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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 Legacy 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 Legacy only offers a rear monitor.
Compared to metal, the C-Class Sedan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Legacy has a metal gas tank.
Both the C-Class Sedan and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
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 Legacy has not been tested, yet.
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 Legacy’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The Legacy’s 620-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.
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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.
The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 73 more horsepower (255 vs. 182) and 97 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 176) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.
For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Legacy:
The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the Legacy:
60 to 0 MPH
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 Legacy Base/Premium’s standard 55 series tires. The C-Class Sedan’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Legacy Sport/Limited/Touring’s 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the C-Class Sedan offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Legacy’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
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 Legacy doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The C-Class Sedan has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Legacy doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
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 Legacy doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Legacy (111.8 inches vs. 108.3 inches).
The C-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Legacy’s (58.7% to 41.3%). This gives the C-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.
The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the Legacy Touring XT pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.6 seconds quicker than the Legacy Sport (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .59 average G’s).
The C-Class Sedan is 6.1 inches shorter than the Legacy, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The Legacy’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 Legacy doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.
The C-Class Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Legacy 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 Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Legacy Limited/Touring, 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. The Legacy doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
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 Legacy doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The power windows standard on both the C-Class Sedan and the Legacy have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the C-Class Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Legacy prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
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 Legacy’s standard 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 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 Legacy can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
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 Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
A power rear sunshade is optional in the C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Legacy 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. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.
The C-Class Sedan 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 is only available on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.
Both the C-Class Sedan and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the C-Class Sedan has available rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Subaru Legacy isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.
The C-Class Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The Legacy has never been an “All Star.”
The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Subaru Legacy by 60% during the 2019 model year.
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