2020 Lexus IS Series vs. 2020 Mercedes A-Class

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 2020/05/30

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus IS 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.

To help make backing safer, the IS 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 IS 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the IS Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 153 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS 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 IS Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the A-Class’ (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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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 IS Series’ reliability 69 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.

Engine

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The IS 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 53 more horsepower (241 vs. 188) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The IS 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 72 more horsepower (260 vs. 188) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The IS 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 123 more horsepower (311 vs. 188) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Mercedes A-Class:

IS Series

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.4 MPH

94.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/05/30

The IS Series has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (17.4 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus IS Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A-Class.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the IS Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the A-Class:

IS Series

A-Class

Front Rotors

13.1 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.6 inches

The IS Series’ 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.

The IS Series stops much shorter than the A-Class:

IS Series

A-Class

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the IS Series has larger standard tires than the A-Class (225/45R17 vs. 205/55R17).

The IS Series’ 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 IS Series’ optional 255/35R18 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the A-Class’ optional 40 series tires.

The IS 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.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the IS Series’ wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the A-Class (110.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

The IS Series AWD handles at .89 G’s, while the A 220 pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The IS 350 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the A 220 (26 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the A-Class’ (34.2 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A-Class’ (35.4 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

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The IS Series 300 RWD offers available 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

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The IS Series has 3 inches more front legroom and .8 inches more front shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

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The IS Series has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (10.8 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the IS Series offers cargo security. The A-Class’ non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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

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.

Ergonomics

© 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 2020/05/30

Consumer Reports rated the IS Series’ headlight performance “Fair,” a higher rating than the A-Class’ headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

A power rear sunshade is optional in the IS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A-Class doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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