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2015 Volvo S60 vs. 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If you're looking for a new luxury sedan that manages to combine fuel economy, luxury and performance, two of the best choices on the market are the 2015 Volvo S60 and the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Both offer a lot of enticing benefits, including cutting-edge technology, impressive gas mileage and modern designs. But which one is better? And which one should you get? Our latest article compares the S60 and the C-Class to find out exactly that. But first, let's see what's new with both sedans for the 2015 model year.

2015 Volvo S60

The S60 sees some major changes for 2015, offering new engines, a new transmission and a few new features.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C-Class is completely redesigned for 2015, boasting a totally new interior and exterior, powertrains, features and a new model lineup.

Reliability

Unfortunately, the reliability experts at J.D. Power have not yet rated the all-new C-Class for dependability. However, last year's model got a promising 4-circle score in the firm's Power Circle Ratings, indicating better than average reliability, and we hope the new model can keep up the trend. Likewise, J.D. Power hasn't rated the most recently updated S60, but last year's model also received a better-than-average 4-circle reliability score.

When it comes to warranty coverage, both cars are the same, offering 4 years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage. As a result, the reliability category is too close to call -- though we're eager to see what J.D. Power has to say about the latest versions of the S60 and the C-Class.

Fuel Economy

The S60 offers four models: the front-wheel-drive T5 Drive-E model gets a new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which offers 240 horsepower with 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway; the T5 all-wheel-drive model uses a 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, which returns 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy; the T6 Drive-E model offers 300 hp with 24 mpg city/35 mpg hwy; and the high-performance T6 R-Design uses a 325-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine offering up to 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

The C-Class, meanwhile, is a little simpler. Two models are offered: a base-level C300, which uses a 241-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and returns up to 25 mpg city/34 mpg hwy, or a more powerful 329-hp C400, which only comes with all-wheel drive and boasts 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.

Given the wide array of engine and drivetrain options in both cars, it's hard to compare the two. We think base-level versions of both models offer excellent fuel economy, while drivers who want all-wheel drive or more performance may favor the Mercedes.

Safety

Unfortunately, the latest C-Class is so new that it has not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, its predecessor earned a perfect 5-star overall rating, and we have no reason to doubt that the latest model will get the same score. Meanwhile, the S60 earned a perfect 5-star rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ score from IIHS.

In terms of safety equipment, these two cars are among the most advanced in their segment. Both offer forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitor and more. The two models also offer some unique features: Only the S60 comes standard with a forward-collision warning system, for instance, while only the Mercedes offers a true partially autonomous steering system that can make continual corrections if you take your hand off the steering wheel.

Although the S60 and C-Class have a few safety-related differences, these are two of the safest cars you can buy -- and we don't think either one offers a major advantage.

Technology

By virtue of its newer design, the C-Class touts several tech features that the Volvo doesn't. One is the aforementioned partially autonomous steering system, but the C-Class also boasts other unique items over the S60, such as LED headlights, a power-closing trunk, adjustable air suspension, scented cabin air, rear window sunshades and more.

Yes, these two cars are both on the cutting edge of their segment when it comes to safety technology, but the Mercedes goes above and beyond with comfort and convenience features to offer even more equipment than its Swedish rival. Gadget lovers will probably appreciate both cars, but we think the C-Class has more tech to offer than the S60.

Value

With a starting price of around $35,000 with shipping, the S60 is often hailed as a value-packed alternative to popular class rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. That's still true, as the C-Class starts around $39,500 with destination. But does that mean the Volvo offers the better value?

To us, it depends on exactly how you define "value." Yes, the Volvo still offers modern styling, a well-appointed interior and a lot of equipment. But the Mercedes has better technology, more power and -- with all-wheel drive -- better fuel economy. It's also hard to ignore the differences between the luxurious Mercedes-Benz brand name and the slightly less appealing Volvo badge. Still, we think the Volvo does indeed offer a better value than the Mercedes -- especially in its most basic trim level, which boasts excellent fuel economy, lots of equipment and impressive pricing.

Autotrader's Advice

If you're curious about whether you should buy the 2015 Volvo S60 or the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, our answer is a relatively unhelpful "it depends."

Here's what it depends on: If you're looking for the overall best car in the segment, we suggest buying the Mercedes. It offers excellent fuel economy and top-notch performance, along with more modern styling, a newer interior and more technology than its Volvo rival. It's the best car in the class.

But if you're looking for a car that offers the majority of what the Mercedes does at a slightly more budget-friendly price, the Volvo is an excellent pick. Depending on which type of car shopper you are, we heartily recommend both models.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Volvo S60 vs. 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Which Is Better? - Autotrader