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Compare the2023 Nissan MaximaVS 2022 Mercedes CLA

2023 Nissan Maxima
2022 Mercedes CLA

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 CLA 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 CLA doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 CLA doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Maxima’s standard lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. A lane departure warning system costs extra on the CLA.

Both the Maxima 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, 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 Safety Pick Plus” for 2022, a rating granted to only 101 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CLA 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 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.

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 29 points higher than the CLA.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2022 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 above average in initial quality. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is rated below average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ January 2021 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 7 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 79 more horsepower (300 vs. 221) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 258) than the CLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Mercedes CLA:

Maxima

CLA

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.5 MPH

95.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Maxima has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the CLA (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 CLA 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 CLA are solid, not vented.

The Maxima stops shorter than the CLA:

Maxima

CLA

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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

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 CLA 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 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. Some tire options on the CLA 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 CLA (109.3 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

Chassis

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The Maxima SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The CLA 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 CLA is rated a Compact.

The Maxima has 9.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLA (98.5 vs. 89).

The Maxima has .9 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the CLA.

Cargo Capacity

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The Maxima has a much larger trunk than the CLA (14.3 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Maxima offers cargo security. The CLA’s 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 CLA 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 CLA 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 CLA doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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

Economic Advantages

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The Maxima will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Maxima will retain 43.69% to 43.8% of its original price after five years, while the CLA only retains 41.76% to 41.79%.

Recommendations

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

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Mercedes CLA by 29% during the 2022 model year.

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