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Mercedes-Benz C230 Vs Acura RSX

pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
edited March 2014 in Acura
Mercedes-Benz C230: image

Acura RSX: image

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,050
    What is there to compare here? Different price, different countries of origin, different ammenities, different performance. Am I missing something?

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • suprchrgdsuprchrgd Posts: 8
    ummm both cars are hatchbacks under 30k... both cars are 200'ish horsepower... i think they are head to head competitors
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    If you look at them from a distance, they are similar: $24-25k, smallish 4-people cars, 190-200 hp, entry-level luxuryish cars.

    Once you see the details, though, they are very different. I'd call the Acura more performance-oriented, and the C230 more cruising-oriented.

    I ordered my C230 last night, so you can see where I was on the fence.

    BTW: is there a reason why we needed to set up a new discussion for this? The old one's been around awhile, and only got a smattering of posts anyway.
  • carloveecarlovee Posts: 3
    I was very intrigued with the benz but by the time I added what I wanted to it (AT, moonroof) the sticker price was up in the 28-29k range. Besides, a rear-wheel drive car in upstate NY is asking for trouble. I bought a base rsx. Just drove it home today actually.
  • uthinxuthinx Posts: 21
    You ordered it on the 21st and picked it up on the 27th? Where in upstate NY? I'm still waiting for mine to come in.
  • carloveecarlovee Posts: 3
    uthinx - I was looking for the base model with AT. They had one at the syracuse dealership (Crest Acura) but I it was silver with a rear spoiler which is an option and color I didn't want. When I asked about ordering one they started talking about a Oct/Nov. delivery. So I drove down to Motorworld in Wilkes-Barres PA to pick up a Desert metalic base model that they had just delivered to the dealership.

    35mpg on the highway by the way. Still lovin the car. Good luck.
  • hey...i got this huge decision. on one side is the acura rsx. If i get this itll be w/leater add the cassete, gold emblem kit, and different tires, and titanium interior kit with the total coming up around 24k-25k..on the other side is the Benz. Itll have No leather (dealer says they have none due to mad cow disease in germany) and automatic transmission. This will be around 26,850....BUT i have a trade in worth 3, for 23k i could have a benz (more hp nicer front design) or for 21k i could have an acura (better rear design)....whats the better choice regarding safety as well.
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    The Benz has 8 airbags, brake assist (computer notes that you are panic braking and "helps" you apply maximum braking power), and ESP, which senses for potential skidding, and applies a small amount of braking to the proper wheel to correct [ESP can be disabled with the touch of a button].
    The Benz also has larger crumple zones. Of course, it's a heavier car, so it had better be a safer car.
    If I can't convince you to go for a manny and save $1k and possibly upgrade to the rsx-s, I'd say that the Benz would be a better choice if comfort and safety are more important to you. If you want more of a compact car with better handling and probably a little better reliability, then it's the base rsx.
  • ecarmackecarmack Posts: 161
    plastic wood, vinyl roofs, etc. etc. should be forever banned on vehicles. Personally, I can even do without real wood in a car. I'm sure the new titanium look will just be a fad, but it suits me just fine.
  • yeah..i cant stand that funny looking wood all over the place. It looks ok in some cars. The titanium trim just makes everything stick out a little more, without it the whole rsx interior is black. But about the benz...about how much off the sticker price do u think i can/try to get off. the dealer told me 26,850 with destination fee. Do u think i could get this thing down to 25.5k or 26k or even more?
  • ecarmackecarmack Posts: 161
    I do not believe anyone is getting discounts on either of these cars yet. I'm sure you will be able to negotiate deals on the RSX sooner than the C230. Perhaps next year, if the idea of a Mercedes hatch-back does not go over all that well, dealers will start discounting some. However, with the number of C230s being made and at $25 to $30k, I doubt Mercedes will have any problems.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    That is so tacky. Even on a Mercedes it's tacky. Silver and chrome just seem to work better with cars than gold. I especially hate plood. It's like having vinyl seats instead of leather.

    I do like the titanium looks on the RSX. Mercedes tries too hard to make the C230 look like its other, more expensive, brothers on the interior. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's just weird to see all that wood trim on an entry-level Benz.
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    And, Diploid, while agree about the gold kit comment, you must have not looked at the interior of a c230 in person. It's got a patterned aluminum dash on it, not wood, which looks really nice on it. Makes it look more sporty without being tacky. And I think that they've done a really good job with making it appear Benzy without being stodgy at the same time.

