2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Maxima 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 Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers optional 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 Maxima SL/SR/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 Maxima’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 Maxima and the A-Class 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, available 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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A-Class isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 112 more horsepower (300 vs. 188) and 40 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Mercedes A-Class:

 

Maxima

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

135 MPH

132 MPH

Transmission

The Maxima 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.

Brakes and Stopping

The Maxima’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the A-Class are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the A-Class (245/45R18 vs. 205/55R17).

The Maxima’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A-Class’ standard 55 series tires. The Maxima SR/Platinum’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the A-Class’ 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A-Class.

The Maxima 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 Maxima’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the A-Class (109.3 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Maxima is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the A-Class.

Chassis

The Maxima SL/SR/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 Maxima a Mid-size car, while the A-Class is rated a Compact.

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

The Maxima has 5.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A-Class (98.5 vs. 93).

The Maxima has 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The Maxima has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (14.3 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Maxima 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.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Maxima SR/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 Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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