2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class vs 2022 Toyota Corolla

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
$109,800MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2022 Toyota Corolla
2022 Toyota Corolla
$20,425MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
$109,800MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Toyota Corolla
$20,425MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is 7.5 out of 10, while the 2022 Toyota Corolla scores 7.2 out of 10. Based on these ratings, we recommend the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It excels in nearly every aspect, from comfort and tech to performance and safety, justifying its higher price point. While the 2022 Toyota Corolla offers dependable, affordable transportation with excellent safety ratings, the S-Class provides a more luxurious and advanced driving experience, making it the superior choice.

Overview

MSRP

$109,800

MSRP

$20,425

Average price

$82,259

Average price

$20,436

Listings

308

Listings

2121
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.5 out of 10

Expert reviews

7.2 out of 10
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Comfortable
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • High price
Pros
  • Multiple body styles
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Outdated technology
  • Potentially polarizing design
  • Sluggish performance

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Reviews Summary

The S-Class not only sits at the top of the Mercedes hierarchy in price and prestige, but it has also long served as a technological showcase. In the press release for the redesigned 2021 S-Class, Mercedes repeatedly noted the innovations—from anti-lock brakes to airbags—that were introduced on the big sedan and eventually trickled down to mainstream vehicles.

With the previous generation dating back to the 2014 model year (with a significant update for 2018), the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was in need of an update to maintain that status, and to keep pace with other full-size luxury sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Lexus LS. To do that, the new S-Class gets a more sophisticated infotainment system, new powertrains, and more aerodynamic bodywork, among other features.

The 2021 S-Class launches in two configurations, both with 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) and EQ Boost mild-hybrid systems. The S500 4Matic has a six-cylinder engine, while the S580 4Matic has a V8. We spent a few days with the Mercedes-Benz S580 for this review. A Mercedes-Maybach S680 4Matic version will follow in the first half of 2022, and you can expect a new AMG performance version sometime in the future as well.

2022 Toyota Corolla Reviews Summary

The Toyota Corolla needs no introduction. With 12 generations spanning over five decades of production, the Corolla is the bestselling nameplate in automotive history. And it continues to be a popular choice for new car buyers looking for a reliable and sensible compact car, competing against other established names like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Jetta for sales.

The only significant change for 2022 is the addition of two new colors: Ruby Flare and Windchill Pearl. What hasn’t changed are the number of other choices buyers get. Toyota offers sedan and hatchback body styles, manual and automatic transmissions, and multiple powertrain options—including a hybrid. The Corolla Cross SUV also launched for 2022 but, while it shares a basic platform with the Corolla sedan and hatch, it’s effectively a different vehicle.

Finally, you get the expected array of trim levels. The Corolla sedan is available in L, LE, XLE, SE, and XSE grades, plus Apex Edition and Nightshade Edition versions of SE and XSE, with more limited options for the Corolla hatchback and hybrid (both of which will be covered separately). For this review, we tested the Apex Edition sedan in its lower SE grade. The Apex is the sportiest Corolla variant, at least until the GR Corolla hot hatchback arrives for the 2023 model year.

No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

3.0L 429 hp I6

Engine

1.8L 139 hp I4

Drive Train

AWD

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

429 hp @ 6100 rpm

Horsepower

MPG City

20

MPG City

30

MPG Highway

29

MPG Highway

38
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
$109,800MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Toyota Corolla
2022 Toyota Corolla
$20,425MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
$109,800MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Toyota Corolla
$20,425MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is 7.5 out of 10, while the 2022 Toyota Corolla scores 7.2 out of 10. Based on these ratings, we recommend the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It excels in nearly every aspect, from comfort and tech to performance and safety, justifying its higher price point. While the 2022 Toyota Corolla offers dependable, affordable transportation with excellent safety ratings, the S-Class provides a more luxurious and advanced driving experience, making it the superior choice.

Overview
MSRP
$109,800
$20,425
Average price
$82,259
$20,436
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
5.0
4.1
Expert reviews

7.5 out of 10

Read full review

7.2 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Comfortable
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • High price
Pros
  • Multiple body styles
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Outdated technology
  • Potentially polarizing design
  • Sluggish performance
Summary

The S-Class not only sits at the top of the Mercedes hierarchy in price and prestige, but it has also long served as a technological showcase. In the press release for the redesigned 2021 S-Class, Mercedes repeatedly noted the innovations—from anti-lock brakes to airbags—that were introduced on the big sedan and eventually trickled down to mainstream vehicles.

