2020 Mercedes CLA vs. 2020 Kia Cadenza

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 2020/07/13

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 Kia Cadenza doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The 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 Cadenza doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The CLA’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CLA offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cadenza doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the CLA and the Cadenza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, collision warning systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The CLA’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Cadenza runs out after 100,000 miles.

Engine

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The CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mercedes CLA is faster than the Kia Cadenza:

CLA

Cadenza

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.3 sec

4.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the CLA 250 FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Cadenza (25 city/35 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 Cadenza 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 CLA higher (5 out of 10) than the Kia Cadenza (3). This means the CLA produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cadenza every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The 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 Cadenza doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

CLA

Cadenza

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

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 CLA can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cadenza 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 Cadenza’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 Cadenza doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the CLA’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Cadenza’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.2 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes CLA may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Kia Cadenza.

The CLA is 1 foot shorter than the Cadenza, making the CLA easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The CLA’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cadenza doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Cadenza 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 Cadenza doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The 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 Cadenza’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 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 Cadenza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the CLA offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Cadenza 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 rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cadenza has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Cadenza doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/07/13

The Mercedes CLA outsold the Kia Cadenza by almost 8 to one during 2019.

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