2020 Kia Stinger vs. 2019 Mercedes CLA

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

The Stinger has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The CLA doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Stinger GT2 has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CLA 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.

To help make backing safer, the Stinger’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 CLA doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Stinger and the CLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and driver alert monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Stinger the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CLA does not qualify as a “Top Pick.”

Warranty

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The Stinger comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CLA’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Stinger 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the CLA. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the CLA ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 2 times as many Kia dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Stinger’s warranty.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

The battery on the Stinger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Stinger’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The CLA’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Stinger third among compact premium cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The CLA isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 12 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The Stinger GT-Line’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 47 more horsepower (255 vs. 208) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Stinger GT’s standard 3.3 turbo V6 produces 157 more horsepower (365 vs. 208) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (376 vs. 258) than the CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Stinger is faster than the Mercedes CLA:

Stinger GT-Line

Stinger GT

CLA

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

1.8 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

4.4 sec

6.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.2 sec

10.6 sec

16.7 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

2.5 sec

3.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

3.2 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

12.9 sec

14.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Stinger uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The CLA requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Stinger has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CLA (15.9 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Kia Stinger, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the CLA.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Stinger GT’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CLA:

Stinger GT

CLA

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

11.6 inches

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

The Stinger stops much shorter than the CLA:

Stinger

CLA

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

114 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

The Stinger GT’s 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CLA’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stinger GT-Line has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the CLA. The Stinger GT’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the CLA.

The Stinger 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 CLA; 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

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Stinger’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the CLA (114.4 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Stinger is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the CLA.

The Stinger’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.9% to 48.1%) than the CLA’s (61% to 39%). This gives the Stinger more stable handling and braking.

The Stinger GT2 handles at .93 G’s, while the CLA 250 pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Stinger GT executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the CLA 250 (24.8 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 26.4 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Stinger AWD is quieter than the CLA 250:

Stinger

CLA

At idle

39 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Stinger a Mid-size car, while the CLA is rated a Subcompact.

The Stinger has 15.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLA (93.8 vs. 78).

The Stinger has .1 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 9.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the CLA.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Stinger GT2 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The CLA doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The Stinger uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CLA uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Stinger is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the CLA. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The Stinger GT1/GT2’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CLA doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Stinger GT2 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The CLA doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Stinger’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The CLA’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Stinger’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the CLA’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Stinger GT1/GT2 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The CLA doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Stinger GT2 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The CLA doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Stinger has standard extendable sun visors. The CLA doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Stinger has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the CLA. The Stinger GT2 also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the CLA.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Stinger GT1/GT2 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The CLA doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Stinger’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The CLA doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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