2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Dodge Charger

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 2020/04/06

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 Dodge Charger 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 Charger 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 Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 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 Dodge Charger:

C-Class

Charger

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

24%

26%

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

230 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

421/449 lbs.

582/440 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Stress

147 lbs.

155 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

311/161 lbs.

267/469 lbs.

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

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 Charger:

C-Class

Charger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

161

222

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

21 cm

28 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.2/1.3 kN

3.7/3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.5/.43

1.21/.58

Tibia forces R/L

2.8/2.4 kN

3/4.7 kN

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 Dodge Charger:

C-Class

Charger

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

76

138

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

212 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

15 inches

HIC

248

270

Spine Acceleration

43 G’s

48 G’s

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 Charger 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 Charger’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 Sedan has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Charger.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The Charger’s 730-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 C-Class Sedan’s reliability 15 points higher than the Charger.

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 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 260) than the Charger’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6. The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 264) than the Charger’s optional 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 Charger:

MPG

C-Class Sedan

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

Charger

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

15 city/25 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 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 Charger 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 Sedan higher (6 out of 10) than the Dodge Charger (3). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Charger every 15,000 miles.

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 an eight-speed automatic is available for the Charger.

Brakes and Stopping

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

C-Class

Charger

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 standard on the Charger SXT are solid, not vented.

The C-Class Sedan stops shorter than the Charger:

C-Class

Charger

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

106 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the C-Class Sedan has larger standard tires than the Charger (225/50R17 vs. 215/65R17).

The C-Class Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Charger SXT’s standard 65 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 Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Charger Scat Pack’s (36.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet). The C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the Charger Scat Pack Widebody’s (36.8 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 800 pounds less than the Dodge Charger.

The C-Class Sedan is 1 foot, 1.9 inches shorter than the Charger SXT, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan amounts to more than styling. The C-Class Sedan has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is lower than the Charger (.304 to .348) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the C-Class Sedan get better fuel mileage.

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 Charger 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 Charger’s liftover is 30.1 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The Charger’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 Charger 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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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Charger, 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 Charger.

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 Charger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

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

The C-Class Sedan’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Charger’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 Charger’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Charger’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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 Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Dodge charges extra for heated mirrors on the Charger.

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 Charger doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 Charger 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 Charger 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 Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the C-Class Sedan will cost $450 less than the Charger over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Charger because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the Charger, including $160 less for a muffler, $78 less for front brake pads and $234 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 2020/04/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, 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 Charger was rated second in its category.

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

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

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