Childre Nissan Compares 2018 Nissan Altima VS 2018 Audi A3 Near Atlanta, GA

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2018 Nissan Altima

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2018 Audi A3

Safety Comparison

The Altima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Altima 3.5 SL has standard NissanConnect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Altima 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, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, 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 Nissan Altima is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:



A3 Sedan


5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

216 lbs.

427 lbs.

Neck Compression

59 lbs.

143 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

32/46 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 Nissan Altima is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:



A3 Sedan


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

677 lbs.

777 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

47 G’s

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

Warranty Comparison

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Altima 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 4 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima third among midsize cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The A3 Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 26th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Altima 3.5’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (270 vs. 220) than the A3 Sedan’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A3 Sedan with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Altima has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan FWD’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Altima has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan Quattro’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 14.5 gallons).

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Altima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (109.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima is 1 inch wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A3 Sedan.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Altima 2.5 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 at idle, the interior of the Altima 2.5 SV is quieter than the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro (38 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

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

The Altima has 15.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (101.9 vs. 86).

The Altima has 3.5 inches more front headroom, 3.8 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Altima has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (15.4 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Altima offers cargo security. The A3 Sedan’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Altima 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.

The Intelligent Key standard on the Altima allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi A3 Sedan’s available Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Altima’s optional (except S/SR) 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.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Altima owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Altima will cost $605 less than the A3 Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $223 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the A3 Sedan, including $354 less for a water pump, $232 less for an alternator, $41 less for front brake pads, $35 less for a starter, $367 less for front struts, $88 less for a timing belt/chain and $160 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Altima will be $8857 to $8916 less than for the Audi A3 Sedan.

Recommendations Comparison

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

The Nissan Altima outsold the Audi A3/S3 by over ten to one during the 2017 model year.

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