2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Kia Optima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

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 Optima 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 Kia Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Optima 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.

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 Kia Optima:

 

A3 Sedan

Optima

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

34%

50%

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 Kia Optima:

 

A3 Sedan

Optima

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

319

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

933 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

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

Warranty

The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Optima’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Optima’s engines use 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 Optima’s standard 150-amp alternator and largest (EX) 130-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

The A3 Sedan has more powerful engines than the Optima:

 

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.

Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

178 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

Optima 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

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

 

A3 Sedan

Optima

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.6 MPH

90.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

A3 Sedan

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Optima

 

FWD

LX 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

 

 

S 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/33 hwy

 

 

SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A3 Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Optima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A3 40 TFSI

A3 Quattro 45 TFSI

Optima

Optima S/SX

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

12 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

12.2 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Optima:

 

A3 Sedan

Optima

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the Optima (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 Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Optima S/SX’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 Optima LX. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Optima S/SX.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (58.1% to 41.9%) than the Optima’s (59.2% to 40.8%). This gives the A3 Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Optima pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the Optima (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 3.6 inches shorter than the Optima, 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 Optima’s liftover is 28.7 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 Optima’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the A3 Sedan. The Optima 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 Kia. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.

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 Optima’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Optima S/EX/SX’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 Optima 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 Optima’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 Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima 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 costs extra on the Optima.

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

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Kia Optima 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 Optima only retains 36.86% to 42.42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Optima because typical repairs cost less on the A3 Sedan than the Optima, including $90 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A3 Sedan and the Kia Optima, 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 Optima isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos