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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes A-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Maxima doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The A-Class’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Maxima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The A-Class offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
Both the A-Class and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
The A-Class comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.
On the EPA test cycle the A 220 FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima CVT (24 city/35 hwy vs. 20 city/30 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes A-Class higher (5 out of 10) than the Nissan Maxima (3). This means the A-Class produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Maxima every 15,000 miles.
The A-Class stops much shorter than the Maxima:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the A-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Maxima doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The A-Class offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The A-Class’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Maxima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
The A 220 4MATIC handles at .95 G’s, while the Maxima SR pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The A 220 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Maxima Platinum (26.5 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the A-Class’ turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Maxima’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The Mercedes A-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Nissan Maxima.
The A-Class is 1 foot, 1.7 inches shorter than the Maxima, making the A-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The design of the Mercedes A-Class amounts to more than styling. The A-Class has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Maxima (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A-Class get better fuel mileage.
The A-Class has .9 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more rear headroom than the Maxima.
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A-Class easier. The A-Class’ trunk lift-over height is 26.1 inches, while the Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the A-Class’ available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Maxima doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 38% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Maxima SR/Platinum, the A-Class has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The A-Class offers an optional 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 Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The A-Class’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Maxima’s parking brake has to released manually.
The power windows standard on both the A-Class and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A-Class is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The A-Class’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
The A-Class’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Maxima’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the A-Class offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Maxima doesn’t offer cornering lights. The A-Class also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The A-Class’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes A-Class offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Maxima doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The A-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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