2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Volvo S60

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Volvo S60 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the A3 Sedan and the S60 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, 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.

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 S60 has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the S60’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 S60’s 210-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 25th in initial quality. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 80 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 22 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the S60 T6:

 

A3 Sedan

S60

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the S60 T5 FWD (26 city/35 hwy vs. 24 city/36 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 Volvo S60 (5 to 7). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the S60 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 S60 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the S60:

 

A3 Sedan

S60

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

114 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S60’s optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the A3 Sedan uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S60, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the S60 Polestar pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the S60’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.1 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 1050 pounds less than the Volvo S60.

The A3 Sedan is 11.9 inches shorter than the S60, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The A3 Sedan has a larger trunk than the S60 (12.3 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 29% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S60 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S60 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Volvo S60 isn’t available as a convertible or station wagon.

Recommendations

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

The Audi A3/S3 outsold the Volvo 60 Series by 54% during 2018.

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

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