2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Toyota Avalon

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 Avalon 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 Toyota Avalon 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 Avalon 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 Avalon doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Avalon 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.

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 Avalon has not been tested, yet.

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 Avalon’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 Avalon’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Toyota Avalon V6:

 

A3 Sedan

Avalon

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

15.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

98 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Avalon (26 city/35 hwy vs. 22 city/31 hwy). The A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Avalon XLE (26 city/35 hwy vs. 22 city/32 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A3 Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on A3 Sedan 45 TSFI for maximum performance). The Avalon requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 Toyota Avalon (5). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Avalon 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 Avalon 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 Avalon:

 

A3 Sedan

Avalon

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

12 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Avalon:

 

A3 Sedan

Avalon

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the Avalon (225/45R17 vs. 215/55R17).

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 Avalon XLE’s standard 55 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Avalon XSE/Touring’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Avalon Touring pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Avalon Touring (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Avalon XLE’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Avalon Limited/Touring’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 pounds less than the Toyota Avalon.

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 8.4 inches shorter than the Avalon, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 44% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

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 Avalon 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 Avalon XLE/Touring’s standard 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 Avalon 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 Avalon 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 Avalon doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

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

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

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