- Exceptional interior quality
- Excellent infotainment
- Advanced engines
- Sport trim suspension too stiff for some
- Range topping RS3 expensive to insure
- Not much else
Outstanding in all areas
The Audi A3 is one the UK’s best-selling executive hatchbacks, and for good reason. Since its first introduction in 1996, the A3 has offered family buyers quality and efficiency in abundance. Audi is famed for its technological advancement, and so the A3 has always pushed the boundaries of what is achievable in such a small package. It’s an incredibly good car to drive, as well as having exceptional interior quality, and enough space to meet most people’s day-to-day needs.
The latest third-generation A3, introduced in 2012, featured a complete redesign, incorporating more efficient engines, improved chassis design, and a completely reworked interior.
Executive feel, respectable boot, excellent infotainment
One area in which the A3 really stands out from rivals is in its interior. The A3 has always set the benchmark as to what the inside of a family hatchback should look like, and the latest A3 is no different.
The dashboard of the A3 really is a joy to behold. Soft-touch materials are used throughout the cabin, and there’s some wonderful chrome touches, that leave the dash of the A3 feeling much more expensive than it actually is. There’s cars three times its price that fail to improve upon this level of quality. It’s also incredibly well-designed, and switches and controls are well-damped and easy to use.
Space wise the A3 isn’t the market leader in the family hatchback class, though it’s certainly up there. 3-door versions come with 365 litres of boot capacity, whilst 5-door Sportback models improve this to 380 litres. There’s enough space here to cope with the weekly shop, a buggy, or a couple of medium sized suitcases. It may not be the best in its class, but there’s more than enough space for most families.
Equipment levels in the A3 are also particularly impressive. Even the entry level SE trim comes with air-con, Bluetooth, and alloy wheels, as well as an excellent infotainment system. Audi’s Multi Media Interface lets you control the DAB radio, USB connectivity, and on more expensive trims, the sat-nav, all through a central control dial, with information displayed on a moveable 5.8” retina screen.
As a package, the interior of the A3 is difficult to beat. There’s excellent quality throughout, and with a class-leading infotainment system, and enough space for most families, the A3 really is a class-leader.
Excellent handling, refined, and responsive. The complete package
When it comes to its on-road performance, the A3 beats almost every car in its class. It’s an incredibly responsive car to drive. Steering is precise, and there’s very little in the way of understeer, even on the most challenging roads. There’s also plenty of grip, which makes driving through even the grimmest of Britain’s wintry weather a doddle.
The A3 also excels in its ride refinement. Potholes and loose roads are dealt with with ease, and there’s very little in the way of road and wind noise. Sport models stiffen things up a little, which may be a little too taut for some, so if absolute comfort is your priority, the entry-level SE trim is the option to go for.
Gearbox options on the A3 range from the six-speed manual found on most models, to the seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission which is an optional extra. The six-speed manual is slick and precise, and the automatic is likewise decent, though it’s a little jumpy around town at times.
Good range of engine options, with superfast petrols, and efficient hybrids both featuring
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your A3, you’ve three options: petrol, diesel or hybrid. It’s good to see a true eco-friendly option here, and it’s sure to please environmentally conscious buyers.
If it’s power you want from your A3, the standout option in the range is the superfast petrol-powered RS3 Sportback. The 2.5 litre engine produces a stonking 362bhp, that will fire you from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds, making it the fastest hatchback currently on sale today. There’s also the equally impressive S3, that still packs 300bhp, getting you from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds. Both of these cars are ridiculously quick, and will impress even the toughest petrolhead.
For eco-friendly buyers, the A1 range incorporates an exceptional hybrid option. The 1.4 TFSI e-tron produces an impressively low 37g/km of C02, making it one of the greenest production cars currently on sale. It’s also incredibly fuel-efficient, which will make it an attractive option for the money conscious. With 176.6mpg, you’re going to be spending very little money on fuel, and zero road tax. And with enough performance to fire you around the city, and to cope on twisting B-roads, and motorway journeys, the e-tron really is an exceptional piece of engineering.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your A3, it’s going to impress. Both petrol, and diesel powered A3s are up there with the best in class. Audi’s infamous engine technology shines through in every engine in the range.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with decent standard safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the Audi A3 easily achieved the maximum 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 87% for adult protection, 78% for child protection, and 74% for pedestrian impact, the A3 is one of the best cars in its class when it comes to safety. There’s also airbags as standard, as well as a pre-collision braking system. The A3 really is a safe car for both you and your family to be in.
Low running costs, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Audi A3 is an impressively cheap car to run. This obviously varies from model to model, but the majority of cars in the range have impressive C02 emissions, and fuel efficiency, especially when you consider just how responsive the engines are. The super-fast S3, and RS3 models are however quite thirsty, but then they do have enough supercar rivalling performance.
Insurance wise this also depends on which model you go for. The cheapest model in the range is the 1.2 TFSI SE, which finds itself in group 14, ranging up to group 40 for the RS3 Sportback. Most cars in the range fall roughly into the same groups as equivalent competitors.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Audi A3, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Audi A3 is one of the best family hatchbacks currently on sale in the UK today. With an exceptional interior, excellent chassis, a wide range of technologically advanced engines, and an impressive safety record, the A3 really is an all round package.
Buying a used Audi A3 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Audi A3 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Audi A3. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Audi A3 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Audi A3? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Audi A3, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Audi A3, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Audi to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.