2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2018 Mazda 6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A3 Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A3 Sedan 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 Mazda 6 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The A3 Sedan 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 Mazda 6 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 Sedan 45 TSFI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Compared to metal, the A3 Sedan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda 6 has a metal gas tank.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Mazda 6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the Mazda 6:

 

A3 Sedan

Mazda 6

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

34%

53%

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the Mazda 6:

 

A3 Sedan

Mazda 6

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

256 G’s

Hip Force

308 lbs.

437 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

356

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

64 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

671 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The A3 Sedan comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 6’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mazda 6’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Mazda 6’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A3 Sedan has a standard 320-amp alternator. The Mazda 6’s standard 100-amp alternator and largest (Turbo) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

Engine

The A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 186) than the Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Mazda6 2.5 Turbo (automatics tested):

 

A3 Sedan

6

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

16 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

97 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature turbo 4 cyl. (26 city/35 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

Transmission

The Audi A3 Sedan comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Mazda 6.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A3 Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 6.

The A3 Sedan 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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A3 Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 6:

 

A3 Sedan

6

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11.7 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Mazda 6:

 

A3 Sedan

Mazda 6

 

80 to 0 MPH

219 feet

221 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 6 (235/35R19 vs. 225/55R17).

The A3 Sedan’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 Mazda 6 Sport’s standard 55 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the Mazda 6 Signature pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Mazda 6 Touring (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Mazda 6’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 5.2 inches shorter than the Mazda 6, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro is quieter than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring:

 

A3 Sedan

6

At idle

41 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A3 Sedan easier. The A3 Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.3 inches, while the Mazda 6’s liftover is 28.5 inches.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the A3 Sedan. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The A3 Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mazda 6 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 Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 85% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the A3 Sedan and the Mazda 6 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A3 Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mazda 6 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the A3 Sedan 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 Mazda 6 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A3 Sedan’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 Mazda 6 Sport’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A3 Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A3 Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A3 Sedan has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Mazda 6 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The A3 Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Mazda 6 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A3 Sedan has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The A3 Sedan 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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Mazda 6 isn’t available as a convertible or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 6 because typical repairs cost less on the A3 Sedan than the Mazda 6, including $181 less for fuel injection, $164 less for a fuel pump and $41 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A3 Sedan and the Mazda 6, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A3 Sedan first among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Mazda 6 isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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