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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus ES Series 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 ES Series has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The ES Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto 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 ES Series’ optional 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 ES Series and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear 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, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems and around view 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, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.
Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the ES Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the A-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the A-Class’ (6 vs. 5 years).
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the ES Series’ reliability 54 points higher than the A-Class.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 21st.
The ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (215 vs. 188) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 114 more horsepower (302 vs. 188) and 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
As tested in Consumer Reports the ES 350 is faster than the Mercedes A 220:
Zero to 60 MPH
45 to 65 MPH Passing
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the A 220 FWD (43 city/44 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A-Class requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The ES 350’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (15.9 vs. 13.5 gallons).
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus ES Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A-Class.
The ES 300h 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.
For better traction, the ES Series has larger standard tires than the A-Class (215/55R17 vs. 205/55R17). The ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).
The ES Series 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. Some tire options on the A-Class don’t have a run-flat feature, either.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the A-Class (113 inches vs. 107.4 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 1 inch wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A-Class.
The ES Series F Sport 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.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the ES Series a Mid-size car, while the A-Class is rated a Compact.
The ES Series has 6.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A-Class (99.9 vs. 93).
The ES Series has .6 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 5.3 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.
The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (16.7 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).
With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series offers cargo security. The A-Class’ non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the ES Series offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The A-Class doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.
Consumer Reports rated the ES Series’ headlight performance “Fair,” a higher rating than the A-Class’ headlights, which were rated “Poor.”
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the ES Series has standard extendable sun visors. The A-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.
A power rear sunshade is optional in the ES Series and manual rear side window sunshades are standard in the ES Series Ultra Luxury to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A-Class doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes A-Class isn't recommended.
The Lexus ES Series outsold the Mercedes A-Class by almost three to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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