2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata

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 Hyundai Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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

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 Sonata 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.

Compared to metal, the A4’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Hyundai Sonata has a metal gas tank.

Both the A4 and the Sonata 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, 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 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 Hyundai Sonata:

 

A4

Sonata

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

308 lbs.

408 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

354

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

74 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

785 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

666 lbs.

773 lbs.

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

Warranty

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

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 3 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.

Engine

The A4 has more powerful engines than the Sonata:

 

Horsepower

Torque

A4 40 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

188 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

A4 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Sonata Eco 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

178 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

Sonata 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Sonata Limited 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi A4 is faster than the Hyundai Sonata:

 

A4 40 TFSI

A4 45 TFSI

Sonata Eco

Sonata 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

5 sec

7.8 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

13.7 sec

16.1 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

100.4 MPH

89.4 MPH

86.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata Limited 2.0T (27 city/34 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).

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

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 Sonata doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Sonata:

 

A4

A4 Quattro

Sonata

Sonata

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

12 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

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

The A4 stops much shorter than the Sonata:

 

A4

Sonata

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

155 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the Sonata (225/50R17 vs. 205/65R16). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata (245/40R18 vs. 235/45R18).

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 Sonata SE/Eco’s standard 65 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Sonata 2.0T’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A4 has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Sonata SE/Eco. The A4’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Sonata 2.0T.

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 Sonata’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Sonata Eco pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the Sonata Eco (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 5 inches shorter than the Sonata, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Sonata’s liftover is 28.6 inches.

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 Sonata doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Sonata. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 57% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.

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 Sonata 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 Sonata’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows 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 Sonata can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Sonata’s 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 Sonata 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 A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Sonata doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A4 offers optional 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 Sonata offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The A4 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited. The A4 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sonata.

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 Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited.

Both the A4 and the Sonata offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A4 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Sonata doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Sonata because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the Sonata, including $220 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 Sonata isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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