2019 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

Safety

The Passat SE R-Line 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 Passat 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available 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 Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

Passat

A3 Sedan

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

39%

45%

Neck Stress

391 lbs.

427 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

143 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

104/367 lbs.

461/426 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 Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

Passat

A3 Sedan

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

119

172

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

136 G’s

219 G’s

Hip Force

247 lbs.

308 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

627 lbs.

777 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

305

333

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

47 G’s

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

Warranty

The Passat 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 Passat’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Passat’s reliability 23 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 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

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

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Passat stops shorter than the A3 Sedan:

Passat

A3

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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

Chassis

The design of the Volkswagen Passat amounts to more than styling. The Passat has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the A3 Sedan (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Passat get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Passat a Mid-size car, while the A3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Passat has 16.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (102.3 vs. 86).

The Passat has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and 4 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Passat has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (15.9 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the Passat SE R-Line’s trunk, 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.

Towing

The Passat has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The A3 Sedan has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Passat 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.

Ergonomics

The Passat SE R-Line 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 Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the Passat SEL Premium, the memory seats make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer memory seats.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Passat (except S/R-Line/GT) offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Passat and the A3 Sedan have standard heated front seats. The Passat also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A3 Sedan.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Passat owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Passat with a number “1” insurance rate while the A3 Sedan is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Passat is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $459 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Passat than the A3 Sedan, including $93 less for a water pump, $20 less for front brake pads, $111 less for fuel injection, $84 less for front struts and $392 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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

Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The A3 Sedan has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Passat outsold the Audi A3/S3 by over two to one during 2018.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos