2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Ford Fusion

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 Fusion 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 Ford Fusion 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 Fusion 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 Fusion 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, 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.

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 Ford Fusion:

 

A3 Sedan

Fusion

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

284

400

Neck Injury Risk

34%

65%

Neck Stress

223 lbs.

230 lbs.

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 Ford Fusion:

 

A3 Sedan

Fusion

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

269 G’s

Hip Force

308 lbs.

338 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

327

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

805 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

721 lbs.

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

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 Fusion was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

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 Fusion’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 Fusion’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Fusion’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl., 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. and 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 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.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Ford Fusion 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

A3 Sedan

Fusion

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.6 MPH

91.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

A3 Sedan

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Fusion

 

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

 

 

2.7 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the A3 Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Ford only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Fusion 1.5 ECOBoost.

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 Ford Fusion (5 to 7). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Fusion every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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 Fusion.

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 Fusion doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A3 Sedan 40 TFSI

A3 Sedan Quattro 45 TFSI

Fusion

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

12.2 inches

11.9 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Fusion:

 

A3 Sedan

Fusion

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the Fusion (225/45R17 vs. 215/60R16).

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 Fusion S’ standard 60 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Fusion Titanium/Sport’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A3 Sedan has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Fusion S.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the Fusion Sport AWD pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the Fusion SE (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Fusion’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 450 pounds less than the Ford Fusion.

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 4.3 inches shorter than the Fusion, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Servicing Ease

The A3 Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Fusion 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

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 Fusion doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A3 Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Fusion’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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 Fusion doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A3 Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Fusion SEL/Titanium/Sport.

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 Fusion.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Fusion 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 Fusion doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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 Fusion only retains 41.66% to 42.58%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Fusion because typical repairs cost less on the A3 Sedan than the Fusion, including $68 less for front brake pads and $130 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Fusion isn't recommended.

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 Fusion isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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