2019 Mercedes A-Class vs. 2019 Kia Optima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A-Class offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Optima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A-Class has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the A-Class and the Optima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

The A-Class’ 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima runs out after 100,000 miles.

Engine

The A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 10 more horsepower (188 vs. 178) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 195) than the Optima EX’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. The A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (188 vs. 185) and 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 178) than the Optima’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A 220 is faster than the Optima EX 1.6 turbo:

 

A-Class

Optima

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.9 sec

19.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A 220 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Optima SX (24 city/35 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Optima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A-Class

Optima

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.6 inches

11.2 inches

The A-Class stops much shorter than the Optima:

 

A-Class

Optima

 

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The A-Class’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A-Class has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima LX. The A-Class’ optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Optima S/SX.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the A-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Optima doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A-Class offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Optima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A-Class’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Optima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The A 220 4MATIC handles at .95 G’s, while the Optima pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The A-Class is 12 inches shorter than the Optima, making the A-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the A-Class’ trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Optima’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 42% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

The A-Class has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Optima doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Optima (except LX/S), the A-Class has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The A-Class offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Optima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A-Class’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Optima’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The A-Class offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Optima offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The A-Class has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Optima.

Both the A-Class and the Optima offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A-Class has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Optima doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The A-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Optima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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