2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 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 A3 Sportback e-tron 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and the A3 Sportback e-tron 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid weighs 436 to 443 pounds more than the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sportback e-tron. 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 Sportback e-tron 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

The camshafts in the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The A3 Sportback e-tron’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the A3 Sportback e-tron’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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.

Engine

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 8 more horsepower (212 vs. 204) than the A3 Sportback e-tron’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sportback e-tron:

 

 

Clarity

A3

 

 

Running on electricity

117 city/102 hwy

81 city/86 hwy

 

 

Running its gasoline engine

44 city/40 hwy

34 city/39 hwy

 

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 47 miles, almost three times as far as the A3 Sportback e-tron’s 16-mile range.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A3 Sportback e-tron requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid higher (8 out of 10) than the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (7). This means the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid produces up to 5.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A3 Sportback e-tron every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A3 Sportback e-tron doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has larger tires than the A3 Sportback e-tron (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A3 Sportback e-tron.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the A3 Sportback e-tron (108.3 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 2.9 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Sportback e-tron.

Passenger Space

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has .4 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom, 4.9 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear legroom and 4.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sportback e-tron.

Cargo Capacity

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sportback e-tron with its rear seat up (15.5 vs. 13.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The A3 Sportback e-tron 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring has a standard 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A3 Sportback e-tron doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The A3 Sportback e-tron doesn’t offer memory seats.

Smart Entry standard on the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 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 Sportback e-tron’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has standard extendable sun visors. The A3 Sportback e-tron doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and the A3 Sportback e-tron have standard heated front seats. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A3 Sportback e-tron.

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

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