2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2018 Volvo S60 Cross Country

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 S60 Cross Country 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 Volvo S60 Cross Country 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 S60 Cross Country 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.

Both the A3 Sedan and the S60 Cross Country have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S60 Cross Country has not been fully tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the S60 Cross Country’s engine uses 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 S60 Cross Country’s 210-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 25th in initial quality. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 80 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 22 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A3 Sedan higher (7 out of 10) than the Volvo S60 Cross Country (3). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the S60 Cross Country every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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 S60 Cross Country doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A3 Sedan Quattro 45 TFSI’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the S60 Cross Country:

 

A3 Sedan Quattro 45 TFSI

S60 Cross Country

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.9 inches

Tires and Wheels

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 S60 Cross Country’s standard 50 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the S60 Cross Country’s optional 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the S60 Cross Country’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.8 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 650 pounds less than the Volvo S60 Cross Country.

The A3 Sedan is 7.1 inches shorter than the S60 Cross Country, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The A3 Sedan has a larger trunk than the S60 Cross Country (12.3 vs. 12 cubic feet).

The S60 Cross Country’s spare tire is stored in the cargo area, where it diminishes the useable cargo capacity and interferes with loading and unloading. The A3 Sedan’s spare is out of the way under the trunk floor.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 29% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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 S60 Cross Country can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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. Heated windshield washer nozzles cost extra on the S60 Cross Country.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A3 Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The S60 Cross Country doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S60 Cross Country doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S60 Cross Country doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 S60 Cross Country doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Volvo S60 Cross Country isn’t available as a convertible or station wagon.

The A3 Sedan is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S60 Cross Country doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the S60 Cross Country because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the S60 Cross Country, including $67 less for a muffler, $38 less for front brake pads, $31 less for fuel injection and $470 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Sedan, 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 S60 Cross Country isn’t in the top three.

The Audi A3/S3 outsold the Volvo 60 Series by 54% during 2018.

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

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