2019 Mercedes A-Class vs. 2019 Volkswagen GTI

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 GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A-Class offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The GTI only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

Warranty

The A-Class comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Mercedes will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the GTI.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A-Class gets better fuel mileage than the GTI:

 

 

 

MPG

A-Class

FWD

Auto

220 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

220 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

GTI

FWD

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

 

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

Transmission

The Mercedes A-Class comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the GTI.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A-Class

GTI

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.6 inches

10.7 inches

The A-Class stops much shorter than the GTI:

 

A-Class

GTI

 

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A-Class offers optional 19-inch wheels. The GTI’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 GTI doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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 GTI doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A-Class’ wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the GTI (107.4 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A-Class is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.

The A 220 4MATIC handles at .95 G’s, while the GTI SE pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The design of the Mercedes A-Class amounts to more than styling. The A-Class has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is significantly lower than the GTI (.31) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A-Class get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The A-Class has 1.9 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.

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 GTI 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 Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 40% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the A-Class, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions and outside mirror angle. The GTI doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI Autobahn.

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

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