2020 Mercedes AMG CLA vs. 2020 Dodge Charger SRT

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes AMG CLA 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 Dodge Charger SRT doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

The AMG CLA has standard Active Brake Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Charger SRT doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The AMG CLA has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The AMG CLA’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The AMG CLA offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Charger SRT only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The AMG CLA’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the AMG CLA and the Charger SRT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The AMG CLA comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Charger SRT’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the AMG CLA have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Charger SRT.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the AMG CLA 35 gets better fuel mileage than the Charger SRT (23 city/29 hwy vs. 12 city/21 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the AMG CLA’s 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 Charger SRT doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes AMG CLA higher (5 out of 10) than the Dodge Charger SRT (1). This means the AMG CLA produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Charger SRT every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The AMG CLA offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the AMG CLA can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The AMG CLA’s 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 Charger SRT doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

Chassis

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The Mercedes AMG CLA may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1050 to 1100 pounds less than the Dodge Charger SRT.

The AMG CLA is 1 foot, 4 inches shorter than the Charger SRT, making the AMG CLA 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, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the AMG CLA’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Charger SRT 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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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 66% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Charger SRT, the AMG CLA 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 AMG CLA 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 Charger SRT doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The AMG CLA’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Charger SRT’s parking brake has to released manually.

The AMG CLA’s 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 Charger SRT’s 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 AMG CLA the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Charger SRT can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The AMG CLA’s 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 Charger SRT’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the AMG CLA detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the AMG CLA offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer cornering lights. The AMG CLA also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The AMG CLA offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Charger SRT.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the AMG CLA offers an optional Active Distance Assist Distronic, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes AMG CLA offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The AMG CLA’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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