2019 Hyundai Sonata vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited has a standard Blue Link, 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 Sonata and the A3 Sedan 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 crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Hyundai Sonata is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:



A3 Sedan


5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

164 lbs.

427 lbs.

Neck Compression

49 lbs.

143 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

198/433 lbs.

461/426 lbs.




5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Compression

.4 inches

.5 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

145 lbs.

223 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

139 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

31/73 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 Hyundai Sonata is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:



A3 Sedan


Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

219 G’s


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

12 inches




Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

47 G’s

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A3 Sedan has not been fully tested, yet.


The Sonata comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The A3 Sedan’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the A3 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sonata’s warranty.


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 Sonata’s reliability 21 points higher than the A3 Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 31 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 Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.


The Sonata Limited 2.0T’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (245 vs. 228) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Sonata Eco gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI SMG (28 city/37 hwy vs. 26 city/35 hwy).

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

The Sonata has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Sonata has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 14.5 gallons).


An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sonata’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A3 Sedan:



A3 Sedan

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

10.7 inches

The Sonata stops shorter than the A3 Sedan:



A3 Sedan


60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sonata’s wheelbase is 6.6 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (110.4 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata is 2 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A3 Sedan.


The design of the Hyundai Sonata amounts to more than styling. The Sonata has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is significantly lower than the A3 Sedan (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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

The Sonata has 20.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (106.1 vs. 86).

The Sonata has 3.9 inches more front headroom, 4.3 inches more front legroom, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom and 3.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Sonata has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (16.3 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Sonata offers cargo security. The A3 Sedan’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Sonata 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.


When two different drivers share the Sonata Limited, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Sonata Limited’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Proximity Key standard on the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited 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.

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 Sonata’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the A3 Sedan’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Sonata Limited has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s standard 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 Sonata owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sonata will cost $845 less than the A3 Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sonata is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $486 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sonata than the A3 Sedan, including $242 less for a water pump, $33 less for front brake pads, $260 less for a starter, $126 less for fuel injection, $28 less for a fuel pump, $314 less for front struts and $242 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Sonata will be $7386 to $8968 less than for the Audi A3 Sedan.


The Hyundai Sonata has won recognition from these important consumer publications:



A3 Sedan

Consumer Reports® Recommends



Car Book “Best Bet”



The Hyundai Sonata outsold the Audi A3/S3 by almost six to one during 2018.

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

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