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The Jetta 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 AMG CLA 45 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.
To help make backing safer, the Jetta’s optional 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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Jetta and the AMG CLA 45 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Jetta the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 168 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The AMG CLA 45 has not been tested, yet.
The Jetta’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (7 vs. 5 years).
Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Jetta 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 AMG CLA 45.
There are over 71 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Jetta’s warranty.
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.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 1 place higher in reliability than Mercedes.
On the EPA test cycle the Jetta Auto gets better fuel mileage than the AMG CLA 45 Auto (30 city/40 hwy vs. 23 city/30 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Jetta uses regular unleaded gasoline. The AMG CLA 45 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta higher (7 out of 10) than the Mercedes AMG CLA 45 (3). This means the Jetta produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the AMG CLA 45 every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is optional on the Volkswagen Jetta, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the AMG CLA 45.
The Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium 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 AMG CLA 45; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
The Volkswagen Jetta may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 550 pounds less than the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.
The design of the Volkswagen Jetta amounts to more than styling. The Jetta has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the AMG CLA 45 (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Jetta get better fuel mileage.
The front grille of the Jetta uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Jetta has .3 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, 10.3 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the AMG CLA 45.
The Jetta has a larger trunk than the AMG CLA 45 (14.1 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).
The Jetta’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 AMG CLA 45’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Jetta (except S) to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Jetta SEL/SEL Premium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer cornering lights.
Both the Jetta and the AMG CLA 45 offer available heated front seats. The Jetta also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the AMG CLA 45.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta SEL Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Jetta’s optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Insurance will cost less for the Jetta owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Jetta will cost $10835 to $12325 less than the AMG CLA 45 over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Jetta is less expensive to operate than the AMG CLA 45 because it costs $355 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Jetta than the AMG CLA 45, including $307 less for a starter, $199 less for fuel injection, $142 less for a fuel pump and $271 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Jetta will be $32685 to $40646 less than for the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Jetta, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Jetta second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The AMG CLA 45 isn’t in the top three.
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