Car trim reviews

Audi A3 SE

"The Audi A3 is an upmarket, three-door hatchback, based on the VW Golf. Audi’s image means the A3 remains a desirable car."

To all intents and purposes, the A3 is a posh Volkswagen Golf. It’s available with only three doors, although there is a separate, more expensive, model called the A3 Sportback if you want five doors. It's is one of the most desirable compact hatchbacks around and Volkswagen Golf mechanical parts ensure it is a fine car to drive, especially in SE trim, where the suspension is a bit more comfortable.

Audi’s attention to detail and quality takes care of the rest. The SE is available with 1.2- and 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engines and 1.6 and 2.0 TDI diesels - the latter is also offered with quattro four-wheel drive.

Most versions can be ordered with a twin-clutch semi-automatic gearbox. SE throws in small 16-inch alloys, air-con, a DAB digital radio and a leather trimmed steering wheel. It'll be the basic model for many, but it still has a decent amount of equipment.

Good points

The Audi A3 is an excellent car to drive because it uses the same mechanical parts as the VW Golf. SE models aren’t as firm as some other versions of the A3, and feel much like a Golf to drive, offering a good balance between driver enjoyment and passenger comfort.The engines on offer are all strong and pretty economical, so Audi’s premium image doesn’t bring premium running costs with it.The interior fit and finish are the best in class, and the car’s desirability means you’ll get more of your money back when you sell it on.

Bad points

The Audi A3 costs more than the equivalent Golf but doesn’t provide a lot extra, so the Golf might be a better option at this price point. It’s all down to Audi’s image, which seems to be a bit more upmarket than VW’s.The A3 may be good to drive overall, but it's not really a car for enthusiasts - that's where the BMW 1 Series has it licked.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Alarm
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • DAB Radio
  • Cruise control
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Our choice

The 1.4-litre TFSI petrol is very economical and can be equipped with Audi's 'cylinder on demand' technology. It's also pretty powerful too.

Recommended

Audi A3 Sportback hatchback review
Audi A3
28 Dec 2020

Audi A3 Sportback hatchback review

Audi A3 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid launching in 2021
Audi A3
8 Dec 2020

Audi A3 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid launching in 2021

New Audi A3 40 TFSI e plug-in hybrid joins range
2020 Audi A3 Sportback - front 3/4 dynamic
Audi A3
30 Sep 2020

New Audi A3 40 TFSI e plug-in hybrid joins range

New 2020 Audi S3 range launched with 306bhp
2020 Audi S3 Sportback and Saloon
Audi
11 Aug 2020

New 2020 Audi S3 range launched with 306bhp

Most Popular

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Tips and advice
28 Dec 2020

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Best small SUVs
Small SUVs
31 Dec 2020

Best small SUVs

Best 4x4s and SUVs
Peugeot 3008 SUV rear 3/4 tracking
Family SUVs
14 Jan 2021

Best 4x4s and SUVs