Audi A3

May 9, 2013
By

Audi A3 ranks 2 out of 11 Upscale Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 109 published reviews and test drives of the Audi A3, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

Though the 2015 Audi A3 has cramped rear seats, test drivers still think its ample cargo space and fuel-efficient diesel engine make it one of the more versatile models in its class.

The 2015 Audi A3 can come with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine or a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. Test drivers find that models with the standard gasoline engine are the most enjoyable to drive, but they’re also impressed with the diesel’s fuel economy ratings of 30/42 mpg city/highway, which is significantly higher than the base model’s 21/30 mpg. Both engines have a standard six-speed manual transmission, though a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional. Reviewers are satisfied with both transmissions, and say that they shift gears smoothly. They say that overall, the Audi A3’s performance is characterized by sharp handling and comfortable ride quality.

While auto reviewers say they’re impressed with the Audi A3’s conservative, attractive cabin and quality materials, they note that its optional navigation system is confusing. The Audi A3 also lacks features that are standard on many rivals, such as Bluetooth. A USB port is not available at all. Test drivers add that the five-seat Audi A3’s passenger accommodations may not satisfy all shoppers. The rear seats are cramped for adults, though that is a common complaint among upscale small cars. The front-row seats, however, offer plenty of room, and the A3 has a lot of cargo space for the class.

  • “Both available motors suffer from non-linear turbo-engine power delivery, and prices quickly escalate when costly options are added. Those demerits are overshadowed by this car’s virtues of a handsome cabin, excellent versatility, and high level of driving enjoyment. The diesel offers the same levels of refinement, with the added bonus of better fuel economy over the already thrifty turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder.” — Consumer Guide (2012)
  • “Ample cargo capacity and available all-wheel drive make the Audi A3 one of the most versatile cars on the road.” — Kelley Blue Book (2012)
  • “A superb interior, hatchback capabilities, and lively driving dynamics won’t be compromised by the diesel engine; you’ll just go a little farther on each gallon of fuel.” — Automobile Magazine (2010)
  • “It’s incredibly cute, fun to drive and gets great mileage, but it’s a squeeze for my family of four in a way that makes road trips seem forbidding.” — Cars.com (2010)

The 2015 Audi A3 is available in Premium and Premium Plus trims, which can come with turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline or diesel engines. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive is only available with the gasoline engine. The Audi A3 was introduced in 2006. Since it hasn’t been redesigned since then, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2007 to 2015 model years.

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