2019 Mercedes A-Class vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

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 Jetta doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A-Class’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Jetta doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The A-Class offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta 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 Jetta doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the A-Class and the Jetta 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 and available 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 Jetta.

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.

Engine

The A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 41 more horsepower (188 vs. 147) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A 220 is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

 

A-Class

Jetta

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.9 sec

22.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

87 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

127 MPH

Transmission

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

The A-Class offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Jetta doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A-Class

Jetta

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.6 inches

10.8 inches

The A-Class stops much shorter than the Jetta:

 

A-Class

Jetta

 

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

191 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 Jetta’s standard 60 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 Jetta. The A-Class’ optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium.

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 Jetta doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes A-Class has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Volkswagen Jetta has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The A-Class has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the A-Class flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Jetta’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 Jetta doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A-Class’ wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than on the Jetta (107.4 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

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

Chassis

The A-Class is 6 inches shorter than the Jetta, making the A-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The A-Class has 1.8 inches more front headroom and .7 inches more front legroom than the Jetta.

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 Jetta’s useful trunk space.

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 Jetta 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

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Jetta SEL Premium, 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 Jetta 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 Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The A-Class’ optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The A-Class’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen charges extra for heated mirrors on the Jetta.

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 Jetta 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 is only available on the Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium.

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

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

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