2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. 2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The MX-5 Miata has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, 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 Cabriolet 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 MX-5 Miata and the A3 Cabriolet have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and rear cross-path warning.


Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the MX-5 Miata 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Cabriolet. 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 Cabriolet ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 2 times as many Mazda dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MX-5 Miata’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 MX-5 Miata’s reliability 38 points higher than the A3 Cabriolet.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Brakes and Stopping

The MX-5 Miata stops much shorter than the A3 Cabriolet:


MX-5 Miata

A3 Cabriolet


70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The MX-5 Miata Club handles at .90 G’s, while the A3 Cabriolet pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the MX-5 Miata’s turning circle is 5.3 feet tighter than the A3 Cabriolet’s (30.8 feet vs. 36.1 feet).


The Mazda MX-5 Miata may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1100 to 1150 pounds less than the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

The MX-5 Miata is 1 foot, 8 inches shorter than the A3 Cabriolet, making the MX-5 Miata easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MX-5 Miata's optional power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the MX-5 Miata is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the A3 Cabriolet. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.


The MX-5 Miata’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Audi does not offer a locking feature on the A3 Cabriolet’s standard power windows.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MX-5 Miata is less expensive to operate than the A3 Cabriolet because it costs $513 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MX-5 Miata than the A3 Cabriolet, including $290 less for a water pump, $200 less for a starter, $128 less for fuel injection, $119 less for front struts and $29 less for a timing belt/chain.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Audi A3 Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the MX-5 Miata second among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A3 Cabriolet isn’t in the top three.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 16 of the last 28 years. The A3 Cabriolet has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 8 of the last 25 years. The A3 Cabriolet has never been an “All Star.”

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

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