Even if you compare other Mercedes vs. Lexus models, which are of the same class, this exclusive comparison should give you a good idea of the two rivals’ core differences. At the end of this shopping-guide video, you’ll see the exact contrasts between Mercedes and Lexus so that you can make an intelligent decision on your own!
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A lot of people asked me to compare the Mercedes C300 and Lexus ES250. I wouldn’t necessarily compare these two models to each other, but many of you asked me to do it, and I know why! These two models are top-rated, best selling in their class, and the price is similar.
And a lot of you asked me: “Which car should I buy? They both about the same price, they’re both luxury cars, they’re both very popular, which one should I buy?” In this video, we’ll make an 8-point comparison of the price, size and comfort, design, performance, fuel economy, safety, technology, and we’re also going to touch upon the maintenance. And at the end, we’ll do a bottom line, where you can see the exact difference between both models. Coming up, right now!
To make a fair comparison, we’re going to compare both base models, and the only option we will add – is a Sport package. 2021 ES250 comes only with the four-wheel drive, there is no other option, and it’s a front-wheel-drive centric all-wheel drive, so it means – it uses front wheels, and if it needs to use the rear, it will transfer from front to back.
2021 Mercedes C300 comes standard with the rear-wheel-drive, but to make a fair comparison, we will add 4Matic, which is an all-wheel drive. But the difference is rear-wheel-drive-centric, so it uses the rear wheels most of the time, unlike Lexus, and only transfers the torque to the front wheels when needed.
The sport package for Mercedes is called the AMG Line, and the sport package for Lexus is called F-Sport. Both packages don’t add any performance, just a little improvement on the suspension and brakes. However, the sport package makes a big difference in the appearance of both models. Mercedes gets much better lines, nicer AMG wheels, much better lower bodywork, much better interior, way better-looking front grille.
Similarly, the Lexus F-Sport package offers much sportier wheels, more aggressive body styling, and a few more extras.
The first thing we’ll compare is the price. ES250 already comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment, and it starts from $40,000, but as soon as you add an F-Sport package – it will climb to $46,000. Now, C300 starts from about $42,000, but if you add 4Matic all-wheel drive and AMG Line package, it will come up to the same $46,000. The price is about the same, so we’re going to give both of them checkmarks.
Now, let’s take a look at the size of both models. And you can see a significant difference right here! Lexus ES250 is over 11 inches longer! You get much more real estate for every dollar you pay. Especially, Lexus has more comfort and space in the rear seat. One thing to notice, even though Lexus is 11 inches longer, there is only a one-inch difference in the wheelbase. That tells me that Mercedes probably has a little better stability on the road.
And now, let’s take a look at the interior dimensions. Both models offer five seats, and as you can see, Lexus offers a little more space. Especially in the rear seat. You would need to move the front seats forward in the Mercedes to get as much space in the back. Lexus also gives you 4 more cubic feet of cargo space.
When it comes to the size of the car, a lot of people say – size matters! Well, not always! Let me show you this example. Here is the map of the entire continental United States, and you can see all the way in the west, on the left side of your screen, a little piece of land that I changed to yellow color. It happens to be a Los Angeles county. Over 10 million people live there!
And now, take a look at all these counties that I changed the color to red. All of them together combined will cover about half of the entire United States territory. Still, all these counties, combined with all the space they cover, actually have fewer people live there than in this little Los Angeles county. Just an example, that size doesn’t always matter. But for the sake of our comparison, because Lexus gives you more real estate for every dollar you pay, we’re going to select Lexus as a winner in this category.
Next, let’s take a look at the design of both models. Lexus ES model used to be just a regular sedan, but lately, ES is trying to become sportier, more modern, and more appealing for the younger generation. The front grille is the most controversial part of the body design. It looks like someone just stuck a big piece of the regular black plastic to cover the car’s entire front. There are only two kinds of people, those who love this plastic front and those who hate it. There is no one in-between.
Inside the Lexus, you can find too many buttons, and all buttons are the same size, small plastic square, all of the buttons look the same. You’d really need to take your eyes off the road to figure which button does what. The whole design looks like it came directly from the 1990s!
Mercedes’s design is simple and minimalistic. It looks very sporty, and it’s made of the highest quality materials. Body panels are perfectly aligned, with no visible gaps – showcasing the legacy of German precision. LED lights are standard.
But the interior design… that’s what sets apart Mercedes from Lexus. Every button is sensory; you can touch it, feel it, and don’t have to look at it. You can control everything in the car without taking your eyes off the road.
On a level that you can’t even find in the more expensive cars, the interior quality is superb. The digital 12.3″ inch instrument cluster is standard, featuring 3D graphics. The standard 10.25″ inch screen is user friendly. The interior trim comes in a huge variety of choices. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s a matter of personal opinion. Still, because of Mercedes’s more modern interior control design and Lexus’s huge plastic front, we’ll mark the C300 as a winner of the design!
Now, let’s talk about performance! Both cars come with a four-cylinder engine. Although C300 comes with a smaller 2.0-liter engine, it has over 50 more horsepower. But the most significant difference comes with the torque: 273 pounds per foot at lower RPM comparing to 184 pounds per foot at higher RPM. Wow, that’s a massive difference in power! And as a result, Mercedes goes from 0 to 60 at a decent 5.7 seconds, while ES250 accelerates at 8.6 seconds from 0 to 60.
8.6 seconds? Really? Lexus, you must work on your performance improvements! C300 has enough power to pull you uphill, fully loaded with people and luggage. C300 not just wins the performance segment – it dominates!
