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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes 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 Subaru Legacy doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The CLA 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.
The 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 Legacy doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the CLA and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The CLA 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.
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.
The CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 46 more horsepower (221 vs. 175) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 174) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the CLA 250 4MATIC Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy 3.6R Limited Auto 6 cyl. (23 city/33 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
For better stopping power the CLA’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Legacy:
Legacy 3.6R Limited
The CLA’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Legacy 2.5i/2.5i Premium’s standard 55 series tires. The CLA’s tires are lower profile than the Legacy Sport/Limited’s 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CLA has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Legacy 2.5i/2.5i Premium. The CLA’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Legacy Sport/Limited.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the CLA 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.
The CLA 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 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 Legacy doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CLA is 1.3 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than on the Legacy.
For better maneuverability, the CLA’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Legacy’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.8 feet).
The CLA is 4.5 inches shorter than the Legacy, making the CLA easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the CLA to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Legacy.
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.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Legacy Limited, the 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 CLA offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction 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 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 Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The CLA’s 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.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the CLA keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Legacy doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the CLA’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The CLA 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.
Both the CLA and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CLA has standard rear air-conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy Base doesn’t offer rear air-conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes CLA offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Legacy doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The CLA’s 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.
The CLA 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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