With the previous generation dating back to the 2014 model year (with a significant update for 2018), the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was in need of an update to maintain that status, and to keep pace with other full-size luxury sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Lexus LS. To do that, the new S-Class gets a more sophisticated infotainment system, new powertrains, and more aerodynamic bodywork, among other features.

The 2021 S-Class launches in two configurations, both with 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) and EQ Boost mild-hybrid systems. The S500 4Matic has a six-cylinder engine, while the S580 4Matic has a V8. We spent a few days with the Mercedes-Benz S580 for this review. A Mercedes-Maybach S680 4Matic version will follow in the first half of 2022, and you can expect a new AMG performance version sometime in the future as well.

The Toyota Corolla needs no introduction. With 12 generations spanning over five decades of production, the Corolla is the bestselling nameplate in automotive history. And it continues to be a popular choice for new car buyers looking for a reliable and sensible compact car, competing against other established names like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Jetta for sales.

The only significant change for 2022 is the addition of two new colors: Ruby Flare and Windchill Pearl. What hasn’t changed are the number of other choices buyers get. Toyota offers sedan and hatchback body styles, manual and automatic transmissions, and multiple powertrain options—including a hybrid. The Corolla Cross SUV also launched for 2022 but, while it shares a basic platform with the Corolla sedan and hatch, it’s effectively a different vehicle.

Finally, you get the expected array of trim levels. The Corolla sedan is available in L, LE, XLE, SE, and XSE grades, plus Apex Edition and Nightshade Edition versions of SE and XSE, with more limited options for the Corolla hatchback and hybrid (both of which will be covered separately). For this review, we tested the Apex Edition sedan in its lower SE grade. The Apex is the sportiest Corolla variant, at least until the GR Corolla hot hatchback arrives for the 2023 model year.

Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
3.0L 429 hp I6
1.8L 139 hp I4
Drive Train
AWD
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
429 hp @ 6100 rpm
MPG City
20
30
MPG Highway
29
38
Look and feel
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
7/10
2022 Toyota Corolla
7/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class retained the classic, elegant styling synonymous with the brand, yet nudged forward in aerodynamic efficiency with a drag coefficient of 0.22, even better than the famed Toyota Prius. The new model was 1.3 inches longer than its predecessor, sporting a 2-inch longer wheelbase, and slightly taller and wider dimensions. The sheer size of the S-Class left a lasting impression, coupled with the iconic Mercedes hood ornament and grille disguised by a sensor panel. Standard 19-inch wheels could be upgraded to 20-inch or 21-inch variants, with the 20-inch versions appearing perfectly balanced on our test car. Inside, the design seemed devoted to the infotainment touchscreen and digital instrument cluster, both prominently jutting from the dashboard. Mercedes dialed down the clutter, eliminating its rotary controller and transitioning to rectangular air vents, achieving a minimalist look. Ambient lighting was one of the standout features, with around 250 LED elements compared to the previous 40, offering a range of 64 colors. Interior materials lived up to the six-figure luxury price tag, with Nappa leather, open-pore wood trim, and sophisticated speaker grilles for the optional Burmester audio system. The two-panel glass roof was a thoughtful inclusion, pleasing both first and second-row passengers. However, the extensive use of piano-black trim was a downside, as it gathered smudges quickly and reflected sunlight unfavorably. The 2022 Toyota Corolla, having debuted its current generation a few years earlier, embraced a bold exterior meant to shed Toyota’s reputation for dull design. It sported scowling LED headlights and a wide grille but lagged behind Hyundai Elantra’s quirkiness and the cohesive styling of the redesigned Honda Civic. Trim levels like SE and XSE received aggressive fascia treatments, while the Nightshade Editions flaunted blacked-out trim. Apex Editions borrowed inspiration from street racers, donning a body kit with bronze accents and shedding 2.2 pounds off their 18-inch wheels, which could be paired with either all-season or summer tires. The Cement-colored SE Apex Edition in our test looked ready for a “Fast and Furious” cameo, reflecting Toyota’s effort to transcend everyday transportation. The TNGA platform shared with higher models like the Camry lent it structural robustness. Inside, the Corolla’s design played it safe compared to its daring exterior, showcasing typical Toyota fit and finish but succumbing to unsightly piano black trim. The SE Apex Edition shared the standard SE’s interior, with no enhancements to echo its sporty exterior, and upholstery prone to stains.
Performance
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
9/10
2022 Toyota Corolla
7/10
For the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the S500 4Matic featured a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine generating 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. The S580 4Matic upgraded to a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 packing 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Both models utilized a nine-speed automatic transmission and included EQ Boost, a mild-hybrid system offering 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in short bursts. The S500 hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, while the S580 accomplished it in 4.4 seconds, both capped at a 130 mph top speed. Mercedes’ air suspension stood out, with the S-Class debuting rear-wheel steering for improved maneuverability. The S580 delivered a smooth yet spirited performance, although wind noise was noticeable at high speeds. Sport modes enhanced handling without sacrificing comfort, and precise steering left a lasting impression. The 2022 Toyota Corolla's performance diverged significantly. Lower trims like L, LE, and XLE featured a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 139 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. The SE and XSE trims upgraded to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offering 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Apex Edition trims added a sport exhaust system for a racier sound. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) was standard with the 1.8-liter engine, while the 2.0-liter variants could be paired with a six-speed manual in SE and SE Apex Editions. Front-wheel drive was the norm, with an all-wheel-drive option expected in 2023. The SE Apex Edition’s manual transmission suited its sporty aspirations, coupled with exclusive suspension tweaks for a more engaging drive. However, its stiff ride quality was a trade-off. While fun in corners, the Apex Edition lacked sufficient engine upgrades, leaving acceleration feeling underwhelming.
Form and function
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
8/10
2022 Toyota Corolla
6/10
The 2021 S-Class boasted increased front and rear headroom and more rear legroom, though it had the least front legroom among competitors. Enhanced shoulder room contributed to a spacious feel. Cargo space grew to 12.9 cubic feet, below par for luxury sedans, and optional power-adjustable rear seats could further reduce it. Front seats, each with 19 adjustable motors, heating, ventilation, and massage functionality, set a new standard for comfort, though automated side bolsters had mixed reviews. The redesigned center console included ample storage and a wireless phone charger. Rear-seat passengers enjoyed similar amenities with options for chauffeur-level comforts. The 2022 Corolla offered decent space but lacked specific headroom and legroom data. It improved outward visibility thanks to a lower beltline but struggled with forward visibility due to its steep windshield. The driver’s seat adjustments aimed for optimal positioning, yet knee space could still fall short for taller individuals. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel aided finding a comfortable driving position. However, seat comfort was squishy rather than supportive. Cargo capacity was a competitive 13.1 cubic feet, behind contenders like the Honda Civic. A standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat and optional power trunk release were practical inclusions. Yet, limited storage for smaller items remained a downside, with shallow cupholders and an awkward phone tray compromising utility.
Technology
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
9/10
2022 Toyota Corolla
6/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class dazzled with its high-tech array, including a 12.3-inch digital cluster and 12.8-inch OLED central touchscreen supported by wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus six USB ports. The impressive 30-speaker Burmester audio system and backseat entertainment setup underscored its luxury. An updated MBUX infotainment system offered enhanced computing power and intuitive touchscreen control for climate and seat functions. Mercedes retained hard buttons for vital features, ensuring usability. The standout augmented-reality HUD provided clear navigation cues but could be distracting with excessive information. Digital instrument cluster controls via small steering-wheel touchpads posed usability challenges, and reactive ambient lighting seemed gimmicky. Profile personalization and rear-seat navigation input reflected Mercedes’ commitment to innovative tech. In contrast, the 2022 Toyota Corolla trailed with its aging infotainment system. It featured a 7-inch touchscreen on the base model, with a larger 8-inch screen for higher trims. Standard tech included Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, WiFi, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM, with a six-speaker setup, while an optional nine-speaker JBL system elevated the audio experience for select trims. Usability was straightforward, thanks to menu home buttons and retained analog climate controls. However, some functions like selecting radio stations were less intuitive, and the graphics appeared outdated next to rivals’ offerings. Though functional for everyday needs, the Corolla's system didn’t offer wireless smartphone integration or signature features like Hyundai’s Digital Key.
Safety
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
7/10
2022 Toyota Corolla
9/10
As a newly redesigned model, crash-test ratings for the 2021 S-Class were unavailable from major safety organizations. Nevertheless, the S-Class featured comprehensive safety gear, including a pioneering rear-passenger airbag and an array of driver-assist technologies like adaptive cruise control, automated lane centering, and advanced lane-keep assist, boasting enhanced performance for each system. Capacitive sensors on the new steering wheel improved driver engagement detection. Meanwhile, the 2022 Toyota Corolla excelled in safety scores. It earned the IIHS “Top Safety Pick+” with top marks in all crash tests, despite mixed headlight ratings. The NHTSA also awarded five stars overall, reflecting strong results in frontal and side crashes, and a four-star rollover rating. Under the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, the Corolla offered a comprehensive set of standard features: forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and traffic-sign recognition. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert was available on higher trims but not standard.
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