Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs Kia Forte

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2023 Kia Forte
2023 Kia Forte
$19,690MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2023 Kia Forte
$19,690MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was 7.8 out of 10, while the 2023 Kia Forte scored 6.3 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class emerged as the better choice. Its blend of luxury, performance, and advanced technologies made it superior to the Kia Forte, which still offered good value and functionality in the compact sedan segment. However, those seeking a more premium, high-tech experience should opt for the C-Class.

Choose the 2023 Kia Forte if:

Shop Now
6.3of 10overall
  • You want a budget-friendly sedan with modern tech features and user-friendly controls.
  • You need ample passenger space and a trunk that accommodates bulkier items.
  • You enjoy a sporty drive with the option for manual transmission and reasonably comfortable ride quality.
Overview

MSRP

$43,550

MSRP

$19,690

Average price

$26,613

Average price

$15,633

Listings

9548

Listings

9382
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Expert reviews

6.3 out of 10
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Irritating transmission
  • Sluggish performance
Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Comfortable
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Lower-than-average crash test scores
  • Underwhelming base engine

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.

Reviews Summary

The 2023 Kia Forte makes its mark among rival compact sedans with value. You get more for the money than with its rivals, but at the same time, you won't feel as though you have to sacrifice quality or performance. It's an all-around solid choice in a very competitive class.
No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

Engine

2.0L 147 hp I4

Drive Train

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

Horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

MPG City

MPG City

28

MPG Highway

MPG Highway

39
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2023 Kia Forte
2023 Kia Forte
$19,690MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$43,550MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2023 Kia Forte
$19,690MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was 7.8 out of 10, while the 2023 Kia Forte scored 6.3 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class emerged as the better choice. Its blend of luxury, performance, and advanced technologies made it superior to the Kia Forte, which still offered good value and functionality in the compact sedan segment. However, those seeking a more premium, high-tech experience should opt for the C-Class.

Choose the 2023 Kia Forte if:

Shop Now
6.3of 10overall
  • You want a budget-friendly sedan with modern tech features and user-friendly controls.
  • You need ample passenger space and a trunk that accommodates bulkier items.
  • You enjoy a sporty drive with the option for manual transmission and reasonably comfortable ride quality.
Overview
MSRP
$43,550
$19,690
Average price
$26,613
$15,633
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.5
4.3
Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Read full review

6.3 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Irritating transmission
  • Sluggish performance
Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Comfortable
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Lower-than-average crash test scores
  • Underwhelming base engine
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.

