Why the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is better than the Lexus IS

Find out why we think the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is better than the Lexus IS

4 reasons why the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is better than the Lexus IS Saloon

Upon its launch, the Mercedes-Benz C Class Saloon was poised to rival the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series and has achieved its aim pretty spectacularly. The C-Class has received rave reviews across the board but there was one outlier it might not have been expecting to compete with. The new Lexus IS was originally designed to rival the BMW, but quickly became a serious competitor against the C-Class.

However, while it has given the C-Class a run for its money, it has failed to knock it off the top spot. I explain why exactly I think the Mercedes-Benz C Class Saloon is better than the Lexus IS.

1. Safety

The C-Class was awarded a 5 star rating by the Euro NACP, reaffirming Mercedes’ reputation as some of the safest cars on our roads. Scoring 92% for adult occupation protection, 84% for child occupant protection and 77% for pedestrian safety.

While the Lexus IS was also awarded a 5 star rating by the Euro NACP, the safety equipment doesn’t measure up to what is available with the Mercedes. The Mercedes offers Attention Assist and Collison Prevention Assist Plus as standard as well as seven airbags. Drivers can also purchase an optional safety kit that includes BAS Plus, lane-keeping assistance and radar-guided cruise control.

2. Practicality

The new C-Class has improved considerably in terms of practicality. There’s significantly more room in the back for passengers and the boot has been expanded by an extra 5 litres bringing the total up to 480 litres of boot space.

Admittedly, the Lexus IS’ boot space is the same as the Mercedes, unless you opt for the hybrid variant. In which case, you will lose 30 litres of this space. And the transmission tunnel in the IS extends down the centre of the car and is quite large, so whoever is in the middle will luck out in terms of leg space.

4 reasons why the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is better than the Lexus IS Saloon

3. Equipment

4 reasons why the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is better than the Lexus IS Saloon

Standard equipment on the Mercedes C-Class is considerable, even on the basic-spec SE. This includes things such as artificial leather upholstery, comfort suspension, reversing cameras, sat-nav, and the ‘Touchpad’ fingertip information input system. If you move up the SE Executive Edition then you get active parking assist and heated front seats as standard.

There are plenty of optional extras including a Driving Assistance Pack which includes blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist. You can also add a panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate and keyless entry. There’s even a system to keep the car smelling nice. Which is always fun.

The basic equipment with the Lexus IS is also pretty extensive, but it’s not as extensive as the Mercedes. Sat-Nav only comes as standard on some trims, as do the parking sensors.

4. Performance

Performance of the C-Class really stands out, particularly compared to the Lexus IS, particularly if you are going for an automatic. Smoother than ever, it complements the luxury feel of the C-Class and, paired with the C220 engine offers extremely good fuel economy.

The diesel hybrid has also scored highly, with a huge amount of torque but also being quiet and refined. The interior is far more luxurious than its rivals, and its suspension is unparalleled, even compared to the S-Class.

The Lexus, on the other hand, has faced some issues with its CVT gearbox. It’s noisy and doesn’t progress as quickly as drivers would like, particularly if you enjoy going fast. This is also the case with the V6 engine, although it does feel quicker than the hybrid. The interior is pretty good, however, compared to the Mercedes it just doesn’t measure up.

So, there are my reasons why I think the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is better than the Lexus IS Saloon. However, that’s not to say the Lexus IS isn’t a great car, because it is. You can’t beat the Lexus IS for its reliability or its running costs (if you choose the hybrid powertrain). But there are some things that Mercedes just does that little bit better.

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Andrew Kirkley
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  • 11th November 2016


  • Jeremy Casling| 25th January 2017 at 1:57 pm Reply

    I also have to disagree with the article, in 2011 for 3 years I had a C220 CDI Saloon and it was a nice car but the engine was rough to say the least the interior was great and the economy was also good as was the performance but it did not handle very well and always felt like it would slide off the road on a bend if you pushed it even slightly.
    In 2014 I changed to the Lexus IS 300H and the interior is a far nicer place to be, very nice leather seats that are super comfortable. It does not drive like a diesel and that is not a problem at all, it is a very quick car once you have got used to it and unless you floor the throttle it is a very smooth driving experience, if you floored the throttle for more than a few seconds you would be breaking the speed limit on most roads so this is never a problem. Driving in traffic is a breeze and a very relaxing experience. It is going to be changed in August and I will be going for another Lexus, probably an NX 300H.

  • Steven| 11th November 2016 at 2:37 pm Reply

    Having had a Lexus for 3 years I take some issue. It has been a fantastic car, impeccably reliable, brilliantly built, quiet, and just a fantastic all round proposition whose qualities only shine over an extended period. Sure the CVT has its shortcomings – but only if you permanently drive with your boot mashed into the bulkhead. In notmal service it us fine and has a manual override. Steering however is lovely.
    It goes soon to be replaced with a C350e – which we test drove along with a BMW330e. To say we’ll miss the Lexus is an understatement. The 330 was a boneshaker, the C class a floater. However due to a German only car policy we have to surrender the Lexus. Not looking forward to it……

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