But a lot of people don’t care about performance nowadays. The only thing they care about is fuel efficiency. It’s not about power anymore; it’s all about how much you can save on gas. Because C300 has more power, you would think ES250 has much better fuel efficiency. Well, let’s see, and Lexus is a little better in the city – just by two miles per gallon.
But it’s a little worse on the highway – by one mile per gallon. However, pay attention to the gas requirement. Mercedes needs Premium 91 gas, while in Lexus, you can do a Regular 87. But it will save you only less than two dollars per fill-up. Besides, Mercedes has a bigger fuel tank, so you will need to go to the gas station less often. And we know if you save time – you save money! Overall, we don’t see a winner in the fuel economy race, so we’ll give both models’ checkmarks.
Next, we’ll be comparing both models’ safety, which a lot of people find as the most important segment. Over the years, Lexus excels as one of the safest vehicles based on all the head-on and side crash tests. This car is equipped with state-of-the-art safety technology. Ten airbags, parking assist, rear pedestrian detection, injury-proof seatbacks – are to name a few.
But most importantly, Lexus offers you advanced Driver Assistance at no extra charge! Pedestrian and bicycle detection is standard, lane-keeping assist is standard, lane tracing assist is standard, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control is standard, road sign assistance is standard, intelligent high beam is standard. I don’t know any other manufacturer that gives you so much as standard equipment at no extra charge.
But wait! After you get all the standard equipment at no extra charge, one safety feature is missing, and it’s a Blind Spot Assist. And that’s one of the most essential features that you need. And it should be standard, but it’s optional on Lexus, and you have to pay extra.
Now, Mercedes offers only eight airbags, but they provide 10-way protection. So you have the same protection coverage as in Lexus. C300 body is the benchmark of the safety design. It can redirect the frontal or side crash force away from the cabin, where you’re sitting inside.
Let’s take a look at this C300 crash test. If you see, the whole front is gone, but the cabin doesn’t have any damage. And it didn’t deform. And because of design, people inside the cabin wouldn’t feel the force of impact. C300 is loaded with many safety features, like, for example, active brake assist, attention assist, LED lights, all standard.
But if you want to get any of the Driver Assistance features, you have to pay extra, unlike Lexus. We’ll make a separate video explaining all these features. Surprisingly, the Blind Spot Assist is standard on Mercedes, unlike Lexus, and it’s one of the most crucial safety features. And in Mercedes, it’s effortless to use.
In fact, both models are top safety picks by IIHS in 2020, but nothing changed in 2021 – as far as safety. In the safety segment, we have no winner. Both cars are very safe, so we’ll give checkmarks to both!
Now, let’s talk a little about technology. Lexus gives you pretty good sound insulation inside the cabin, and you can get Mark Levinson – one of the best sounding systems on the market. And you can get lots of different toys like for example; you can get a bigger 12.3-inch multimedia screen, 360-degree camera, a head-up display, wireless charger, and a remote start. Those are to name a few.
However, as we mentioned before, all those plastic square buttons, all the same size – are not very useful while you drive. On the contrary, it can be a considerable distraction. Finally, Lexus offers Apple Carplay and Android Auto for the first time, while Mercedes already had this technology for more than four years.
Mercedes offers much better high-resolution 3D graphics, much more contemporary design. Mercedes offers Apple Carplay and Android Auto for over four years now, and it’s both functional and time-proven. You can get a 360-degree camera, Burmester sound system, super-advanced head-up display, insane climate control, digital instrument cluster, and there is much, much more!
But what really makes a big difference – is how easy to control everything in your car, without any distraction, while you drive. C300 is one notch ahead of the Lexus ES250 in the technology segment!
There is a massive misconception about the cost of maintenance, so let’s see. C300 requires maintenance once a year or ten thousand miles – whichever comes first, but Lexus requires service every six months or five thousand miles – whichever comes first. And right away, a lot of people would say: Whoa! It looks like Lexus needs twice more service!
Mercedes needs service only once a year. Lexus needs service twice a year – so it means I have to spend twice more money to service the Lexus! Well, it’s not that simple. The truth is – two Lexus services combined will actually cost you a little less than one Mercedes service, but not by much. Also, don’t forget that you have to spend twice more time going back and forth for service with Lexus, and we know time is money! As far as maintenance, we don’t have a clear winner – both cars are the same!
Before I’ll do a Bottom Line, let me ask you a question. Today’s question is – when you compare two cars, what feature is the most important to be compared… and why? In your opinion, please let us know in the comments section below. And here is the bottom line.
Price is equal, size and comfort goes to Lexus, design and performance goes to Mercedes, fuel economy is equal, safety is equal, technology goes to Mercedes, and maintenance is equal. So if you like the size and comfort, you should consider Lexus ES250. But if design, performance, and technology are your thing – then you should consider the Mercedes C300.
Since you know the difference between the two models we just compared, which car would you buy, and why? Please let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for watching, don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you for stopping by!
You can jump directly to your video point of interest:
- 00:00 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250;
- 02:46 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Price Comparison;
- 03:18 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Size and Dimension Comparison; 03:53 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Interior Comparison;
- 05:21 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Design Comparison;
- 07:27 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Performance Comparison;
- 08:46 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Fuel Efficiency Comparison;
- 09:48 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Safety Comparison;
- 12:47 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Technology Comparison;
- 14:23 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Maintenance Comparison;
- 15:58 2021 Mercedes C300 vs. 2021 Lexus ES250 – Bottom Line Full Comparison.
We used some footage under an “editorial purpose permission” from Daimler Global Media and Lexus Pressroom.