2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Buick Regal Sportback

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, 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 Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Regal Sportback’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 12 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Regal Sportback GS:

 

A3

Regal

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

A3 Sedan

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Regal Sportback

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/27 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 Buick Regal Sportback (5). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Regal Sportback:

 

A3

Regal

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

164 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

119 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 Regal Sportback’s standard 55 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Regal Sportback Avenir/GS’ 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 Regal Sportback’s (61.6% to 38.4%). This gives the A3 Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Regal Sportback GS pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Regal Sportback GS (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (36.1 feet vs. 39 feet). The A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 4.9 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (36.1 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 900 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 5.4 inches shorter than the Regal Sportback, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro is quieter than the Regal Sportback Essence (73 vs. 75 dB).

Cargo Capacity

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

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 21% lower rating, Buick is ranked 9th.

Ergonomics

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

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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback’s 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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the A3 Sedan Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The A3 Sedan 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 Regal Sportback.

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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 Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

The A3 Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A3 Sedan will retain 47% to 47.42% of its original price after five years, while the Regal Sportback only retains 41.25% to 43.07%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the Regal Sportback, including $233 less for a water pump, $508 less for a muffler, $115 less for front brake pads, $63 less for a starter, $37 less for a fuel pump and $6 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A3/S3 outsold the Buick Regal by 30% during 2018.

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

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