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Audi A3 hatchback (2012-2017) - MPG, running costs & CO2

You'll get excellent fuel economy and low emissions from most Audi A3 models, while insurance and servicing won't break the budget

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The long list of standard equipment and terrific build quality of the Audi A3 make up for it having a higher list price than a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus. The higher up-front cost is also largely balanced by the A3’s excellent residual values. After three years of ownership, it’s likely to be worth a far higher percentage of its original cost than its Ford, Vauxhall or VW rivals.

Audi A3 MPG & CO2

If high fuel economy is your goal, you’ll want the 114bhp 1.6-litre TDI diesel. It can return 70.6mpg combined with low 106 grams per kilometre CO2 emissions, bringing 23% Benefit-in-Kind figures for company users. Bear in mind, though, that this only applies to examples fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels. Larger wheels look better, but the extra friction of bigger tyres reduces economy and increases emissions.

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Our favourite of the diesels is the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI. Its claimed fuel economy is only a little worse, at 67.3mpg on 16-inch wheels, with a CO2 emissions figure of 109g/km for a 23% BiK band. We reckon the increased cost of the 2.0-litre is worth it for the extra power – it makes motorway driving a lot more relaxed.

The petrol engines are also remarkably frugal and will suit anybody who covers a moderate yearly mileage. Most economical of all is the 1.0-litre TFSI, which can almost manage 63mpg, and has a 19% BiK band for company-car drivers. Another £2,000 or so will put you behind the wheel of the excellent and very clever 1.5-litre TFSI. It has a cylinder-deactivation system to shut down individual parts of the engine if they aren’t required – for example when cruising and not using full power. This helps it to return 56.5mpg with emissions of 114g/km, while producing a useful extra 34bhp.

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After the first year's CO2-based road tax (generally included in the on-the-road price), all Audi A3s cost £140 a year to tax.

Insurance groups

The Audi A3 1.0-litre TFSI SE starts in insurance group 19, with the 1.6-litre TDI SE beginning in the same insurance group 18. This makes the A3 on a par with more expensive to insure than some of its rivals, with some models of Mercedes A-Class beginning in group 13.

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The Volkswagen Golf, which shares mechanical components with the Audi A3, starts in insurance group 11, while models that use the same 1.6-litre TDI engine as the A3 start in insurance group 13.

Warranty

Audi has a very solid reputation for reliability and offers a three-year/60,000-mile warranty on all its new cars, which is fairly typical in this class. It can be extended to four years or 75,000 miles for another £250 or to five years and 90,000 miles for £550.

While it’s great that the warranty duration is flexible, it can’t match the generosity of certain more budget-conscious rivals. Kia, for example, offers a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty on all its new cars, including the very capable Kia Cee’d hatchback.

Servicing

There are two servicing schedules for the A3: yours will depend on how many miles you cover per year. If your annual mileage is less than 10,000 and you mostly do short journeys, you might want to follow the fixed schedule, whereby your A3 is serviced once every 12 months.

If you cover more than 10,000 miles a year, you should follow the variable schedule, which means up to two years can pass between service intervals. Your Audi dealership will be able to clarify what this means to you, as well as offering a number of options that can help spread the cost of servicing.

The Audi Complete plan has three levels. The cheapest is a service-only plan, covering all services your car will need over the first three years. There’s a service and maintenance plan, which adds maintenance cover for the engine, suspension, gearbox and brake components and also includes three years’ breakdown cover. Service, maintenance and tyres is the third level of cover and also includes replacement tyres and related alignment and puncture repairs – although it is subject to a fair use clause.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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