Sep 29, 2014
Reviewed By Chad Tyson
Price as Tested $37,195; 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, 220-hp, 258lb-ft, Audi MMI Navigation Plus, Cold Weather package, Aluminum Style Package
Likes

It’s all new. The new sedan replaces the hatchback, with several forms due out later this year and early next year. It’s more attractive. The body line running from tip of headlight to tip of taillamp gives a solid connection from the front to the back, while the rising sill line adds interest and visually reduces the height of the car’s side and rear. It’s well-equipped for starting at $32,900. Many of the luxury-entry-level German cars we review are often chock-full of upgrades and options — the base-level cars would be terribly unappealing without them. Those options don’t tend to be cheap, but Audi includes many of them (sunroof, leather, etc.) in the base model. The options for this A3 weren’t expensive, either. Biggest tick of the box here was $1,900 for Audi MMI Navigation plus. Eventually we’ll get to the point where nav isn’t even an option. (Fear not, expensive-option shoppers, the Prestige package goes for $8,450.) The 2.0T is about as tried and true as modern engines come. Plenty of power and remarkably effiecient on the highway. Driving in ‘D’ is as mundane as the morning commute could be, but shifting to ‘S’ makes a world of difference. Audi Roadside Assistance has some helpful and professional people working for them. How I know multiple members of that team is another story.

Dislikes

The rear seat and trunk don’t hold a lot of cargo, but that can happen when a Golf is the starting point for design. Meh on materials and color. Yes, silver and black are safe, but they’re also boring. The $450 Aluminum Style package is money better spent elsewhere. Reflective tape and a little time will give the same effect, but much cheaper. The 19-inch wheels and tires are hard to come by at the moment, so try not to drive over parking lot spikes. Lest you want to be waiting a day or two for the dealer to get those new tire sizes.

Verdict

I liked it. It was my ride from Monterey back to Portland after the week of festivities down there in mid-August. Twelve hours in that seat was more fun than I anticipated. Audi is hoping its new platform will carve out a bigger market share. Reports from July suggest that these were selling well enough that Audi had a hard time keeping the dealers stocked.  It’s more fun than Mercedes’ CLA and better looking than any 3-Series BMW without the “M” badge. Test drive a new A3 if you’re considering any car near $30k, especially if you’re looking at ones over that price point.

Fun to Drive
4.0 rating
Fun to Look at
3.5 rating
Overall Experience
3.5 rating
Stats
EPA Mileage 24/33