- A3 Diesel Hatchback 1.6 TDi 116
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• Excellent interior quality
• Great range of engine and body options
• Much-improved driver enjoyment with latest model
Arval’s pick of the range: Audi A3 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technik 5dr manual
The A3 is Audi’s family hatchback competitor, available in a wide variety of model choices. Three-door, five-door Sportback, four-door saloon and two-door Convertible are all on offer, as well as the performance S3 (three-door, saloon and Convertible), RS3 (three-door and saloon) models and the plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron Sportback. An RS3 Sportback will follow later in 2017.
Audis have always been nice and comfortable and the latest generation of A3 is also fun to drive. But this level of driver enjoyment doesn’t come at the expense of the great ride quality, making the car a very capable all-rounder. Engine refinement across the range is good but the petrol engines are especially smooth. And all engines offer decent performance for their respective power outputs. Excellent interior quality combines with good refinement and ride quality to make the A3 a perfectly pleasant place to cover big distances, and the well-weighted steering manages to be light-enough around town but still offer enough weight to be engaging.
There’s a wide variety of trim levels for the Audi A3, with a total of five options, kicking off with SE. Key items of standard spec of the Audi A3 are:
SE Technik (in addition to SE)
Sport (in addition to SE Technik)
S-line (in addition to Sport)
The higher trims (especially the S-line with its visual adornments) are alluring and the SE Technik spec keeps cost under control while still offering sat nav, air conditioning, DAB radio and cruise control. Going for this spec also means it’s an easier justification to step up to the 150hp diesel and, in manual form at least, the 2.0-litre matches the 1.6 for CO2 emissions figures. If you’re saving money on going up the trim levels, options such as the £300 heated seats (combined with rear parking sensors and Bang & Olufsen sound system for £735 in the Vision & Sound pack) or even the excellent £1395 Technology Pack Advanced are well worth considering.
Audi’s interior quality is always impressive in terms of design, usability and quality of materials. The infotainment system, including navigation where fitted, is clear and logical, and the front seats are comfortable for long journeys. Rear seat space is in line with what you’d expect in the sector. In terms of boot space, the three-door boasts 365 litres, the Sportback offers 380 litres as well as the square mini-estate car shape and 1220 litres with the rear seats dropped, and the saloon has 425 litres.
A classy and capable premium small car, the A3’s appeal comes initially from the kudos of its prestige badge, but that leads to a car that’s good to drive, has an excellent interior and is refined and comfortable on long or short journeys.