2020 Lexus IS Series vs. 2020 Mercedes AMG A-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 AMG 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 AMG A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the IS Series and the AMG 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 AMG 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 AMG 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 AMG A-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

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

Reliability

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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 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 9 more horsepower (311 vs. 302) than the AMG A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The IS Series has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the AMG 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 AMG A-Class.

Tires and Wheels

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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 AMG 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 AMG 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 AMG A-Class (110.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

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

Cargo Capacity

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The IS Series has a much larger trunk than the AMG 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 AMG 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 AMG 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

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

Model Availability

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The IS Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The AMG A-Class doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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