Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2008 Mercedes Benz C-Class VS 2008 Toyota Avalon Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2008 Mercedes Benz C-Class

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2008 Toyota Avalon

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Toyota Avalon doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C Class has standard whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Avalon doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The C300 offers all wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Avalon doesn’t offer all wheel drive.

The C Class has a standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. The ESP then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. A skid prevention system costs extra on the Avalon. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that skid control systems reduced single-vehicle car crashes by 30%.

Compared to metal, the C Class’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Avalon has a metal gas tank.

The C Class offers optional Tele Aid, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Avalon doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the C Class and the Avalon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts and four wheel antilock brakes.

Warranty Comparison

The C Class comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Avalon’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The C Class comes with free roadside assistance for as long as you own your car. Mercedes will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Toyota doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Avalon.

Engine Comparison

The C350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 248) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the C350 is faster than the Toyota Avalon:

C Class


Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

14.9 sec

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the C Class’ engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the Avalon:


C300 3.0 DOHC V6

2700 RPM

C350 3.5 DOHC V6

2400 RPM

Avalon 3.5 DOHC V6

4700 RPM

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the C350’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Avalon:



Front Rotors

12.7 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.6 inches

The C350’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Avalon are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the C Class has larger standard tires than the Avalon (225/45R17 vs. 215/60R16). The C Class’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Avalon (F:225/40R18 & R:255/35R18 vs. 215/60R16).

The C Class’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Avalon XL’s 60 series tires. The C Class’ optional 225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Avalon Touring/XLS/Limited’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the C Class has standard 17 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the Avalon XL. The C Class’ optional 18 inch wheels are larger than the 17 inch wheels on the Avalon Touring/XLS/Limited.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The C Class has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Avalon’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The C Class’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the Avalon’s (60.5% to 39.5%). This gives the C Class more stable handling and braking.

The C350 handles at .87 G’s, while the Avalon Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the C Class’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Avalon’s (35.6 feet vs. 36.9 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The C Class is 1 foot, 3.3 inches shorter than the Avalon, making the C Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the C300 is quieter than the Avalon Touring (72 vs. 75 dB).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the C Class easier. The C Class’ trunk lift-over height is 26.4 inches, while the Avalon’s liftover is 29 inches.

The C Class’ optional rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Avalon doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the C Class and the Avalon have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the C Class is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Avalon prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The C Class’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Avalon’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left down on the C Class the driver can raise them all using the keyless remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor); on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the Avalon can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The C Class offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Avalon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the C Class offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Avalon doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The C Class’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Avalon XL doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The C Class’ optional heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. The Avalon XL doesn’t offer heated seats.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the C Class owner. The Car Book rates the C Class with a number 3 insurance rate while the Avalon is rated higher at a number 5 rate.

The C Class is less expensive to operate than the Avalon because of its lower insurance rate. Typical repairs cost much less on the C Class than the Avalon, including $7 less for a water pump, $105 less for fuel injection, $153 less for a fuel pump, $84 less for front struts and $668 less for a timing belt/chain.

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