2020 Mercedes CLA vs. 2020 Acura TLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/20

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 Acura TLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 TLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the CLA and the TLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 41 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the CLA’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the CLA’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the TLX’s camshafts. If the TLX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

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The CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (221 vs. 206) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 182) than the TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the CLA gets better fuel mileage than the TLX:

MPG

CLA

FWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

TLX

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/31 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes CLA higher (5 out of 10) than the Acura TLX (3). This means the CLA produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the TLX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the CLA’s brake rotors are larger than those on the TLX:

CLA

TLX

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

12.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

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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 TLX’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CLA has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the TLX.

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 TLX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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 TLX’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 TLX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the CLA’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The CLA’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (36.1 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

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The CLA is 6.1 inches shorter than the TLX, making the CLA easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 4% lower rating, Acura is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the TLX, 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 TLX 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 TLX’s standard 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 CLA offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The TLX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The CLA also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

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 TLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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