The 2023 Kia Forte makes its mark among rival compact sedans with value. You get more for the money than with its rivals, but at the same time, you won't feel as though you have to sacrifice quality or performance. It's an all-around solid choice in a very competitive class.
Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.0L 147 hp I4
Drive Train
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG City
28
MPG Highway
39
Look and feel
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
9/10
2023 Kia Forte
6/10
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sported an exterior that drew from various other Mercedes models, creating a cohesive and stylish look. Its front end had the distinctive droop seen in the CLA-Class, while the squared-off rear and thin taillights mirrored those of the S-Class. This resulted in a sedan that was instantly recognizable as a Mercedes from any angle, especially with its pronounced grille featuring a massive Mercedes three-pointed star logo surrounded by smaller ones. The cab-rearward proportions emphasized its rear-wheel-drive (RWD) platform, distinguishing it from the front-wheel-drive (FWD) CLA-Class and A-Class models. Standard LED headlights and taillights came with the option of upgrading to Mercedes' Digital Light system, which adjusted headlights to follow curves and project warning icons to aid in night driving without blinding pedestrians. Inside, the C-Class aimed to emulate the luxury of the S-Class. Key features included a freestanding touchscreen and instrument cluster, prominent air vents, and intricate speaker grilles for the optional Burmester audio system. The ambient lighting with 64 colors further enhanced the luxury feel. Although the standard MBTex synthetic leather upholstery was typical for the price range, higher trims offered Nappa leather seats. The 2023 Kia Forte, on the other hand, maintained older design cues while incorporating some modern elements. Its double-tab grille was a long-standing Kia signature, but angled cutouts hinted at contemporary styling. The GT trims added a sporty touch with bold red accents. The side and rear design were conventional but graceful compared to some competitors. The Forte's interior clung to an older layout, featuring a dash-mounted touchscreen with physical climate control knobs and dials below, making it user-friendly despite not being as high-tech as newer models. The materials used were superior to many rivals, with soft-touch surfaces and convincing synthetic leather seat upholstery, particularly in GT models. The rear seats had more hard plastic surfaces, ideal for durability against child passengers. Despite its age, the Forte's interior remained attractive and competitive within its segment.
Performance
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7/10
2023 Kia Forte
7/10
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 was powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This setup included a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that provided an additional 20 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque in short bursts. The C300 could sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed electronically limited to 130 mph. A sportier variant, the Mercedes-AMG C43, featured a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering 402 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The C43 reduced the 0 to 60 mph time to 4.6 seconds and had a higher top speed of up to 165 mph with optional wheels. While the C300 felt sufficiently powerful, it suffered from turbo lag and occasional rough shifts. Despite these shortcomings, the ride quality was luxurious with well-muted impacts, although it displayed some vibration. The car handled twisty roads with good body control and precision, yet required more effort in corners compared to the top sports sedans. The 2023 Kia Forte offered two engine choices. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder produced 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The GT trim featured a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 201 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Both setups were FWD. The base engine accelerated the Forte to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, while the GT trim did it in 6.5 seconds. The CVT in the base model made it feel slower, but it was adequate for most drivers. The GT's dual-clutch automatic improved power delivery but was jumpy at lower speeds. The manual transmission offered better engagement despite being slightly slower. The GT's sport-tuned suspension provided better handling without compromising ride quality, surpassing the Mazda 3 in comfort but not in driving enjoyment. Despite noticeable road noise, the Forte's cabin remained quiet compared to other sedans in its class.
Form and function
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7/10
2023 Kia Forte
7/10
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was available only as a sedan, longer and wider than its predecessor, offering more interior space. Front headroom increased by 0.1 inch and rear headroom by 0.4 inch. Rear-seat legroom also saw a 0.8-inch boost. The C-Class led its segment in front headroom and rear legroom, although front legroom lagged behind competitors. Comfortable seats with adequate bolstering, good forward visibility, and thoughtful design elements like a wide trunk opening (17.9 cubic feet) contributed to its appeal. Despite some minor inconveniences, such as glare-producing dashboard trim and a poorly placed wireless charging pad, the interior was designed to fit luxury standards. The 2023 Kia Forte offered spacious front seats with basic but comfortable adjustments. The dashboard layout ensured easy access to controls and included a rubberized phone tray and available wireless charger. The rear seats provided ample space for average-sized adults, with higher trims offering additional conveniences like rear air conditioning vents and a USB charge port. The trunk held 15.3 cubic feet of cargo, more than rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 sedans but less than their hatchback versions. Despite a flimsy fabric cargo floor cover, the space was notable for its height, and remote seatback releases added convenience for loading longer items.
Technology
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
9/10
2023 Kia Forte
6/10
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class featured an advanced infotainment system with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and an 11.9-inch touchscreen angled towards the driver. Standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were complemented by additional options like the Burmester 3D surround-sound system, head-up display, and augmented-reality navigation system. The MBUX infotainment system's "Zero Layer" allowed multiple functions to display simultaneously, enhancing user-friendliness. Voice recognition and touch controls on the steering wheel were well-executed, and the optional augmented-reality navigation system provided clear and precise directions. The 2023 Kia Forte came with an 8-inch touchscreen for lower trims and a 10.25-inch display for GT-Line and above. All models included wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the GT-Line added a navigation system and upgraded audio. An optional premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon system was also available. The infotainment system was user-friendly with sharp graphics and quick responses. Though we encountered issues with wireless phone integration in one test vehicle, past experiences suggested these were anomalies.
Safety
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7/10
2023 Kia Forte
5/10
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class had not been rated by IIHS or NHTSA at the time. However, it boasted an array of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), mostly standard. Features included automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, driver-attention monitor, and Pre-Safe systems. Optional features expanded to lane-keep assist, evasive steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and Car-to-X communication, providing a robust safety net. The 2023 Kia Forte received four out of five stars from NHTSA, with some base forward-collision mitigation features flagged as inadequate. IIHS gave it the highest score in most evaluations, except for the updated front moderate overlap and side impact tests where it scored poorly. Standard safety features included forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and driver attention monitor. Optional features for higher trims included blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic warning, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian/cyclist detection, and rear parking proximity sensors.
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