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 Impala’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 Impala doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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

A power rear sunshade is optional in the C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Impala doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the C-Class Sedan 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 Impala’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Impala because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the Impala, including $56 less for front brake pads, $92 less for fuel injection and $363 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 2020/02/29

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes C-Class Sedan and the Chevrolet Impala, 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 Impala 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 Impala has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Chevrolet Impala by 17% during the 2019 model year.

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

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