2019 Honda Civic Si vs. 2018 Audi S3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Si deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Si’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The S3 Sedan’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigation Braking System optional in the Civic Si as “Superior.” The S3 Sedan scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Civic Si has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S3 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 Civic Si and the S3 Sedan 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si is safer than the Audi S3 Sedan:

 

Civic Si

S3

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

Warranty

Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Civic Si 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the S3 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 S3 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Honda dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Si’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Civic Si uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The S3 Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Civic Si has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic Si stops shorter than the S3 Sedan:

 

Civic Si

S3 Sedan

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Civic Si has larger tires than the S3 Sedan (235/40R18 vs. 225/40R18).

Suspension and Handling

The Civic Si’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic Si’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the S3 Sedan (106.3 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Si is 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the S3 Sedan.

The Civic Si Sedan handles at .97 G’s, while the S3 Sedan pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

The Honda Civic Si may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 pounds less than the Audi S3 Sedan.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Si Sedan a Compact car, while the S3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Civic Si Sedan has 9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S3 Sedan (95 vs. 86).

The Civic Si Sedan has 1 inch more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the S3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Civic Si Sedan has a much larger trunk than the S3 Sedan (14.7 vs. 10 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Civic Si has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The S3 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

Smart Entry standard on the Civic Si 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 S3 Sedan’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

Model Availability

The Honda Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Audi S3 isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Civic Si owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Civic Si will cost $3180 to $5850 less than the S3 Sedan over a five-year period.

The Civic Si will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic Si will retain 52.64% to 54.77% of its original price after five years, while the S3 Sedan only retains 47.69% to 49.11%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Si will be $23705 to $27742 less than for the Audi S3 Sedan.

Recommendations

The Civic Si was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The S3 Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The S3 Sedan has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The S3 Sedan has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Audi A3/S3 by over 17 to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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