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Mercedes-Benz C230 Vs Acura RSX

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  • 1. Has to be a sports coupe
    2. Comfortable ride
    3. Rear Seat room aplenty
    4. Good acceleration
    5. Reliable
    6. Under $30K
    7. Has to be a sports coupe.
    8. Has to be a stick shift?


    This is pretty much on target.

    Item #2 for ride comfort is an NVH requirement that came out of previous experience (including test rides in Acura's), where the car is needed for occasional short notice, long distance business trips in the 200-800 miles over 1-2 days. The typical Laser/Celica/CRX-class vehicle simply doesn't have enough NVH isolation, so the resulting driver fatigue after 3-4 hours continuous driving becomes a major safety issue.

    For #5, I include the quality of the dealership as an essential and integral part of the equation. My local Honda dealership is pretty bad, so their cars are out of the running (hence the Accord V6). My wife has had 10 great years followed by 3 poor ones with the local Audi dealership's service department, so the A4 Avant was similarly taken off my list of contenders.

    My personal philosophy here is that its useless to have the most reliable car in the world if you can't get good service for it.

    For #1 & 7, this was a strong preference, but not an absolute stopper. I was willing to "fall back" to a wagon if required.

    For #6, I was expecting to spend $25-30K, but was willing to go to $35K if the product really merited it. IMO, the BMW 3'er wagon fell a bit short. Another influencing factor here is an admittedly purely capricious preference to try keep my new car price under whatever my wife paid for her last car. Had I bought the 6CD changer on the MB, this probably would have put me over, I chose not to buy the CD changer *not* because of this factor, but instead because I consider $800 for a CD changer to be a rip-off. My bottom line is about total value.

    Finally, for #8, I really like having a stick. My commute doesn't have much congestion along it for me to need to consider an automatic, and I appreciate the greater level of total dynamic control afforded a car by a manual transmission.

    If you did not need it to be a sports coupe, but could live with an extra set of doors and a trunk, I could think of plenty of alternatives that might be a better choice for the money, mostly Japanese.

    Sure. However, many of these choices follow common American design trends of numb steering (particularly the dead spot) and similarly isolative brakes, if not floaty suspensions. These design points each sacrifice a level of precision that is otherwise maintained in the designs of other products. This is a design dilemma: higher precision generally comes at the expense of higher NVH, so the "just right" amounts of each is often very subjective.

    If you are looking more towards agility, speed, and a really nice interior over ride, rear seat room, and quietness, the RSX-S is a better solution than the C230.

    Sure. And as I've effectively previously said to Silvers, neither one of us is the sole ultimate authority for what the definitive trade-offs are, so differences in opinion that lead to different conclusions are inevitable.

    -hh
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I believe you bought your car in either 2001 or early 2002? Also, with that type of commute NVH should be a major factor!

    SilverRSX - I have a WRX and a good friend of mine has the RSX-S. We keep debating with each other on which car is better. His interior and stick-shift is nicer (Honda makes a GREAT stick-shift IMHO). I like the NVH better in my car. My friend mainly drives around town, and occasionally on the highway, while I drive the highway a great deal. The RSX-S is a great deal of fun to drive, and I really like the cockpit feel - like how it surrounds you.

    Basically, these are two different cars, the C230 and the RSX-S for people with two different priorities.
  • I believe you bought your car in either 2001 or early 2002? Also, with that type of commute NVH should be a major factor!

    A point of clarification: my "long drive NVH" issue is not my daily commute: that's only ~10 miles each way.

    My "long drive NVH" bit is that I have the occasional business requirement to "pick up and go" on short notice, so I'm going to do it in my own car.

    Typically, these trips are ~375 miles RT for the day, but the furthest single down-and-back in the same day that I've had to do is around 550 miles. I've also done as much as 800 miles within a 36 hour period.

    Basically, these are two different cars, the C230 and the RSX-S for people with two different priorities.

    Exactly. FWIW, I can recall years ago driving my old VW Scirocco with earplugs in, just to try to cut down on the road noise NVH.

    I also have found that keeping the sunroof completely closed helps keep NVH down too, and between that an a personal heightened sensitivity to bright light, it means that I almost never use a car's sunroof. Which means that when they're listed as optional equipment, I skip that option (which drives the salesmen up the wall).

    -hh
  • beowulf7beowulf7 Posts: 290
    silverrsx1, I wholeheartedly agree w/ your post #81.

    huntzinger, I also live in NJ and test drove that entry level M-B coupe. Unfortunately, my dealership only had AT version of it, which is what I had to test drive, and after making a couple extra trips there (after being told that they have a MT in stock), they lied to me. So I said screw the C230. Their loss.

    This is the guideline I used when I decided to get my car. It came down to a final 5. I've posted the actual scoring elsewhere - I think in that "RSX vs. Celica vs. Eclipse" forum.

    Ergonomics/Driver Comfort: 10%
    Engine Performance: 20%
    Handling/Braking/Steering: 15%
    Exterior Styling: 15%
    "TMV" Price: 15%
    Reliability/Reputation/Resale: 15%
    Utility/Features: 5%
    Warranty Coverage: 5%

    Total: 100%

    Obviously, the RSX-S won out. Believe it or not, the new (2003) Tiburon GT V6 came in a distant 2nd. The C230 coupe came in last of the 5 cars I looked at. (2002 Celica GT-S #3, 2003 Eclipse GTS #4.)
  • I also live in NJ...Unfortunately...after making a couple extra trips there (after being told that they have a MT in stock), they lied to me. So I said screw the C230. Their loss.

