2020 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2020 Kia Cadenza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

The A3 Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cadenza doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A3 Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Kia Cadenza has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The A3 Sedan has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A3 Sedan 45 TFSI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cadenza doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Compared to metal, the A3 Sedan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Cadenza has a metal gas tank.

Both the A3 Sedan and the Cadenza 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, collision warning systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cadenza has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Cadenza’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

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The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Cadenza’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A3 Sedan has a standard 320-amp alternator. The Cadenza’s 180-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The A3 Sedan 45 TFSI’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A3 Sedan 45 TFSI is faster than the Kia Cadenza:

A3 Sedan

Cadenza

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.6 MPH

95.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan 40 TFSI FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Cadenza (27 city/36 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A3 Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A3 Sedan higher (7 out of 10) than the Kia Cadenza (3). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cadenza every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The A3 Sedan offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Cadenza doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the A3 Sedan Quattro 45 TFSI’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Cadenza:

A3 Sedan Quattro 45 TFSI

Cadenza

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the Cadenza:

A3 Sedan

Cadenza

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The A3 Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cadenza Technology’s standard 45 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus’ optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Cadenza Limited’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Cadenza Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Cadenza Limited (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Cadenza’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.2 feet).

Chassis

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The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 450 pounds less than the Kia Cadenza.

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 9.2 inches shorter than the Cadenza, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A3 Sedan easier. The A3 Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.3 inches, while the Cadenza’s liftover is 29.6 inches.

The A3 Sedan’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cadenza doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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The A3 Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Cadenza’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the A3 Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Cadenza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A3 Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Cadenza doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A3 Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Cadenza doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A3 Sedan Premium Plus’ optional Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the A3 Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A3 Sedan will cost $505 less than the Cadenza over a five-year period.

The A3 Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A3 Sedan will retain 36.82% to 38.8% of its original price after five years, while the Cadenza only retains 30.95% to 34.32%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Cadenza because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the Cadenza, including $257 less for a muffler and $33 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A3 Sedan will be $4375 to $7966 less than for the Kia Cadenza.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

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

The Audi A3/S3/RS 3 outsold the Kia Cadenza by over six to one during 2019.

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

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