Audi A3 Saloon (2013-2020) - Reliability & safety

The Audi A3 saloon has impeccable build quality and five-star safety

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

3.5 out of 5

The A3 Saloon shares most of its technology with the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia, which have all proved to be reliable since they went on sale. Safety is excellent, too.

Audi A3 Saloon reliability

The A3’s petrol and diesel engines are evolutions of engines that have been developed over a number of years and fitted in millions of cars around the world, which offers great peace of mind. The car's interior feels incredibly well built, too, so it should prove to be long-lasting.

The Audi A3 range finished mid-table in our 2018 Driver Power survey, coming 46th out of 75 cars overall, but failed to rank in our 2020 survey. Owners were impressed by its engines, gearboxes, practicality and interior space, but gave interior and exterior style, ride and handling a rather less impressive score. The A3’s connectivity and infotainment systems impressed, though, as did its running costs and fuel economy.

Overall, the reliability and build quality of Audis is a concern. The brand finished 21st out of 30 manufacturers in our 2020 brand survey with 20% of owners reporting one or more problems in their first year of ownership.

• Best cars to own in 2020


When crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2012, the A3 hatchback was awarded five stars and an impressive 95% rating for adult occupant protection, as well as 87% for child occupants. The saloon should perform in a similar fashion, so this is a very safe model for families.

The Mercedes CLA also received five stars, but scored slightly lower in the above categories (91 and 75% respectively). The BMW 2 Series has yet to be tested.

There’s a reasonable amount of safety kit, but also a lot that you’ll have to pay extra for. Standard equipment includes numerous airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control to help prevent skids.

Optional safety equipment includes hill-start assistance, which prevents the car rolling on hills when starting or stopping. You can also spec Audi’s pre-sense system, which engages safety measures if a potential collision is detected. Cruise control is, surprisingly, an optional extra along with rear side airbags.

There are several options to help with parking, including an optional reversing camera and an enhanced parking system. The parking assistance system is also available, helping to automatically steer the car into a space.

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