Audi A3 1.6 3dr Car Review - February 2012

REVIEW
List Price: £16,620
Tax Band: G
Insurance Group: 14
MPG: 40.9
CO2: 162
0-62 Mph: 11.8 secs
BHP: 101 BHP
Range: 495 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.25/5
This entry level version of the A3 with the basic 1.6 petrol engine option may be a bit lacking in terms of delivering an exhilarating driving experience, but it’s still capable and solid. Few rivals however, can equal the A3 for the quality inside the cabin, prestige and resell value. It's an excellent all-rounder and will suit those looking for something distinctive, yet practical.

PROS:  The A3 1.6 3-door is a attractive, high-quality car and its solid resell value echo this. Its ride and refinement are good and it is flexible and practical.

CONS:  Prices are high and this entry-level model may leave you wanting to upgrade to get more goodies, the engine lacks power and refinement.

Behind the Wheel

The front seats give ample support and a good adjustment range help get the driver comfortable. Taller people might experience some problems with the strut of the centre console and their left knee. Unusually for an Audi, the dashboard layout is not as clear as it could be, and some buttons appear very similar.

The A3 three-door has loads of space for the driver and passenger, but passengers taller than six feet won’t feel at home in the back. If you need more space, then the five-door version would be a better bet.

Overall the A3 is capable, rather than being entertaining to drive. It grips the road well but the steering although light, lacks some feel. Entry level and SE versions provide a firm ride, but not so firm as to be uncomfortable. Beware of the sports models as the sports suspension makes it jolt quite a bit over bumpy surfaces.

The basic 4 cylinder, 8 valve, 1.6 petrol engine needs to be worked some to get the best from it. It produces just 102bhp and maximum torque of 109lb-ft taking 11.8 seconds to go from 0-62mph. Its top speed capability is 115mph, which makes it slow next to a Golf or Skoda Octavia.

As an alternative there’s also a 123bhp 1.4 turbo which may be a better bet but if it’s speed you need then the 197bhp 2.0-litre turbo version or 261bhp 2.0 S3 should satisfy you.

The 1.6 petrol engine is a bit gruff higher up the rev range, unlike the other engines. Motorway cruising can make you aware of some wind-and road noise, but it's not extreme. Unfortunately, clean gear-changing can be difficult at times as there can be some resistance when trying to change.

Looks & Equipment

The A3 is very stylish both in the cabin and from outside. The standard version is well kitted out with alloy wheels, electric windows and mirrors, air-conditioning and CD player; and if you want more than the basic version offers, then you can add: climate control, metallic paint, cruise-control, rear parking sensors, leather seats, Mp3 and Bluetooth connectivity as optional extras.

It may be worthwhile considering upgrading to the SE pack, which gets you a multifunction steering wheel. The Sport option gives sports suspension and front sports-seats, as well as an MP3 input socket, and climate control. Bigger alloy wheels, muscular body-kit, partial leather upholstery and sports interior trim come on S line cars.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The A3 offers good space, especially in the front and the boot is a good size too. Folding the rear seats gives you 1080 litres of useable space, which is not bad, but it’s still smaller than that of the Golf. You could consider the five-door Audi A3 Sportback if you need a bit more boot space.

Audi’s commitment to safety is evident with twin-front, side and curtain airbags fitted as standard. The A3 also comes with electronic stability control and electronic brake-force distribution fitted. Euro NCAP ratings of 4 for passengers, 3 for children and 1 for pedestrians are not the best in the class, but are comparable with others.

Deadlocks, central locking and an alarm all help provide a good deterrent against theft.

Audi employs the same high standards to build the A3 as it does with the bigger cars it produces. The A3 has a solid, durable feel throughout, and the engine should provide years of good service without problems.

Value for Money

The A3 is placed as a prestige hatchback. With a price tag of £16,620 however, it's difficult to rationalize the price difference over the equivalent Volkswagen Golf. On a positive note, the A3 has strong appeal meaning its residual value is likely to be solid.

Running costs are competitive for its class: insurance category 14, CO2 emissions of 162g/km (band G for VED) and its fuel economy of 40.9mpg, while not as good as the Golf, is comparable with that of other rivals.

What you get is an excellent all-around, sleek city and open road performer, all wrapped up in an eye-catching package.

Audi A3 1.6 3dr Car Review - by 
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Medium Family Alternatives

You might want to read reviews for other Medium Family cars that you can then compare to the Audi A3. Here are some popular Audi A3 alternatives:

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