    When I negotiated, I was able to get a good deal on the changer, and that was about it.

    I don't think that you're going to get Acura off MSRP either for a while.
  • hey thanks for all the info. it looks like its hard to get any type of discount on the benz and i have a budget of 27k, but im going into the dealer and demanding one.. ("please sir, can i have the benz") it could happen. The only thing id wish theyd do was throw in a standard cd player into those things...maybe/hopefully next year (i was thinking of just using a car kit, but thats dorked up for a benz...BUT i AM desperate, so who knows). As for the rsx discount i have some connections so i should be able to get the rsx for around or even less than 24k...or at least thats what the sales guy said.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    For some reason I just remembered seeing the C coupe with wood trim. I obviously was not looking at the C coupe, then.

    So I checked out the pictures on Edmunds...I'm not too wild about that interior pattern scheme.

    Is that a navigation system I see in there?
  • I was quoted today a price of $26579.59 for a black, 6 spd, oyster cloth seats, "on star" c230, tax, tag, mounted, balanced, out the front door. The only problem is that I hate to pay sticker.

    For those of you who pine for leather seats, beware! Leather has all the qualities of vinyl! It is hot in the summer, cold in the winter, slippery, stiff, plus it fades. Believe me leather is NOT the best seat material. Save your money and opt for cloth seats!
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    I still think that you're going to have a tough time with negotiating.
  • If you take one long hard stare at the Merc's pattern on the cloth interior you will be hypnotized into ordering one with leather (or atleast I was). T-minus 60 days till my package arrives from the fine folks in Germany =)
  • 1702817028 Posts: 45
    Mercedes has a no-haggling policy since last year, if I remember correctly. I've heard they can give some on a few options.

    About leather. I personally prefer cloth, but seriously, try selling a Mercedes on the used car market without leather.
  • ccoupe1ccoupe1 Posts: 2
    this is a beautiful car i ordered mine last week with leather the roof option upgraded stereo and wheel package As you all know by now Mercedes is not giving anything off the sticker so the best thing to do is lease it i got mine for 36 months for under 450 per month no money down. and i got to order it not just pick what was available. i cant wait to get it in October
  • Disagree STRONGLY about the handling of the two cars. NO fwd will 'outhandle' a comparable rwd vehicle. The shocks may be firmer and the ride harder (which many equate with sporty), but putting ALL the weight on the front end and asking the front wheels to steer and transmit the power to the ground is NOT the ideal set up to get the maximum handling. Were this not true pure racing cars would be designed from the ground up as FWD, and to my knowledge there has not been a race car with fwd since the AutoUnions of the 30's.

    BTW, I have a c230 (silver, cloth, roof, auto (for my wife's benefit), and Bose upgrade: couldn't be happier. The only problem I have is that a set of golf clubs will not fit in the 'trunk' without taking out the shelf and/or lowering one of the seats. 25+ mpg mostly of > 10 mi. on twisty back roads with a blast of reckless abandon when ever I get the open road. I looked at the WRX (Japanese with terrible turbo lag) and the A4 Avant (not available and poor gas mileage). Having driven turboed and supercharged cars, the S/C gives better (smoother) power deliver where you need it most, on the bottom end.

    Of the >$30K cars out there with sporting intentions, the C230 is the best, hands down.

    Yes, you were quite right about tele aid vs on star. I couldn't recall the name at the time of the post, plus figured most would understand 'onstar' quicker than teleaid. Thanks for the correction.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I agree with your stand on RWD, but the FWD RSX is a formidable competitor. So while I agree that it won't outhandle a RWD, at the same time, it's certainly not going to take a beating, either.
  • Thanks, FWD has its place: its a very efficient platform for space and traction, especially in snow. They can be made to perform well, but to portay them as superior to RWD in road manners is giving them qualities the do not have. Witness, most of the upscale marques that are exclusively FWD (i.e. General Motors, Diamler/Chrysler) are exploring RWD platforms for their high end vehicles.

