2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Dodge Charger

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Dodge Charger doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Charger doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Charger 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 A4 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Charger only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the A4 and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 A4 is safer than the Dodge Charger:

 

A4

Charger

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

26%

26%

Leg Forces (l/r)

431/395 lbs.

582/440 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

25%

33%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

155 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

324/341 lbs.

267/469 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Charger:

 

A4

Charger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

171

222

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.3/.4 kN

3.7/3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.42/.52

1.21/.58

Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

3/4.7 kN

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 A4 is safer than the Dodge Charger:

 

A4

Charger

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.4 inches

Hip Force

308 lbs.

372 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

15 inches

Spine Acceleration

47 G’s

48 G’s

Hip Force

666 lbs.

692 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 A4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Charger was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

The A4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Charger’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Charger’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Charger’s 3.6 DOHC V6 engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the A4 have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Charger.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 14 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the Charger:

 

 

A4

Charger

 

2WD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

19 city/30 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

16 city/25 hwy

5.7 V8/Auto

 

 

n/a

15 city/25 hwy

6.4 V8/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

18 city/27 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A4’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 Charger doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Charger R/T Scat Pack/Daytona 392 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The A4 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 Charger doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The A4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Charger SXT are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops shorter than the Charger:

 

A4

Charger

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

106 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the Charger (225/50R17 vs. 215/65R17).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Charger SXT’s standard 65 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Charger’s optional 40 series tires.

Chassis

The Audi A4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 750 pounds less than the Dodge Charger.

The A4 is 1 foot shorter than the Charger SXT, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi A4 amounts to more than styling. The A4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Charger (.304 to .335) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The A4 has .3 inches more front headroom and .8 inches more rear headroom than the Charger.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A4 easier. The A4’s trunk lift-over height is 26.9 inches, while the Charger’s liftover is 30.1 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The Charger’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A4 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Charger doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 90% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 30th.

Ergonomics

The A4 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Charger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A4’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 Charger’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The A4’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 Charger’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 A4’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Charger’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 A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Charger doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the A4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Charger doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The A4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Dodge charges extra for heated mirrors on the Charger.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A4 will cost $1135 less than the Charger over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Charger because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the Charger, including $416 less for a muffler, $45 less for front brake pads and $59 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A4 first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Charger isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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