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Mercedes-Benz C230 Vs Acura RSX



  • 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

    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.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    The Mini has a couple of service bullitins out - everything is fine now. That's to be expected of any totally new car. I'm not sure I want a Mini Cooper, they are small, if I get one I'll hold on to my 2000 Passat. Other options I'm considering are trading the Passat on a redesigned A4 1.8t Quattro or the C230. I'm looking at used Mercedes E Class 96> or BMW 5 Series 97>. In the new A4 or used 5 Series I'm leaning toward a wagon. If I found a 97 or 98 528i wagon (low mileage cream puff) with a stick in silver/ charcoal leather and premium sport package I'd be sold. The chances of finding a car like that are extremely remote (been looking). I wouldn't get an E class wagon - too oooogly. Low mileage, as new 96 or 97 E320's are really easy to find in my area in the low to high $20K's. A nice used E320 sedan is by far the best deal out there in a used Euro premium luxury car IMO, LOTS of bang for the buck.

    Kind of an odd comparison list Mini Cooper S (with Passat), A4, 5 Series C230 and E Class but all priced about the same. Actually the Cooper S would be the most expensive since I'd keep the Passat.

    Luckily I'm in no hurry at all, the Passat has been great, just like trading every 3 years or so.
  • It seems to me that theirs a lot of honda hate on this board. What a pity.

    To get to the point I think the RSX type S is the overall better buy, being that I have actually driven both cars and not just read the specs on both.

    If you want the attention of a bunch of chicks and you are worried about being killed in an accident if one of your 8 airbags dont deploy then take you 30k (after adding all of your options and get a MB)

    But if you want a drivers dream for under 25k rush to your nearest ACURA dealer.

    The RSX in my opinion after driving both cars back to back in the same day has more power and is just funnier to drive. While driving the C CLASS I reved it high close to the red line. My sales associated was timid and didnt like me reving the car so high. While the RSX is made to rev high I reved the hell out of that car and it was not phased a bit by my torture of it. The handling of the two cars is a toss up on normal streets and highways, they both handle extremly well.

    I give the nod to the RSX for power, features, 6 speed, future aftermarket, resale value, and overall price. How can you go wrong with the RSX. Although the C CLASS COUPE is a very respectable car, I think it is a bit over priced. The base price should be in the 22-23k range. Just my 2 cents
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    If you want to see "Honda-haters," visit the "Why are American cars unappealing" (in News & Views).

    I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we are merely expressing our opinions of either cars.
  • They are both fine cars in their own way. The basic difference is FWD vs RWD. If you don't mind/like FWD, get the Honda (oops) Acura ( IMnotsoHO that much power and wide tires pretty much negates the advantage some people think FWD has in the snow). If you like the handling and control RWD give you then get the Benz.

    I voted with my pocketbook and am happily driving a silver C230 that consistantly turns in 25 MPG on spirited short runs over twisty roads.
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    "Drivers dream for under 25K"--??
    I'd drive right by the Acura shop on my way to the WRX store.
    The RSX is just a marketing agency's dream.

    Neither one of these cars (C-hatch or RSX) really appeals to me. The C-hatch has a wheezy motor, and the RSX drives and looks like a Civic on juice.
  • Drive the WRX extensively b4 you plunk your money down. It is a fantastic car at half to full throttle, but tooling around town the turbo is a non-factor, and may be dangerous. The turbo lag is really bad. Pulling out into traffic is a real adventure: first there is nothing and you're sure that you will be run over, then all hello breaks loose. That all or nothing feature is really disconcerting.

    I was really hot for the car until I drove it. Its really just a boy-racer; horsepower looks good on the spec sheet, but more importantly is the torque figures and even more critical is when in the rev range the torque is there. Great gobs of torque at 3500 RPM is not a lot of help when you're going to use the 1500 to 3000 part of the rev range more often.
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    Sedan's backseat doesn't fold down; sunroof isn't available; no leather; cheap interior treatment.
    They do have some really cool accessories that you can add on (factory short shift kit amongst them).

    All three cars have their benefits, but once you look at them and figure out what you want, I really think that each has its own separate audience. If anyone can't decide amongst them, they should use more seat time.
  • jjpeterjjpeter Posts: 230
    My friend has an Audi TT with 225HP of turbo muscle, and like the WRX, its all or nothing. It is a powerful dose of neck snapping fury when it comes on, but better hope for clear sailing before you dip into it. The 230K on the other hand has usable power from idle on up, no lag, no guided missle experience. Much more useful for everyday cruising and if you need to dip into it, the back gets pressed into the back of the seat nicely thank you.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Doesn't the Honda S2000 suffer something similar to this? It's either all or nothing. I really like this passive-aggressive setup, especially the neck snapping feature.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I have a modified 1.8T Passat - I've tweaked it to 225 HP, it's essentially the same engine as the 225 HP TT . All I did was put an APR chip in it and install a low restriction intake (K&N) and cat back exhaust (Neuspeed) and a couple of other minor tweaks. I wouldn't decribe it as turbo lag necissarily, the engine delivers linear power, it's just that once it hits about 3000 RPM it hits the sweet spot of the torque and HP curve. From 3000 to 5500 RPM it takes off - you get used to it. I am totally used to the way this car delivers power, it can be disconcerting until you get used to it though. A lot of normally aspirated sports cars are like this, BMW M cars and non-turbo Porsche 911's have similar power delivery hit that sweet spot and hang on.

    Classic turbo lag is when you give it gas and nothing happens (at all) then all hell breaks loose literally like an on/ off switch. Early Saab and Porsche turbos were like that, newer turbos like the VW/ Audi and Subaru's have tuned out a lot of the classic turbo lag, very easy to drive smoothly IMO. About the only new generation turbo I've driven lately that has what I would call turbo lag are the new Saabs, nothing like the old ones though.

    I like the power delivery of the Benz, even it has that sweet spot where it develops most of it's torque and HP too. I'll bet we'll see some inexpensive upgrades will give the C230 some excellent HP gains. Low restriction intake and an underpully for the supercharger and an ECU upgrade and possibly a low restriction exhaust would probably add 50+ HP to the C230 for around $1k. These late generation force fed engines are easy to extract a lot of extra HP from and still keep dependability intact.
This discussion has been closed.