    I just wish that Volvo would realize the error of its ways and get back to the four-square, stout cars of their past. Where are the 540's, the 122's, the 240's? These were cars worthy of respect, not fopish, effete luxomobilies.
  • There's a lively board in the sports cars/coupes section of townhall for that. If FWD were such a bad platform for racing, nobody would race an Integra. (and they more than hold their own against BMW in those races)

    The C230 handles very well, and it has a tighter turn diameter than the RSX. (35.3 ft vs 38.1 ft) The RSX type S actually lags behind the RSX in power up to about 5500 rpm. I haven't seen the power curve on the Kompressor, but it should be the stronger of the two engines from 2000-4500 rpm. So at least on the street, the C Coupe will be faster, while the RSX driver will feel faster as his engine will have to be revved to redline.

    Quality of Materials and construction, MB wins, hands down. Will try to test drive RSX to see if it is worthy of comparison to the C Coupe.

    I prefer the new look of volvos. But that's a different topic altogether.
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    that you're doing it with two cars with much different setups. If the only difference were the fwd vs. rwd part, then the rwd would handle better, obviously. But, in the real world, the setup in the rsx will give it a handling advantage. Now, it's nothing that about $1500 in aftermarket parts on the c230 wouldn't solve, but I'm comparing stock to stock here.

    Anyway, I'm getting my c230 next month, and I'm sure that I'll enjoy it.

    Rockribbed, if any problems or annoyances show up, please post them here, so that we will know what to look out for. Thanks!
  • After a few weeks there are just a few, none that I couldn't have foreseen, but still gripes.

    (1) Lack of after-market cd.
    (2) Terrible expense of factory phone.
    (3) Trunk won't hold a set of golf clubs without removing the hatch cover tray and/or lowering one of the seat backs.

    Will keep you posted...
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    i have recently test driven both cars, and i must say it is hard to compare the two. i have traditionally been a honda man, but when i saw the coupe with that price i was excited to give it a spin. i thought the test drive went good. fairly cramped but all in all a good driving car. i thought i might have to get my eyes checked when i saw a tape deck with no cd player. that car for 25,000 doesn't have very many options except for a mercedes logo on the hood. i guess if my main buying point was style over substance the mercedes would be the way to go. oh, i am sure those who only know brand name recognition will think what a expensive car that i have (i guess after getting some options it will be). i guess you have to some how justify spending that much more money over an rsx. all told to get comparable equipment to the type s i would have to spend 30,000 dollars. for that amount of money i could get a passat v6, tl or cl, all of which would give me more usable power, space, cd player, and no buyers remorse. with the type s rsx, i think it handled great, was fun to drive, and i guess i prefer a high reving rocket than turbo lag (just my preference). i will give the mb a higher grade for looks, fit and finish, and overall workmanship. but i dont think it was a huge drop off (except for the looks) and i would still have a few thousand more bucks in my bank. i am not venus537, just his nephew using his log on. he thinks i should get the new 180 hp turbo jetta, which combines the german workmanship with a fun driving car.
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    I'm not going to spend a huge amount of space defending the MB, but some things need to be corrected.

    First of all, and the most glaring mistake: a c230 is supercharged, not turbocharged, so there is NO turbo lag (see that little word before "lag"?). Power is available down low instantly.

    Also, having sat in both cars, I can say that the c230 has more space, especially in the rearseat. I'm 5' 10", and my head was just grazing the headliner. In the rsx's rearseat, you would probably have to be 5' or less to comfortably sit in the back, with that interior trim that is just where your head is supposed to go.

    As far as cargo room, the benefit of a hatch is that you have a larger area that can accomodate all kinds of sizes of packages. The sedans and coupes that you mention are not nearly as flexible as the c230 is.

    Final point: if you take the brake assist, extra airbags, esp, additional other safety measures, and other goodies that are in the c230 and not in the rsx, then you'd probably have pretty similar prices between the cars. If you really equip them similarly, then there would probably not be much of a discrepancy after all. (don't know about '02s, but all '01 VWs came with tape players and not cd players as well - it's a german manufacturer thing).

