2020 Lexus IS Series vs. 2020 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 2020/06/03

The IS Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CLA doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the IS Series and the CLA 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, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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 CLA 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 CLA. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the CLA ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The IS Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CLA’s (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 CLA.

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 20 more horsepower (241 vs. 221) than the CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The IS 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 39 more horsepower (260 vs. 221) than the CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The IS 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 90 more horsepower (311 vs. 221) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the CLA’s 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 CLA (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 CLA.

Brakes and Stopping

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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 CLA are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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The IS Series’ optional 225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CLA’s 45 series tires.

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 CLA (110.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the CLA’s (34.2 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the CLA’s (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 CLA doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The IS Series has 3 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room and 1.2 inches more rear headroom than the CLA.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the IS Series 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.

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

Recommendations

© 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 2020/06/03

The Lexus IS Series outsold the Mercedes CLA by 20% during 2019.

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