2019 Lexus IS Series vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus IS Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mercedes A-Class doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The IS Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The A-Class doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

To help make backing safer, the IS Series’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the IS Series and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the IS Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the A-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The IS Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the A-Class’ (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Engine

The IS 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 53 more horsepower (241 vs. 188) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The IS 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 72 more horsepower (260 vs. 188) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The IS 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 123 more horsepower (311 vs. 188) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the IS 350 is faster than the Mercedes A 220:

 

IS Series

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.2 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

102 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The IS Series has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (17.4 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus IS Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A-Class.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the IS Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the A-Class:

 

IS Series

A-Class

Front Rotors

13.1 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.6 inches

The IS Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the A-Class are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the IS Series has larger standard tires than the A-Class (225/45R17 vs. 205/55R17). The IS Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (F:225/40R18 & R:255/35R18 vs. 205/55R17).

The IS Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A-Class’ standard 55 series tires. The IS Series’ optional 225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the A-Class’ 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the IS Series’ wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the A-Class (110.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the A-Class’ (34.2 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A-Class’ (35.4 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

The IS Series 300 RWD offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A-Class doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The IS Series has 3 inches more front legroom and .8 inches more front shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The IS Series has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (10.8 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the IS Series is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the A-Class. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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