2019 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Jetta SEL/SEL Premium has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in 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 Jetta and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Jetta comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A3 Sedan’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Jetta’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan:

MPG

Jetta

FWD

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

A3 Sedan

FWD

Auto

40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

45 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

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

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is optional on the Volkswagen Jetta, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Jetta’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (105.7 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Jetta may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 400 pounds less than the Audi A3 Sedan.

The design of the Volkswagen Jetta amounts to more than styling. The Jetta 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 Jetta get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Jetta uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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

The Jetta has 8.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (94.7 vs. 86).

The Jetta has 2 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Jetta has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (14.1 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Jetta (except S) 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.

When different drivers share the Jetta SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. 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.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta SEL Premium 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Jetta owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Jetta will cost $935 less than the A3 Sedan over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Jetta will be $11228 to $13510 less than for the Audi A3 Sedan.

Recommendations

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

The Volkswagen Jetta outsold the Audi A3/S3 by almost five to one during 2018.

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

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