Alright, so your career is going well, and you've earned yourself a promotion. Things look rosy, and you now would prefer to schlep around in something more.... executive, luxurious and upmarket. A departure from your regular B- or C-segment grinders. In the RM 180 - 200k price range. A new Toyota Camry? A Honda Accord? Perhaps a used Mercedes-Benz C200?
|Price with SST discount|
|Toyota Camry 2.5V||RM 188,763|
|Honda Accord 1.5 TC-P||RM 187,390|
Yes yes, They're of different segments and sizes, the D-segment Japanese sedans and the Mercedes C-Class. However, shoppers in this price range are always looking to get the most flash their money can get them (and the C-Class is pretty flash). Let's dive into whether you should plump for the new Japanese sedans, or a used Continental car like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
New Japanese cars, with a warranty
Let's get this one out of the way. Any angle you look at this, buying a new Japanese D-sedan is a sensible decision, even though buying decisions at this price point aren't always dictated by sensibility. With a brand new car, you get factory-backed warranty, for at least 5 years. Moreover, these are Japanese cars, whose reliability reputation has been built from years of bulletproof motoring.
Even in terms of specifications, a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord loses very little to its Continental counterparts (in fact, they're both better equipped than the C200). Both cars come with full ADAS suites, comprehensive passive and active safety systems, powered front seats, and just about all the modern luxuries you'd expect of cars costing this much.
|Toyota Camry 2.5V||Honda Accord 1.5 TC-P||Mercedes-Benz
200 AMG Line
|Adaptive Cruise Control||Yes||Yes||No|
|Lane Departure Alert||Yes||Yes||No|
|Lane Keep Assist||Yes||Yes||No|
|Blind Spot Monitor||Yes||LaneWatch Camera||Yes|
I'd even argue that the Japanese D-sedan challengers ride (the Accord is supremely comfortable) and drive better (the Camry is an absolute sweet car to steer) than the C-Class. So we've established that the Toyota and Honda has all the weapons in their armoury to match or better the C-Class, what gives?
A C200 for less than RM 200k? Why not?
Well, first off, the W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is not half bad. 7 years on from its global launch, it is still a good looking car, one that showcased how modern Mercedeses should look and feel. It's dripping with that 'bling' factor inside out that people look for in a premium brand. No wonder this W205-generation was such a hit.
Straight up, where the Camry and Accord loses out to the C-Class is brand catchet. The truth is, people prefer to be seen in a Mercedes-Benz if they have the choice, 5-year warranty or not. It makes them feel good about themselves, it can be good for business and let's face it, it gets you noticed. Nobody's gonna care if it's a used Mercedes or not, they just care that it's a Mercedes.
In saying that, there's no denying that the C-Class is rather lacklustre in what Mercedeses of yore used to nail: being a comfortable cruiser. Sure, it's powertrain is punchy on the straights in a way the Camry or Accord cannot match, but the driving experience and comfort factor just doesn't stack up. The ride's bumpy and harsh, plus the handling is sterile. Driving position? Not the best.
Let's also not forget the small issue of maintenance and upkeep. Most of the units in the used car market are probably out of warranty. Remember, these are sophisticated cars in powertrain and components, so they can (not a given) get finicky. If that is indeed the case, then be prepared to fork out some serious cash should anything go wrong.
Growing up, I'd never thought there would come a day where I would say that a Japanese car is more comfortable, better-specced, or drives better than a Mercedes. Were it my RM 200k, I will plump for the Toyota Camry. That's because I prize an immersive driving experience over the need for eyeballs. In the D-sedan segment, no car drives better. Bold claim, I know.
Still, there's nothing wrong if you prefer to have a used C-Class over a Camry or Accord. Your priorities are just different. And that is why the automotive world is wonderful. There's a flavour, shape and size for everyone. Find one that you gravitate to the most.