    They're both great cars, it all depends on your requirements. I'd just do a little research before forming opinions.
  • I have test driven both cars several times and just wanted to add something that seems to be absent from most critiques. The Acura RSX head rests are integral with the seat and seem to significantly obstruct the driver's vision. I am not sure if this problem was exacerbated by the fact the car is a hatchback however the lack of visibility was unnerving enough to take the RSX off my list. Unfortunately I loved the ride. I am also a little surprised that Acura put in a plastic cupholder in the center of the rear seat which essentially limits the occupancy to 4.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Maybe it was engineered with smaller Japanese body frames in mind...
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    I drove an RSX and really wanted to buy it. Dealers were NOT dealing (northern Delaware). If your idea of driving pleasure is revving the heck out of the engine to get every ounce of power, the RSX is for you. You'll also have to deal with excessive road noise, cheap plastic and switchgear that feels like the Civic. That's not to say the swithgear is bad. It's just saying it SCREAMS economy car. In the MB the interior is the SAME as if you bought a loaded C320! Granted some of the trim pieces are different but they're built mainly of the same high quality materials. Fit and finish are excellent on the MB and you get so much more content. ESP, side air bags and crash protection that is unbelievable. I own a C320 and just bought a C230 Sport and though the Acura probably will handle a little better, the MB feels SO MUCH more solid. Let's not forget that neat sunroof the MB has plus the way cool looks of the front end. BTW... I've owned a 1990 Acura Integra which was one of my most favorite cars until it was stolen a few years ago. The styling back then is better than their new version today. BLAND!!!! But... they're reliable as hell!!
  • mitsugstmitsugst Posts: 41
    I don't have ESP or anything, but I think most people look at the RSX and believe what you see is what you get, whereas people look at the Mercedes and believe that what you see on the hood is what you get. I prefer the former. But, then again, these cars are quite different when you start to nit pick (i.e. FWD vs RWD, true luxury interior vs. entry level luxury interior, big trunk vs. no trunk due to FWD vs. RWD).

    Now let's get on to real impressions, not obvious ones. Did you like it? and why?

    Personally I like the front of the C230 and the rear of the RSX (I guess that is the way they where intended to be looked at, the C230 front in the rear view mirror of the RSX, and the RSX rear from the view of the Mecedes Windshield). Overall looks, I like the C230. Content wise, I'll take the content of the RSX at its price point rather than the C230 at its price point, although if I throw in the options that I really want, the C230 really takes it. As for the performance, I'll give it to the RSX, I think the RSX is very livable and if a C230 pulls up I'll rev until the cows come home and do an F1 racer impression. Roominess, I'll take the RSX, the people in the back are out of sight and out of mind, but I've gotta have my golf clubs in the trunk, not hanging out. Reliability, I'll take the RSX, I kept my last car over 100K miles, and my next car needs to as well.

    Overall, give me the RSX, I'd rather have the best performance with some livability (trunk space, reliability) than a label on the hood (although I'm originally a Californian, oh well so much for stereotypes).
  • Seems that high fuel prices and the teetering economy have more people looking at smaller cars. So the Wall Street Journal is looking at how small sport sedans are taking over the market.

    They are looking for someone who recently traded in a big luxury car for a smaller one--like a 7-Series for a 3-Series, or a big Jag for the new small one. But they don't want "econoboxes." Okay? They're looking at the likes of the 3-Series BMW, C-Class Mercedes and Jaguar X-Type.

    If you fall into this category, please post your comments in the Talk to the Press discussion on the Smart Shopper message board. Or send an email directly to [email protected]

    Thanks for your participation. ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • I love Honda products b/c of their reliability and the RSX is a good looking car. However the MB is only $2000 more and you get more torque, traction control, stability control, dual zone climate control. For once a MB product that is of better value than a competitor. I would still buy the RSX though. The MB gives me the impression that I want to buy a C class but didn't have the money to also buy the trunk. Ugly car...
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Well what about the RSX? Doesn't it also say "I couldn't afford a CL, so I got this instead?"
  • Not really, C coupe is basically a chopped C-class. The RsX is entirely different car than the CL especially being 20" shorter. For the money of a CL, I think a 325CI is nicer. I have a TL-S and regretted it. Too cumbersome eventhough it's very nice. If I had the money, C32 AMG is the only choice....
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    Yeah, the RSX is an entirely different car than the CL--it's a Civic!
  • Does having a normal trunk make it a "real" Mercedes? I just got mine yesterday, and am totally in love with it (well, everything except for the break-in period). It's fast enough for me, and the ugly backend (your words, not mine) works well and makes the back area very flexible. If we apply your logic to the entire model range, isn't every Benz a cheap S class?

    In case anyone's interested, I've got the C7 package on it - pics can be found at:

    See my photos of My C230 at PhotoPoint

    I'll be posting more pics shortly, as the little people at have a bunch of requests.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I totally agree. I was hoping the Integra replacement was going to be some awesome sports coupe with a cool design.

