2019 Audi S3 Sedan vs. 2019 Honda Civic Si

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S3 Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Civic Si doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S3 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 Honda Civic Si has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The S3 Sedan has standard Audi Pre Sense Front, 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 Civic Si doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The S3 Sedan has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Civic Si 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 S3 Sedan has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Civic Si doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The S3 Sedan Prestige’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the S3 Sedan’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 Civic Si doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the S3 Sedan and the Civic Si have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Audi S3 Sedan weighs 588 to 605 pounds more than the Honda Civic Si. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi S3 Sedan is safer than the Honda Civic Si:

S3 Sedan

Civic Si

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

34%

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

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 S3 Sedan is safer than the Honda Civic Si:

S3 Sedan

Civic Si

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

204

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

252 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

404

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

68 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

666 lbs.

727 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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 113 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Civic Si was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The S3 Sedan comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Civic Si’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Civic Si’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi S3 Sedan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Civic Si’s engine uses 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’ 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 8 places higher in reliability than Honda.

Engine

The S3 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 83 more horsepower (288 vs. 205) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 192) than the Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The S3 Sedan has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Civic Si (14.5 vs. 12.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The S3 Sedan has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Civic Si doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The S3 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 Civic Si doesn’t offer an SMG.

The S3 Sedan’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 Civic Si doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S3 Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Civic Si:

S3

Civic Si

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.1 inches

The S3 Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Civic Si are solid, not vented.

The S3 Sedan stops shorter than the Civic Si:

S3

Civic Si

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

161 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The S3 Sedan has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Civic Si; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the S3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Civic Si’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.8 feet).

Chassis

The S3 Sedan is 7 inches shorter than the Civic Si Sedan, making the S3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the S3 Sedan’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Civic Si’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the S3 Sedan. The Civic Si doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The S3 Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Civic Si 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 Honda. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 62% lower rating, Honda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the S3 Sedan and the Civic Si have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S3 Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Civic Si prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The S3 Sedan’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 Civic Si’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The S3 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 Civic Si’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S3 Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Civic Si 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 S3 Sedan’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Civic Si’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S3 Sedan Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Civic Si doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The S3 Sedan Prestige has standard 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 Civic Si offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the S3 Sedan and the Civic Si offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S3 Sedan has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Civic Si Sedan doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S3 Sedan Prestige has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Civic Si doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The S3 Sedan’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Civic Si’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

The S3 Sedan Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Civic Si doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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