If you’re in the market for a new midsize sedan Like the Honda Accord and you have the budget for a fully loaded top trim, there’s a good chance you can buy an entry-level luxury sedan. Luxury models typically offer more power, comfort, refinement and, of course, brand-name prestige. There are two options to consider this year for the Audi A3 and Volvo S60,
Redesigned for the 2022 model year, the Audi A3 stands out for its pleasant performance, comfortable ride and top-notch technology features. The current Volvo S60 has been around for a long time, but its distinctive design, standard driver aids, and optional plug-in hybrid model make it one of Edmunds’ high-end luxury sedans. Which is better to buy? Experts at Edmonds compared them to find out.
Price and Features
The 2022 Audi A3 has a starting price of $35,895, which includes destination, making it one of the most affordable luxury sedans. But don’t let the price tag fool you. The A3 looks and feels like the bigger Audis, and it’s by no means a cut-rate model. It also gets impressive standard features like heated front seats, 10.1-inch touchscreen display and panoramic sunroof. Notable optional features include a number of advanced driver aids, a digital instrument panel and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The 2022 Volvo S60’s starting price is quite high at $40,295, mostly because it’s a slightly larger and more powerful sedan. It offers the same standard features and a full suite of advanced driver assistance, something that is optional on the A3. The optional features of the S60 are also comparable.
Thanks to the A3’s redesign, it offers some of Audi’s latest technology including a modern-looking and easy-to-use touchscreen entertainment system. The S60 has a 9-inch center touchscreen, but in our experience, its user interface had a steep learning curve and wasn’t quite as intuitive as the A3’s. When it comes to advanced driver assistance, such as adaptive cruise control, we’ve found Audi’s aids to operate more unobtrusively.
If you have the budget for it, you can upgrade to either the sportier Audi S3 or the Volvo S60 Recharge plug-in hybrid. Of the two, the S3 is less powerful and less efficient, but has a lower starting price.
Winner: Audi A3
Engine and fuel economy
Luxury sedans should deliver plenty of power, and with today’s skyrocketing fuel prices, fuel efficiency is more important than ever. The A3’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is both powerful and efficient. It produces 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque and reaches an EPA-estimated 32 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The A3 comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, which can increase traction in slippery or snowy conditions, is optional.
The S60 also features a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder labeled B5. It makes 247 horsepower and 258 lb-ft, so it’s slightly more powerful than the A3’s base engine. However, its EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined makes it slightly less fuel-efficient. And that’s with front-wheel drive. Go with all-wheel drive in a Volvo and you’re looking at 28 mpg combined.
If you want more power there are other options. Audi offers the sport-tuned S3, which is similar to the A3 but with a 306-horsepower engine. Volvo, for its part, is the S60 recharge. The Recharge has a plug-in hybrid powertrain that produces a whopping 455 horsepower. Even better, it can travel about 40 miles on full power from a fully charged battery and then achieve an estimated 31 mpg when operating as a regular hybrid.
Winner: Volvo S60
driving and comfort
Audi and Volvo cite very similar acceleration for the base engines with front-wheel drive, which is around 6.5 seconds. The alternate engines also have similar acceleration; Audi cites a 4.5-second 0-60 mph top speed for the S3, and Volvo says the S60 Recharge can do it in 4.3 seconds.
Comfort is the same in both the cars. They have a smooth ride and supportive front seats that are great for daily commutes or long highway trips. However, the S60 is a slightly larger car, and it pays dividends through its roomy back seat and trunk.
The A3 is again in contention in this category by being the better car for the pleasure of driving. It feels small and nimble and can easily tackle the winding road. The bigger and heavier S60 is turn-capable but not as flashy or fun.
A3 walks in with just a narrow win. It offers everything an entry level luxury sedan should and does at an acceptable price. Volvo’s S60 isn’t quite as round, but it’s still an excellent option, especially if you’re interested in plug-in hybrids.
This story was provided to The Associated Press Automotive website by Edmunds, Michael Cantu is a contributor to Edmonds and is also on Instagram,