2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet vs. 2019 Ford Mustang

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A3 Cabriolet’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mustang doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Mustang 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.

The A3 Cabriolet 45 TSFI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mustang doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A3 Cabriolet Premium Plus/Prestige has standard Parking System Plus to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Mustang doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the A3 Cabriolet and the Mustang have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The A3 Cabriolet comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Mustang’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A3 Cabriolet’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mustang’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A3 Cabriolet’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Mustang’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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 A3 Cabriolet’s reliability 28 points higher than the Mustang.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 11 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A3 Cabriolet higher (7 out of 10) than the Ford Mustang (3 to 5). This means the A3 Cabriolet produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Mustang every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

The Audi A3 Cabriolet comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Mustang.

The A3 Cabriolet offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Mustang doesn’t offer an SMG.

All wheel drive, available in the A3 Cabriolet, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Ford Mustang is not available with all wheel drive.

Tires and Wheels

The A3 Cabriolet’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mustang’s standard 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the A3 Cabriolet’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the Mustang’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.5 feet). The A3 Cabriolet’s turning circle is 5.6 feet tighter than the Mustang GT Fastback Performance Pack 2’s (36.1 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Chassis

The A3 Cabriolet is 1 foot, 2.4 inches shorter than the Mustang, making the A3 Cabriolet easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The A3 Cabriolet is 5.4 inches narrower than the Mustang, making the A3 Cabriolet easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Cargo Capacity

The A3 Cabriolet’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Mustang Convertible doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

The A3 Cabriolet uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mustang 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 60% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

The A3 Cabriolet’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Mustang’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the A3 Cabriolet the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Mustang can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Mustang doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The A3 Cabriolet’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Mustang’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A3 Cabriolet to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mustang doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The A3 Cabriolet’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Mustang Premium.

The A3 Cabriolet Prestige has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Mustang has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Mustang.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the A3 Cabriolet has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Mustang doesn’t offer rear vents.

The A3 Cabriolet Prestige’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Mustang doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Ford Mustang isn’t available as a sedan or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Cabriolet is less expensive to operate than the Mustang because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Cabriolet than the Mustang, including $315 less for a muffler, $18 less for front brake pads, $316 less for a timing belt/chain and $383 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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