2019 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Passat are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes A-Class doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Passat has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The A-Class doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the Passat’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.

Both the Passat and the A-Class 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Passat the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Passat comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A-Class’ 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Passat’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the A-Class’ (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 71 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Passat’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Passat’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the A-Class’ engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 1 place higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Passat gets better fuel mileage than the A 220 FWD (25 city/36 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).

The Passat has 5 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (18.5 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Passat has larger standard tires than the A-Class (215/55R17 vs. 205/55R17). The Passat’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (235/45R18 vs. 205/55R17).

The Passat SE R-Line’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 Passat has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the A-Class; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Passat’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the A-Class (110.4 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

Passenger Space

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

The Passat has 9.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A-Class (102.3 vs. 93).

The Passat has .6 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 5.2 inches more rear legroom and 3 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The Passat has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (15.9 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Passat R-Line/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The A-Class doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Passat SE/SEL has standard extendable sun visors. The A-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Passat has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the A-Class. The Passat also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A-Class.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Passat, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The A-Class has never been chosen.

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

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