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Audi A3 hatchback (2012-2017) - Practicality & boot space

While the Audi A3 shares many parts with the SEAT Leon and VW Golf, it’s a little less practical, but it still has reasonable space for four

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While the Audi A3 shares many parts with the SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, it’s actually a little less practical, but its dimensions means it still has reasonable space for four people and luggage.

The space between the front and back wheels is slightly shorter than in the Leon or Golf, so there’s a little less rear legroom – although adults can still squeeze in – and a little less boot space.

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You shouldn’t have any problems negotiating tight streets or small parking spaces in the A3. But if you do need help, parking sensors are available, as well as a reversing camera and even a self-parking system. This setup can take control of the steering wheel to guide the car into a space, leaving you to simply operate the pedals.

In fact, there are all sorts of clever driving aids on offer, such as active lane-keeping assistance (which can keep you in your lane on the motorway) and active cruise control (which can keep to a set speed by operating the brake and accelerator depending on traffic conditions).

Audi A3 interior space & storage

Interior space in the A3 is sufficient rather than massive – plus the sleek roofline of the saloon does reduce rear headroom a little and taller adults may find the rear a little cramped. Also, though the doors on the three-door models are long, assisting entry to the rear seats, families may still find the extra convenience of the rear doors on the Sportback worth having. However, all models have adequate rear legroom and shoulder room for most families.

Up front, there’s space for big bottles in the door cubbies and you can fit some smaller bottles in the centre cubby between driver and passenger. There’s a pretty generous glovebox as well, along with places to keep small objects such as phones and keys. A nice rubber base helps ensure these things don’t slide around when you’re driving.

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Pockets under the front and rear seats hide high-visibility vests – an essential for driving in many European countries. But otherwise, the A3’s interior storage is pretty standard fare.

Boot space

The official Audi A3 boot space figure is 365 litres, which is 15 litres smaller than in the Golf and Leon, but five litres more than what you get in a BMW 1 Series. In the real world, you probably won’t notice the subtle differences between these cars.

The A3’s seats fold down flat with ease, so you can easily slide in big heavy objects. Once they're folded, boot space goes up to 1,100 litres.

If that’s not enough, you can always choose the larger five-door Audi A3 Sportback, which has a bigger boot at 380 litres increasing to 1,220 litres with the seats down. It also offers more legroom. If you don’t expect to carry bulky loads the A3 Saloon actually offers greater luggage capacity than the normal A3, at 425 litres, but is less practical for bigger items, as seat-down capacity is only 880 litres.

For families, the Sportback is the obvious choice, because the standard A3 is a three-door model only and you don’t want to be constantly folding the front seats forward just to allow passengers to get in the back.

Towing

If you’re planning on using the Audi A3 to tow a trailer or caravan, then you should choose one of the diesel models. The range-topping 2.0-litre TDI can tow a braked load weighing up to 1,800kg while the 1.6-litre TDI has a towing capacity of 1,500kg.

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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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