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.
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.
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.
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.
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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