2020 Mercedes A-Class vs. 2020 Subaru Legacy

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 2020/02/21

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 Legacy doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A-Class offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Legacy only offers a rear monitor.

Both the A-Class and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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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 Legacy’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

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 Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 6 more horsepower (188 vs. 182) and 45 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 176) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mercedes A-Class is faster than the Legacy 2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder:

A-Class

Legacy

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.9 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

130 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the A 220 4MATIC Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy XT CVT turbo 4 cyl. (24 city/34 hwy vs. 24 city/32 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping

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

A-Class

Legacy

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

The A-Class stops much shorter than the Legacy:

A-Class

Legacy

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The A-Class’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Legacy Sport/Limited/Touring’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A-Class offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Legacy’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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 Legacy’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A-Class has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Legacy doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The A 220 4MATIC handles at .95 G’s, while the Legacy Sport pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A 220 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the Legacy Sport (26.5 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A-Class’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Legacy’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes A-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 400 pounds less than the Subaru Legacy.

The A-Class is 11.5 inches shorter than the Legacy, making the A-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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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 Legacy doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The A-Class uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Legacy uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Legacy Limited/Touring, 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’ standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Legacy doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A-Class and the Legacy 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 Legacy 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 Legacy’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the A-Class the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Legacy can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The A-Class’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.

The A-Class has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.

Both the A-Class and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A-Class has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The A-Class is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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