Audi A3 hatchback
Price £18,575 - £32,420
- Great engines
- Fantastic interior
- Quiet on the motorway
- High list prices
- Rear seats are tight
- BMW 1 Series is more fun to drive
At a glance
"The Audi A3 is a fantastic all-rounder – it feels luxurious, hi-tech and robust. In short, it’s everything that makes an Audi special, but condensed in to a family hatchback-sized package."
The Audi A3 is a three-door hatchback that shares many of its mechanical parts with the Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon. What sets it apart from those cars is a focus on luxury and interior quality – plus the desirable Audi badge. Its main premium hatchback rivals are the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, with all carrying similar price tags and boasting similar interior space.
The A3 has a pretty comprehensive engine range, with four petrols and three diesels. There's even a plug-in hybrid A3, called the A3 e-tron, which will return nearly 200mpg.
We’d recommend the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol model with cylinder-on-demand technology – not only does it feel quite fast, but it also shuts down parts of the engine that aren’t needed on the move, helping improve fuel economy to 60.1mpg. That's astonishing for a petrol engine as smooth and powerful as this.
We also like the 1.6-litre TDI diesel because of its excellent 74.3mpg economy figure, and while it only has 104bhp, it feels surprisingly quick. Most engines come with the option of an S tronic automatic gearbox, which doesn’t affect fuel economy and is quick and smooth – we’d even recommend it above the manual gearbox.
Quattro four-wheel drive comes as standard on the more powerful engines.
You’ll be happy with the entry-level SE trim, as you get alloy wheels, front electric windows, air-conditioning, a DAB radio and a colour display that slides out of the top of the dashboard. One thing we would suggest is to make sure you can live with the sports suspension that comes on Sport and S line models – it's firm and can be uncomfortable for long journeys. Luckily, you can still have your sportier Audi A3 without it if you want.
You'll get excellent fuel economy and low emissions from most Audi A3 models, while insurance and servicing won't break the budget
The Audi A3 is a great cruiser thanks to its predictable handling and comfortable ride. There isn't really a bad engine in the range either
The Audi A3’s interior is one of its finest attributes. Even the air vents seem to be a work of art
While the Audi A3 shares many of its parts with the SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, it’s actually a little less practical, but it still has reasonable space for four people and their luggage
Audi A3 owners praise their cars' reliability and it’s got a good reputation for safety thanks to a high Euro NCAP crash-test rating