2020 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/07

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Malibu are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Malibu has standard OnStar®, 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 Malibu and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, 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, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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

Malibu

A3 Sedan

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

173

217

Neck Injury Risk

23%

45%

Neck Compression

29 lbs.

143 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 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 Chevrolet Malibu is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

Malibu

A3 Sedan

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Hip Force

212 lbs.

308 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

235

333

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

666 lbs.

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

Warranty

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/07

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Malibu 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sedan. 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 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 10 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Malibu first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The A3 Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The Malibu Premier’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 66 more horsepower (250 vs. 184) and 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 221) than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Malibu with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD (29 city/36 hwy vs. 26 city/35 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Malibu uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Malibu Premier for maximum performance). The A3 Sedan 45 TSFI requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Malibu has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 40 TFSI’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Malibu has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 14.5 gallons).

The Malibu has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Premier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.

The Malibu has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Malibu stops shorter than the A3 Sedan:

Malibu

A3 Sedan

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Malibu RS/Premier’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A3 Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 235/35R19).

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Malibu’s wheelbase is 7.6 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (111.4 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Malibu is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Sedan.

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Malibu (except 2.0 Turbo) 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.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Malibu LT is quieter than the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro (71 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

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

The Malibu has 16.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (102.9 vs. 86).

The Malibu has 2.6 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, 3.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

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The Malibu has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (15.7 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Towing

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

Servicing Ease

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The Malibu 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

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The Malibu (except L) 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Malibu Premier, 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 Malibu Premier’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 Malibu’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The A3 Sedan does not have an oil pressure gauge.

When the Malibu Premier is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A3 Sedan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Malibu and the A3 Sedan offer available heated front seats. The Malibu Premier also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A3 Sedan.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Malibu Premier 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 Malibu’s optional (except L/LS/RS) 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.

The Malibu Premier has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Malibu will cost $470 to $4250 less than the A3 Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $673 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the A3 Sedan, including $65 less for a water pump, $197 less for a starter, $31 less for fuel injection, $221 less for front struts and $575 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Malibu will be $8664 to $9341 less than for the Audi A3 Sedan.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/07

The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Audi A3/S3 by almost 8 to one during 2018.

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

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