2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Toyota Avalon

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 2020/02/18

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 Avalon 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 Avalon doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 Avalon doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the Avalon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, around view monitors 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 Toyota Avalon:

C-Class

Avalon

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

162

Neck Injury Risk

24%

35%

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

220 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

421/449 lbs.

499/567 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

246

302

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.8 inches

Neck Stress

147 lbs.

180 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

311/161 lbs.

447/453 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 Toyota Avalon:

C-Class

Avalon

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

76

163

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

156 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

HIC

248

267

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

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 Avalon’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

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 Avalon’s 582-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the Avalon’s 3.5 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 Avalon:

MPG

C-Class Sedan

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

Avalon

FWD

XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 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 Avalon doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The C-Class Sedan has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Avalon XLE’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The C-Class Sedan has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Avalon XSE/Limited/TRD/Touring’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.8 gallons).

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 Toyota Avalon (5). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Avalon 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 Avalon.

Brakes and Stopping

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

C-Class

Avalon

Avalon TRD

Front Rotors

13 inches

11.7 inches

12.9 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11 inches

11.1 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 Avalon are solid, not vented.

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

C-Class

Avalon

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the C-Class Sedan has larger standard tires than the Avalon (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17).

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 Avalon XLE’s standard 55 series tires. The C-Class Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Avalon XSE/TRD/Touring’s 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 Avalon 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 Avalon doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the Avalon Touring pulls only .82 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 Avalon Touring (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the Avalon XLE’s (36.8 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Avalon Limited/Touring’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The C-Class Sedan is 11.4 inches shorter than the Avalon, 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 Avalon doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The Avalon’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the C-Class Sedan. The Avalon 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 Avalon 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 Avalon. 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 Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The C-Class Sedan has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Avalon doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Avalon 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 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 Avalon’s passenger power window 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 Avalon’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Avalon Limited/Touring’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The C-Class Sedan’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

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

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 Avalon 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 Toyota Avalon 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 Avalon is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Avalon because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the Avalon, including $7 less for front brake pads, $84 less for fuel injection and $1146 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Toyota Avalon by almost two to one during the 2019 model year.

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