2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Acura TLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Acura TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the TLX:

 

A3 Sedan

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

103

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.4/0 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.62/.66

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

3.8/1.1 kN

4.4/5 kN

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 Acura TLX:

 

A3 Sedan

TLX

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

187

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

57 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

678 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The TLX was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

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

There are over 11 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the A3 Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the A3 Sedan’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the TLX 3.5 SOHC V6’s camshafts. If the TLX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 6 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 182) than the TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Acura TLX V6:

 

A3 Sedan

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.6 MPH

98.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the TLX:

 

 

 

MPG

A3

 

FWD

40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

Quattro

45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

TLX

 

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

 

 

A-Spec 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

 

 

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/31 hwy

 

 

A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

 

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

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 Acura TLX (3). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the TLX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the TLX:

 

A3 Sedan

TLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

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 TLX’s standard 55 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the TLX A-Spec’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (58.1% to 41.9%) than the TLX’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the A3 Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the TLX (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .74 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (36.1 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 500 pounds less than the Acura TLX.

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 3.2 inches shorter than the TLX, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro is quieter than the TLX (41 vs. 42 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 TLX’s liftover is 27.5 inches.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 26% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the A3 Sedan and the TLX 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 TLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 TLX’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 Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The TLX 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 TLX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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 TLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A3 Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the A3 Sedan with a number “5” insurance rate while the TLX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the TLX because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the TLX, including $107 less for a muffler, $246 less for a starter, $270 less for fuel injection, $124 less for a fuel pump and $394 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2015 issue and they ranked the Audi A3 Sedan Premium Quattro higher than the Acura TLX.

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 TLX isn’t in the top three.

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

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