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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 Sonata 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Sonata Limited has standard Reverse Collision-Avoidance Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Sonata Limited has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The A3 Sedan only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Sonata’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited has a standard Blue Link, 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 Sonata and the A3 Sedan 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A3 Sedan has not been fully tested, yet.
The Sonata comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The A3 Sedan’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the A3 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
Hyundai pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sonata for 3 years and 30,000 miles. Hyundai will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A3 Sedan.
There are almost 3 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sonata’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 8 places higher in reliability than Audi.
The Sonata’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 7 more horsepower (191 vs. 184) than the A3 Sedan 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Sonata uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A3 Sedan 45 TFSI requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Sonata has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 40 TFSI’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Sonata has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 14.5 gallons).
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Hyundai Sonata, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sonata’s wheelbase is 8 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (111.8 inches vs. 103.8 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 4.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A3 Sedan.
The design of the Hyundai Sonata amounts to more than styling. The Sonata has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is significantly lower than the A3 Sedan (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata get better fuel mileage.
As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Sonata Limited is quieter than the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro (37 vs. 41 dB).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sonata a Large car, while the A3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.
The Sonata has 18.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (104.4 vs. 86).
The Sonata has 3.5 inches more front headroom, 4.9 inches more front legroom, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.
The Sonata has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (16 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, 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.
The Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited 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 two different drivers share the Sonata Limited, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Sonata Limited’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 Sonata Limited has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Sonata’s power window and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The A3 Sedan’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sonata’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the A3 Sedan’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”
When the Sonata Limited 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.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Limited 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 Sonata’s optional (except SE/SEL Plus) 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 Sonata Limited’s Remote Smart Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Remote Smart Parking Assist will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus’ automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park and it doesn’t offer remote control parking.
The Hyundai Sonata outsold the Audi A3/S3/RS 3 by over 8 to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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