2021 Lexus IS vs 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2021 Lexus IS
2021 Lexus IS
$39,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Lexus IS
$39,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Lexus IS was 7.3 out of 10, while the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class scored a slightly higher 7.8 out of 10. Given these ratings, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes out as the recommended choice. It offers advanced technology, more extensive safety features, and greater cargo capacity, making it a well-rounded luxury sedan with a slight edge over the Lexus IS.

Overview

MSRP

$39,050

MSRP

$43,550

Average price

$35,404

Average price

$38,697

Listings

361

Listings

263
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.3 out of 10

Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Great handling
Cons
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Irritating transmission
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Irritating transmission
  • Sluggish performance

2021 Lexus IS Reviews Summary

The Lexus IS enters its fourth generation of production, embodying lessons learned from the LC and RC. The 2021 IS targets enthusiast drivers and luxury buyers who might be thinking German first, and it seeks to recalibrate expectations of what a compact luxury sports sedan can be.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Reviews Summary

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class was the automaker’s entry-level model, but it needed a new role. Mercedes now has a line of compact cars serving as lower-priced entryways to the brand, so it’s moving the C-Class upmarket. The redesigned 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan borrows design elements from the automaker’s flagship S-Class to entice new car buyers on a budget who still want the most Mercedes for their money.

The C-Class competes against a formidable array of small sports sedans. Like the Mercedes, the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, and Volvo S60 are fixtures in this segment, with nameplates that date back at least two decades. The Acura TLX, Cadillac CT4, and Infiniti Q50 are newer names that build on their respective brands’ experience in the segment. The Genesis G70 is a relative newcomer from a recently launched brand that’s already managed to impress.

The all-new C-Class launches in C300 sedan form with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), optional 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD), and Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle trim levels. Our test car was a C300 4Matic in the top Pinnacle trim. An AMG C43 performance model is also on the way, but it’s not expected to hit showrooms until after the C300, which arrives at dealerships later this spring.

No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

2.0L 241 hp I4

Engine

Drive Train

RWD

Drive Train

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

241 hp @ 5800 rpm

Horsepower

MPG City

21

MPG City

MPG Highway

31

MPG Highway

2021 Lexus IS
2021 Lexus IS
$39,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Lexus IS
$39,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Lexus IS was 7.3 out of 10, while the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class scored a slightly higher 7.8 out of 10. Given these ratings, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes out as the recommended choice. It offers advanced technology, more extensive safety features, and greater cargo capacity, making it a well-rounded luxury sedan with a slight edge over the Lexus IS.

Overview
MSRP
$39,050
$43,550
Average price
$35,404
$38,697
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.5
4.8
Expert reviews

7.3 out of 10

Read full review

7.8 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Great handling
Cons
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Irritating transmission
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Irritating transmission
  • Sluggish performance
Summary
The Lexus IS enters its fourth generation of production, embodying lessons learned from the LC and RC. The 2021 IS targets enthusiast drivers and luxury buyers who might be thinking German first, and it seeks to recalibrate expectations of what a compact luxury sports sedan can be.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class was the automaker’s entry-level model, but it needed a new role. Mercedes now has a line of compact cars serving as lower-priced entryways to the brand, so it’s moving the C-Class upmarket. The redesigned 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan borrows design elements from the automaker’s flagship S-Class to entice new car buyers on a budget who still want the most Mercedes for their money.

The C-Class competes against a formidable array of small sports sedans. Like the Mercedes, the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, and Volvo S60 are fixtures in this segment, with nameplates that date back at least two decades. The Acura TLX, Cadillac CT4, and Infiniti Q50 are newer names that build on their respective brands’ experience in the segment. The Genesis G70 is a relative newcomer from a recently launched brand that’s already managed to impress.

The all-new C-Class launches in C300 sedan form with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), optional 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD), and Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle trim levels. Our test car was a C300 4Matic in the top Pinnacle trim. An AMG C43 performance model is also on the way, but it’s not expected to hit showrooms until after the C300, which arrives at dealerships later this spring.

Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.0L 241 hp I4
Drive Train
RWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
241 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG City
21
MPG Highway
31
Look and feel
2021 Lexus IS
8/10
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
9/10
The 2021 Lexus IS presented an elegant and athletic exterior design. It boasted great proportions, a striking stance, and a sleek roofline that managed to capture the essence of motion even when the car was stationary. Lexus designers skillfully executed a fast roofline that balanced between a coupe-like dome and a fastback, imparting a sporty and compact look to the cabin. Additionally, the signature “spindle” grille with diamond mesh, accompanied by narrow headlights, gave the IS an assertive and aggressive front fascia. The build quality stood out, with flawless paint, chrome, and panel gaps, living up to Lexus’ high standards. Inside, the dashboard of the IS was simple yet tasteful. The center stack resembled a retro hi-fi setup, adding a quirky but cool touch. The interior mimicked the exterior’s bold, assertive qualities and modern aesthetic. However, the vestigial analog clock seemed out of place in such a modern setting, feeling more like an outdated luxury signifier rather than a valuable feature. In contrast, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class showcased a blend of design elements seen across various Mercedes models. The front end mirrored the CLA-Class, while the rear exuded S-Class elegance. The car’s recognizable Mercedes identity was underscored by a prominent grille with a massive three-pointed star logo. Its cab-rearward proportions highlighted the rear-wheel drive platform, distinguishing it from the front-wheel-drive CLA-Class and A-Class. Standard LED headlights and taillights, with the option for an advanced Digital Light system, embellished the C-Class. This system allowed the headlights to follow curves and project warning icons, adding a layer of advanced functionality. The interior of the C-Class emulated that of the S-Class with a freestanding touchscreen, a prominent instrument cluster, and exquisite Burmester audio system grilles. The nightclub-style ambient lighting further accentuated the luxury feel. Despite this, the standard use of MBTex synthetic leather and a few ergonomic criticisms, such as the poorly positioned wireless charging pad, hinted at some areas for improvement.
Performance
2021 Lexus IS
7/10
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7/10
The 2021 Lexus IS aimed high in the luxury sports sedan market. It debuted the “Lexus Driving Signature,” a commitment to ensuring precise and linear driving dynamics that matched the driver’s intentions. The IS 300 RWD housed a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine generating 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the IS 300 AWD showcased a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 260 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The IS 350, available in both AWD and RWD, offered the same V6 engine, tweaked to deliver 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Performance-wise, the IS excelled, with the RWD models featuring an eight-speed automatic transmission, while AWD models came with a six-speed automatic. Top speeds capped at 143 mph, while acceleration from 0 to 60 mph ranged from 6.9 seconds for the IS 300 RWD to an impressive 5.6 seconds for the IS 350 RWD. Fuel efficiency varied, with the IS 300 RWD offering a combined 25 mpg, while the IS 350 AWD offered 22 mpg combined. For the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the C300 was powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. This mild-hybrid setup provided an additional 20 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque in short bursts. Mercedes claimed a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.9 seconds for the C300, with a top speed electronically limited to 130 mph. The anticipated AMG C43 variant promised even more excitement, offering 402 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, and achieving a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. Despite its mild-hybrid assistance, the C300's power delivery wasn’t without its issues. Turbo lag and rough shifts were noticeable, detracting from an otherwise powerful engine. Nevertheless, the ride quality was commendable, absorbing bumps and potholes effectively. The C300 demonstrated good body control and precise steering on winding roads, although it required more deliberate inputs compared to the more effortlessly sporty sedans.
Form and function
2021 Lexus IS
7/10
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7/10
The 2021 Lexus IS excelled in offering a driver-centric experience. The driver’s seat was easily adjustable and supportive, especially in the F Sport trim with its bolstered seats, heating, and ventilation. The IS featured NuLuxe synthetic upholstery, promoting an eco-friendly, lightweight, and easy-to-clean alternative to leather. Ample storage options, including a deep trunk with a capacity of 10.8 cubic feet and a temporary spare tire, added to its practicality. However, the rear seats were more suited for two passengers rather than three, with legroom adjustments necessary between front and rear occupants. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, although only available as a sedan, improved on interior space compared to its predecessor. Slight increases in front and rear headroom and rear legroom contributed to a more spacious cabin. The C-Class ranked highly in front-seat headroom and rear-seat legroom against its competitors. Though front legroom lagged behind slightly, the overall comfort of the seats, coupled with adequate bolstering for spirited drives, made for a comfortable experience. However, some details, such as dashboard trim glare and the poorly positioned wireless charging pad, could have been better handled. The trunk space was notably larger than that of the Lexus IS, offering 17.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity with a wide opening and split-folding rear seats for added versatility.
Technology
2021 Lexus IS
7/10
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
9/10
The 2021 Lexus IS marked a substantial improvement with the inclusion of a touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The IS utilized a range of Lexus’ connected services, offering various subscription trials. Lexus Enform Safety Connect, Service Connect, WiFi, and Remote enhanced connectivity and safety features. However, the subscription model for these features could be a concern for long-term owners, especially with features like Dynamic Navigation and Destination Assist requiring updates three years after initial ownership. In the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the MBUX infotainment system stole the show. Standard features included a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 11.9-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto came standard, with enhancements available at higher trim levels, such as a Burmester 3D surround-sound system, head-up display, and augmented-reality navigation. The “Zero Layer” interface allowed easy access to multiple functions simultaneously, minimizing menu scrolling. The voice recognition system and steering wheel controls were user-friendly, and the augmented-reality navigation system proved highly functional for precise turn-by-turn directions.
Safety
2021 Lexus IS
7/10
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7/10
The 2021 Lexus IS had yet to be rated by the IIHS or the NHTSA but was expected to perform similarly to its predecessor, which had strong safety ratings. The IS came standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, offering extensive safety features such as a pre-collision system with pedestrian and bicyclist detection, lane-departure warning, dynamic adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and more. Lexus Enform Safety Connect further enhanced safety with an emergency assistance button, roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, and stolen vehicle notification, among other features. Similarly, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class had not been rated by the IIHS or the NHTSA at the time of publication. The preceding model had been a top safety pick, and the new C-Class maintained high safety standards with numerous standard ADAS features. These included automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with safe exit assist, driver-attention monitoring, Pre-Safe systems, and more. Optional features added further capabilities, including lane-keep assist, evasive steering assist, a 360-degree camera system, park assist, and adaptive cruise control.
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