2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Mercedes CLA

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The CLA doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CLA doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Corolla and the CLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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 blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CLA.

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

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The CLA was rated third in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

FWD

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

CLA

FWD

Auto

250 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/37 hwy

AWD

Auto

250 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Corolla uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CLA requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Corolla offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and sportiness. The CLA doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Corolla 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 CLA doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

The Corolla offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the CLA; 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.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the CLA’s (34.1 feet vs. 36 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Corolla may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Mercedes CLA.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Corolla a Compact car, while the CLA is rated a Subcompact.

The Corolla has 10.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLA (88.6 vs. 78).

The Corolla has .1 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 7.7 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the CLA.

The front step up height for the Corolla is 2 inches lower than the CLA (13” vs. 15”). The Corolla’s rear step up height is 3 inches lower than the CLA’s (13” vs. 16”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the CLA’s liftover is 26.8 inches.

Ergonomics

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

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Corolla XLE/XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The CLA doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Mercedes CLA isn’t available as a four-door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Mercedes CLA by over 13 to one during 2018.

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

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