The compact executive sedan is increasingly popular, with the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class being newly rivaled by the upstart Jaguar XE.
Will this be a David and Goliath situation or will the giant in luxury automaker continue to dominate? Let's see how the two stack up against each other.
The 2017 C-Class is the latest version of a car that's been around for quite a while now, but you wouldn't know it to look at it. The C-Class may be close to the starting point in the Mercedes-Benz range, but it actually looks larger and perhaps even more expensive than it really is. It's extremely handsome and stylish, whether you go for a sedan, coupe or a convertible. As a completely new model for this year, you'd perhaps expect the Jaguar XE to steal the styling show against its more established rival here, but that's not really the case. The XE is undeniably handsome, but it's a little safe compared to the Mercedes. Looking like a smoother BMW 3 Series isn't a bad place to be for the Jaguar, but it hands the advantage here to the C-Class.
For a start, the C-Class family offers a breathtaking array of models and powertrain configurations, but they're also extremely well-equipped at the entry level. Standard features include a power driver seat, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, cruise control, and the Mercedes-Benz COMAND® interface with a touch pad and a seven-inch display. Standard options in the XE includes 17-inch alloys, power features, cruise control, automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, synthetic leather, a sunroof, LED taillights and a keyless ignition system. That's not bad, but the lack of a standard rear view camera makes this another area where the C-Class comes out on top.
You can have a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class for an MSRP starting at $39,500 for a C 300, while you can pay as much as $80,850 for an awesome AMG® C 63 S Cabriolet. At the top end that's a lot of money for a C-Class, but it's also an awful lot of car. It probably won't be too much of a surprise that the Jaguar XE is less expensive, with a starting MSRP for a rear-wheel drive 25t of just $34,900. It might not have that standard rearview camera, but it's still nearly $5k less than the C-Class. Even at its most expensive, the XE will only cost a maximum of $58,000, so this is a win for the British.
Despite the fact Germans seem to love diesel, the C-Class doesn't offer one but that doesn't stop the four-cylinder gas engine from delivering some useful fuel-economy ratings. If fuel economy is really important to you, the hybrid option will also appeal to you. Without going that far, a rear-drive C 300 gets EPA ratings of 24 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined. The base engine in the Jaguar XE is also a turbocharged inline-four, but it falls a good way short of the Mercedes-Benz with EPA-estimated ratings of 21 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined.
For a good amount less money than it takes to get into a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Jaguar XE does a decent enough job. It's stylish, prestigious and comfortable, and it performs reasonably well. But the extra it takes to upgrade to the Mercedes really is worth every cent, and then some. If money is your only concern, perhaps a luxury model is not your best bet. Other than the price, there's no case at all for choosing the Jaguar over the Mercedes.