    True, and FWIW, I went with Intercar in Newton, NJ because MB of Morristown, NJ and Globe both fell short in the showroom's "salesman quality".

    In any event, you've included - but not listed - a very important item on your checklist, namely the overall product support from the Dealership.

    In hindsight, my checklist looks roughly like the following:

    Vehicle:
    - Driver Ergonomics/Comfort & NVH: 20%
    - Utility & Features (incl. Styling): 10%
    - System Reliability: 10%
    - Chassis Performance: 10%
    - Engine Performance: 5%
    - Resale: 0%

    Manufacturer Support:
    - Service (Quality/Reliability/Availability): 15%
    - Overall Reputation: 10%
    - Buying Experience: 10%
    - Warranty/Included Maintenance: 5%
    - Value ("TMV" Price): 5%

    While I've made the above sum to 100%, I've nudged stuff to the nearest 5%, plus the truth is that a lot of these requirements are more "go/no-go gates" than percentages, and as gates, they narrow and eliminate products from contention: a good example is that Utility/Features includes the "no trunks" (=hatchback) criteria.

    I've also aggregated "handing/braking/steering" into a category I like to call "chassis".

    My personal philosophy is that I do not want a product whose performance is chasis-limited: I want it to be engine-limited (as you can see above, Chassis has a higher % than Engine).

    The basis of this philosophy is that the engine is what gets you into trouble, whereas its the chassis that will get you out of trouble, but only if the chassis capability exceeds the horsepower. Because of this philosophy, I'm quite willing to sacrifice some power in deference to better handling.

    And of course, the common trend in the USA is to be over-engined which thusly leads to chassis-limited products. Its only when the chips are down that people find out that the design can't deliver what its engine (& styling) promises.

    -hh
  • beowulf7beowulf7 Posts: 290
    I have to hand it to you that you know exactly what you want, and it seems like you got it!

    You're right about the dealership experience, but I didn't want to include that for a specific car. After all, brand X's car could have 2 dealerships that give me opposite vibes, as would brand Y's car. So that could be a wash. In fact, the car I got (RSX-S), I got treated poorly by 1 dealership (in Turnersville Acura), but got a very professional treatment by the place where I bought my car (Sussman Acura).

    While I see what you mean that you rather the engine limit your performance than the chassis, I think for my car, the 2 are on par with each other, as I would say would be the case for your C230 coupe.
  • While I see what you mean that you rather the engine limit your performance than the chassis, I think for my car, the 2 are on par with each other, as I would say would be the case for your C230 coupe.

    Because of its inadequate back seat, the RSX was eliminated early from my list.

    However, I did also recall a thorough test drive I had had in an Integra a few years earlier. I had found the Integra to be (noisy, harsh, etc) and most definitely chassis-limited. I found that it couldn't cut the mustard on "my personal test drive road" by the way that it was clearly outclassed by the underpowered 318ti that I had driven on that same road the same morning as the Integra test-drive.

    Granted, the RSX isn't the Integra, but is there any particular rationale for why its handling performance should have substantially improved? Between a bumped engine and reports that it lost the previous double-wishbone front end suspension, I'd be inclined to say that they've made the disparity greater instead of eliminating it, but that's just my opinion.

    -hh
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I believe the RSX's chasis was stiffened something like 140% over the Integras, thus allowing for better handling, more road feel, and less creaking. It also comes with bigger tires (16-55-205s) and more precise steering than the integra. I remember reading (Consumers Reports) that the basic Integras were known for sloppy handling and feel. The RSX is not like this.

    The RSX is definitely more noisy and bumpy on the freeway than the C230, but it handles great, as many magazines have indicated (C&D, Road and Track, Motor Trend).
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I've driven 4 C230 sports sedans to date 6 speed manual and automatic. In fact I've driven every version of the C class except the 320 coupe (either transmission) and a 320 sedan with a six speed manual. I didn't think the 17" wheels made the ride much firmer at all. The C230k Sport Sedan has a firmer suspension which has more to do with the firmer ride than wheel diameter. Bottom line is you need to drive both the C240 with 16" wheels and a C230k sedan with sport suspension and 17" wheels - I much prefer the ride of the C230k to the softer setup in the C240/ 320. The suspension in the C230k sport sedan isn't harsh at all, I think it's near perfect.

    I tested a C32 AMG yesterday - - I'm seriously considering selling my 01 X5 now and ordering a C32 - my other option is keep the X and get a C230k sport sedan with a 6 speed. The C32 AMG is one of the most amazing cars I've ever driven. The only options I'd get are the C4 package and a 6 disk CD changer.

    As far as installing the C4 package (Xenon lights) on a car that doesn't have them - I'm sure it's possible, but it would be really expensive- way more than the $750 that MB charges for the option. I bet you're looking at at least a couple thousand dollars to convert a C class to factory Xenon's. I get factory Xenons on every car I get - it was only $500 on my X5 - worth every penny IMO.
  • Does this mean you are getting rid of the GTI?!?
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    If there are not more thoughts to share on this subject, this discussion will soon be closed and archived.

    Revka
    Host
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