2021 Toyota Corolla 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 Toyota Corolla 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.

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 A-Class 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 A-Class 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 Corolla (except L/Manual)’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 A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Corolla and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver 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 blind spot warning systems.

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 available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Corolla the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Corolla 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.

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 A-Class.

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

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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 Corolla’s reliability 54 points higher than the A-Class.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 19th in initial quality. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 30th.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 21st.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Corolla SE/XSE SE CVT 2.0 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the A 220 FWD Auto (31 city/40 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Corolla uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Corolla SE/XSE for maximum performance). The A-Class requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Toyota Corolla at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mercedes A-Class is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

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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 A-Class doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Corolla stops shorter than the A-Class:

Corolla

A-Class

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Corolla 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 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.

Chassis

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The Toyota Corolla may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 400 pounds less than the Mercedes A-Class.

Passenger Space

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The Corolla has .2 inches more front legroom and .9 inches more rear legroom than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

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The Corolla has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (13.1 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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Consumer Reports rated the Corolla’s headlight performance “Fair,” a higher rating than the A-Class’ headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

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 A-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Model Availability

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The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Mercedes A-Class isn’t available as a four-door hatchback.

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 2020/08/10

Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes A-Class isn't recommended.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Mercedes A-Class by over seventeen to one during 2019.

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

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