2019 Chevrolet Cruze vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Cruze are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Cruze has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Cruze and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors 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 Chevrolet Cruze is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

 

Cruze

A3 Sedan

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

165

217

Neck Injury Risk

31%

45%

Neck Stress

259 lbs.

427 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

143 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

216/293 lbs.

461/426 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.5 inches

Neck Stress

145 lbs.

223 lbs.

Neck Compression

36 lbs.

139 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

221/277 lbs.

329/424 lbs.

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 Chevrolet Cruze is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

 

Cruze

A3 Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

214 G’s

219 G’s

Hip Force

273 lbs.

308 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

331

333

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

478 lbs.

666 lbs.

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

Warranty

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Cruze 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A3 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 10 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Cruze’s warranty.

Reliability

The Cruze has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

The battery on the Cruze is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Cruze’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The A3 Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Cruze’s reliability 11 points higher than the A3 Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cruze second among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A3 Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Engine

The Cruze’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 221) than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Cruze Diesel Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI (31 city/48 hwy vs. 26 city/35 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Cruze Sedan turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI (30 city/38 hwy vs. 26 city/35 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Cruze’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 A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Cruze uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A3 Sedan 45 TSFI requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Cruze, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.

Brakes and Stopping

The Cruze stops shorter than the A3 Sedan:

 

Cruze

A3 Sedan

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cruze’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (106.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Cruze is 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Sedan.

Chassis

The Chevrolet Cruze may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 pounds less than the Audi A3 Sedan.

The design of the Chevrolet Cruze amounts to more than styling. The Cruze has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the A3 Sedan (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Cruze get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Cruze LT Hatchback is quieter than the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro:

 

Cruze

A3 Sedan

At idle

34 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Cruze a Compact car, while the A3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Cruze has 8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (94 vs. 86).

The Cruze Sedan has 2.4 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Cruze Sedan has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (14.8 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Cruze has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The A3 Sedan doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Cruze offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Keyless Access optional on the Cruze (except L/LS) allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi A3 Sedan’s available Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

On extremely cold winter days, the Cruze’s optional (except L/LS/LT) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Cruze owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Cruze will cost $195 to $3915 less than the A3 Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cruze is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $414 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Cruze than the A3 Sedan, including $15 less for front brake pads, $103 less for a starter, $76 less for fuel injection, $284 less for front struts, $30 less for a timing belt/chain and $443 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Cruze will be $13097 to $13418 less than for the Audi A3 Sedan.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Chevrolet Cruze and the Audi A3 Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chevrolet Cruze outsold the Audi A3/S3 by almost 8 to one during 2018.

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

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