    Instead, we get the RSX...which is a nice looking car, but certainly no winner in the looks category.
  • Is the RSX a Civic in Japan? Since there is no such thing as an Acura in Japan I was wondering if it actually is a Civic over there. Acura blew it on the RSX, it has Civic written all over it.

    I've been looking at the C230 with sunroof, wheel package and Bose. Also looking at used MB's and BMW's as well. I found a nice 99 CLK 320 still under warranty, original owner for $30k, very tempting. Or a 98-99 3 or 5 series BMW in the $30k range isn't hard to find with the BMW warranty to 100k if I buy it from a BMW dealer. It's easy to find pristine low mileage 2 or 3 year old BMW's and MB's in my neck of the woods (Florida). A nice used MB that's already taken the initial depreciation hit is hard to beat, I'll certainly get a heck of a lot more Mercedes if I don't have to have a new one. Although the C230 is really growing on me.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Because I know the Civic Si and Type-R are available over there, as well.
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209 called the Honda RSX. Pretty clever, huh? It is supposed to fill the void in Honda's lineup that the dearly departed Prelude leaves behind. Too bad the RSX is less than a worthy successor.
  • I thought it is called Honda Integra? Which replace the last generation of the Honda Integra in Japan.
  • ligartligart Posts: 109
    I'm amazed at how many people simply look at in-your-face options when comparing these two cars. "Nephew of venus537" said:

    "i thought i might have to get my eyes checked when i saw a tape deck with no cd player ... that car for 25,000 doesn't have very many options ... if my main buying point was style over substance the mercedes would be the way to go"

    What about higher quality materials, better build, brake assist, stability control, and EIGHT FREAKING AIRBAGS! That's not substance, but a $100 CD player is?

    Sheesh! :-)
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I think that's like paying for a combo meal and not getting your additional biscuit.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    ...and I like the C230 better no matter what the RSX is called in any part of the world.
  • The RSX and the C320 are competitors- kind of telling you where MB is going? I don't really think Mercedes should have made the C320. It has the potential to kill the exclusiveness of the Mercedes brand completely. If everyone has one, then it won't be as cool for the people that do. Acura already had the Integra, the best compact sports car under 30K, especially in the aftermarket world. Mercedes isn't going for all out performance or the kind of image that the RSX is going for (especially the upcoming Type R). Actually, I have no idea what Mercedes is going for with the C320. In Europe I understand, where the have BMW 2 series, and Audi A3s, and the like. But not in the U.S. No mabe all premium hatchbacks will make it to our shores.
  • It's a c230; the upper-level c sedan is the c320.

    Don't worry; you still won't see S classes in droves on the highways - there are plenty of MBs on the road that are not going to be seen everyday. For a better example, see the G series - now there's a Benz that will be very exclusive.
  • It's an American perception thing - Mercedes is a peoples car in Europe - the A class is not a luxury car by any stretch - Most taxi cabs in Europe are Diesel Mercedes - nothing special. Mercedes sells a minivans too. Why did Toyota and Honda feel the need to rename their high level cars Lexus and Acura - because Americans wouldn't spend $50+K for a Honda or Toyota no matter how nice it is. The Europeans and Japanese don't have our "exclusivity" hang ups, VW is kicking MB's butt over there, now VW is even competing the the new D1 - a $60+k S class VW that will be over here in a couple of years. And the W8 Passat - A $40k VW that will be here early next year to steal a few E class and 5 series sales. VW is even considering sending us the new redesigned Polo. What about the new Mini Cooper that BMW is about to send over here (I have a deposit on a supercharged Cooper S). I'm not sure I want the Mini Cooper S, but if I do I'll be one of the first ones to own one.

    I think it's cool that MB, BMW, VW etc are going up and down market to do battle with each other, we are about to have some increadable choices over here.

    HONDA really blew it with the RSX.
  • I had one of the first deposits down at the local N NJ Mini franchise, after following it for 9 months or so. I switched over to the c230, because of size, but mostly due to timing. The crx can't handle another winter.

    So, I know that the initial batch had the breaking seat levers (as well as the possibility of blowing up - oops!). Did they fix that? I'd go over to Mini2, but I got totally reamed when I posted that I was making the switch. It seems as though there's alot up in the air still with the Mini, though it's a fine car. I just couldn't wait any longer, and am not too comfortable about getting an S when they told me that I'd be able to.
This discussion has been closed.