2019 Nissan Altima 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 Nissan Altima 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.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Altima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A-Class doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Altima SV/SL/Platinum has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A-Class doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s 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.

The Altima’s 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 A-Class doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Altima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Altima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the A-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 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 Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 3 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 60 more horsepower (248 vs. 188) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Altima turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Mercedes A-Class:

 

Altima

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

142 MPH

132 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Altima’s 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 A-Class doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The Altima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A-Class doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Altima has larger standard tires than the A-Class (215/60R16 vs. 205/55R17). The Altima SR/Platinum’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (235/40R19 vs. 205/55R17).

The Altima SR/Platinum’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A-Class’ 55 series tires.

The Altima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A-Class doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the A-Class (111.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A-Class.

Chassis

The front grille of the Altima uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Altima SL/Platinum uses 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

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Altima a Mid-size car, while the A-Class is rated a Compact.

The Altima has standard seating for 5 passengers; the A-Class can only carry 2.

The Altima has 7.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A-Class (100.8 vs. 93).

The Altima has 2 inches more front legroom, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The Altima has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (15.4 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Altima 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 A-Class doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Altima’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The A-Class’

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Altima SV/SL/Platinum detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The A-Class doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Altima, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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