2020 Volkswagen Arteon vs. 2019 Mercedes CLA

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 2020/04/01

The Arteon has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Arteon offers optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CLA doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Arteon offers an optional Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CLA only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the Arteon’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 CLA doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Arteon and the CLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Arteon the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 185 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CLA has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Arteon’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the CLA’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Arteon for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CLA.

There are over 67 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Arteon’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen Arteon’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CLA’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

Engine

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The Arteon’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 60 more horsepower (268 vs. 208) than the CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen Arteon is faster than the Mercedes CLA:

Arteon

CLA

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

6.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.4 sec

16.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

95 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 2020/04/01

The Arteon has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the CLA (17.4 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volkswagen Arteon, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the CLA.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Arteon

CLA

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.6 inches

The Arteon stops shorter than the CLA:

Arteon

CLA

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/04/01

For better traction, the Arteon has larger tires than the CLA (245/45R18 vs. 225/45R17).

The Arteon’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CLA’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Arteon has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the CLA. The Arteon’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the CLA.

The Arteon has a standard 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

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Arteon’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the CLA (111.9 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Arteon is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the CLA.

Passenger Space

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

The Arteon has 18.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLA (96.2 vs. 78).

The Arteon has 1 inch more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 13.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the CLA.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Arteon SEL Premium has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The CLA doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Towing

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The Arteon has a 4850 lbs. towing capacity. The CLA has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Arteon uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CLA uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The Arteon’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The CLA’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Consumer Reports rated the Arteon’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the CLA’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Arteon 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 Arteon R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium has standard 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 Arteon has standard extendable sun visors. The CLA doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Arteon has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the CLA. The Arteon SEL Premium also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the CLA.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Arteon SEL Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The CLA doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Arteon SEL Premium’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The CLA doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Arteon SEL Premium has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the CLA.

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 2020/04/01

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Arteon, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes CLA isn't recommended.

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