2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata

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 Sonata 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 Hyundai Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A3 Sedan offers optional Parking System Plus to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Sonata doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

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 Hyundai Sonata has a metal gas tank.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Sonata 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, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

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 Hyundai Sonata:

 

A3 Sedan

Sonata

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

308 lbs.

408 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

354

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

74 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

785 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

666 lbs.

773 lbs.

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

Warranty

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

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Sonata’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 Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 3 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.

Engine

The A3 Sedan has more powerful engines than the Sonata:

 

Horsepower

Torque

A3 Sedan 40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

184 HP

221 lbs.-ft.

A3 Sedan 45 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Sonata Eco 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

178 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

Sonata 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Hyundai Sonata 2.4 4 cyl.:

 

A3 Sedan

Sonata

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.6 MPH

86.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata Limited 2.0T (26 city/35 hwy vs. 23 city/32 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 Hyundai Sonata (5 to 7). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Sonata every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A3 Sedan

Sonata

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

12 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Sonata:

 

A3 Sedan

Sonata

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the Sonata (225/45R17 vs. 205/65R16).

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 Sonata SE/Eco’s standard 65 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Sonata 2.0T’s 45 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 Sonata SE/Eco. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Sonata 2.0T.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Sonata Eco pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the Sonata Eco (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 3.6 inches shorter than the Sonata, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Sonata’s liftover is 28.6 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the A3 Sedan’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Sonata’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 57% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.

Ergonomics

The A3 Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sonata’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

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 Sonata 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 Sonata’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 Sonata 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 Sonata doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A3 Sedan Prestige has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sonata offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 is only available on the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Hyundai Sonata 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 Sonata because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the Sonata, including $43 less for a muffler and $203 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A3 Sedan and the Hyundai Sonata, 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 Hyundai Sonata Eco.

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

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

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