2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Volkswagen Passat

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 Passat 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 Volkswagen Passat has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Audi Pre Sense Front in the A3 Sedan as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The A3 Sedan 45 TSFI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Passat doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Passat have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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 Volkswagen Passat:

 

A3 Sedan

Passat

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

217

312

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

284

384

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

41%

Neck Stress

223 lbs.

297 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 Volkswagen Passat:

 

A3 Sedan

Passat

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

280

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

61 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

15 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

671 lbs.

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

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 Passat was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The A3 Sedan comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Audi will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Passat.

The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Passat’s (12 vs. 10 years).

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A3 Sedan has a standard 320-amp alternator. The Passat’s 140-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 10 more horsepower (184 vs. 174) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The A3 Sedan 45 TSFI’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 54 more horsepower (228 vs. 174) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

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 Volkswagen Passat (3 to 7). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Passat 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 Passat.

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

Brakes and Stopping

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Passat:

 

A3 Sedan

Passat

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the Passat (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 Passat Wolfsburg Edition’s standard 55 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Passat SE R-Line’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the Passat pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the Passat SE R-Line (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 4.4 inches shorter than the Passat, 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 Passat’s liftover is 28.2 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 Passat’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 43% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

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 Passat can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 Passat’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Passat’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 Passat 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 Passat doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The A3 Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen only offers heated mirrors on the Passat SE R-Line.

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 Passat 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 Passat SE R-Line.

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

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Volkswagen Passat 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 Passat because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the Passat, including $113 less for a muffler, $166 less for a starter, $116 less for a fuel pump and $436 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A3 Sedan and the Volkswagen Passat, 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 Passat 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