2019 Mercedes A-Class vs. 2019 Subaru Legacy

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A-Class offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Legacy only offers a rear monitor.

The A-Class’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Legacy doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

Warranty

The A-Class comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Legacy’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 13 more horsepower (188 vs. 175) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 174) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A 220 is faster than the Subaru Legacy:

 

A-Class

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

8.8 sec

7.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.9 sec

24.5 sec

17.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

9.1 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.9 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

85 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

130 MPH

139 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A 220 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy 3.6R (25 city/33 hwy vs. 20 city/28 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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A-Class

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

The A-Class stops much shorter than the Legacy:

 

A-Class

Legacy

 

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A-Class offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Legacy’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 Legacy 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 Legacy’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 Legacy doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The A 220 4MATIC handles at .95 G’s, while the Legacy 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the A-Class’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Legacy’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes A-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Subaru Legacy.

The A-Class is 10 inches shorter than the Legacy, making the A-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the A-Class’ available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Legacy doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Legacy Limited, 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 Legacy 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 Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The A-Class’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A-Class keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Legacy doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the A-Class’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 is only available on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the A-Class and the Legacy 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 Legacy Base 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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The A-Class is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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

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