2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2020 Toyota Corolla

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 Corolla 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 Corolla has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

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

To help make backing safer, the A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Corolla doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Corolla 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

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 Corolla 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 Corolla’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 Corolla’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

Engine

The A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 45 more horsepower (184 vs. 139) and 95 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 126) than the Corolla’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. The A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (184 vs. 169) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 151) than the Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The A3 Sedan 45 TSFI Quattro’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 59 more horsepower (228 vs. 169) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 151) than the Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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 Corolla doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Corolla (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Audi A3 Sedan as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Toyota Corolla is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

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 more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Corolla doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A3 40 TFSI

A3 Quattro 45 TFSI

Corolla

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

12.2 inches

10.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the Corolla (225/45R17 vs. 195/65R15). The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Corolla (235/35R19 vs. 225/40R18).

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 Corolla L’s standard 65 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Corolla SE/XSE’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A3 Sedan has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Corolla L. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Corolla SE/XSE.

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 6.8 inches shorter than the Corolla, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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 Corolla’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the A3 Sedan. The Corolla doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The A3 Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Corolla uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

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

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 Corolla L’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Corolla LE/SE/XLE/XLS’ 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 Corolla 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 Corolla doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A3 Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Toyota only offers heated mirrors on the Corolla LE/SE/XLE/XSE.

The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Corolla doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The A3 Sedan’s 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. The Corolla doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Sedan, 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 Corolla isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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