2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Ford Taurus

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 Ford Taurus 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 Taurus doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has a standard Audi Backguard System that uses a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Taurus doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The A4 has standard Audi Pre Sense City, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Taurus offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Taurus 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 Audi A4 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Taurus doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

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 Taurus only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A4 and the Taurus 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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 Taurus:

 

A4

Taurus

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

4 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.42/.52

1.19/.41

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 Ford Taurus:

 

A4

Taurus

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.2 inches

Hip Force

308 lbs.

337 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

284

Hip Force

777 lbs.

910 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

18 inches

HIC

333

376

Spine Acceleration

47 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

666 lbs.

743 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 Taurus 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 Taurus’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Taurus’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 11 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 254) than the Taurus’ standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Taurus SHO:

 

A4

Taurus

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.4 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

A4

Taurus

 

FWD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

18 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

16 city/24 hwy

3.5 turbo V6/Auto SHO

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

Transmission

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Taurus.

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

The A4 Auto’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Taurus doesn’t offer launch control.

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 Taurus are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the Taurus:

 

A4

Taurus

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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 Taurus SE’s standard 60 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Taurus Limited’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Taurus’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Taurus’ (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Taurus SEL pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Taurus SEL (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A4’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Taurus SHO’s (38.1 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The A4’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Taurus’ (38.1 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 700 pounds less than the Ford Taurus.

The A4 is 1 foot, 4.8 inches shorter than the Taurus, 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 Taurus (.32 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A4 Prestige Quattro is quieter than the Taurus SHO:

 

A4

Taurus

At idle

42 dB

47 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

70 dB

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The Taurus’ 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 Taurus doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Taurus. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 60% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

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 Taurus 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 Taurus’ passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the A4 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Taurus can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A4 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Taurus doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Taurus doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 Taurus’ 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 Taurus 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 Taurus doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The A4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Taurus SEL/Limited/SHO.

The A4 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 Taurus SEL/Limited/SHO.

Economic Advantages

The A4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A4 will retain 46.36% to 48.7% of its original price after five years, while the Taurus only retains 38.46% to 44.28%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Taurus because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the Taurus, including $96 less for a muffler, $291 less for a timing belt/chain and $159 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 Taurus isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Ford Taurus by 1790 units during the 2018 model year.

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

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