2020 Nissan Maxima vs. 2020 Mercedes A-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Maxima are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes A-Class doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Maxima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A-Class doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Maxima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The A-Class doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A-Class doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the Maxima’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Maxima and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the A-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 33 points higher than the A-Class.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The A-Class isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 112 more horsepower (300 vs. 188) and 40 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Mercedes A-Class:

Maxima

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.5 MPH

94.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/06/06

The Maxima has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (18 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The Maxima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A-Class doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Maxima’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the A-Class are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the A-Class (245/45R18 vs. 205/55R17). The Maxima’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The Maxima’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A-Class’ standard 55 series tires.

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

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A-Class doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the A-Class; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some tire options on the A-Class don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Maxima’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the A-Class (109.3 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Maxima is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the A-Class.

Chassis

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The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A-Class doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Maxima a Mid-size car, while the A-Class is rated a Compact.

The Maxima has 5.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A-Class (98.5 vs. 93).

The Maxima has 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

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The Maxima has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (14.3 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Maxima offers cargo security. The A-Class’ non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics

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The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The A-Class does not have an oil pressure gauge.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Maxima has standard extendable sun visors. The A-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A-Class doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Both the Maxima and the A-Class offer available heated front seats. The Maxima Platinum Reserve also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A-Class.

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 2020/06/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes A-Class isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A-Class isn’t in the top three.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Mercedes A-Class by almost two to one during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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