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Audi A3 Review

The 2016 Audi A3 ranks 11 out of 14 Upscale Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Audi A3, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2016 Audi A3 is ranked:

The 2016 Audi A3 has a potent engine lineup, is fun to drive and has an opulent interior, auto writers report, but they add that the seats are fairly cramped.

The 2016 A3 comes standard with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that critics think has good power for merging and passing on the highway. They add that the optional turbodiesel engine delivers similar performance, with excellent fuel economy. The A3 also has two turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines that offer strong power, according to test drivers. All engines are paired with a six-speed automated manual (automatic) transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available. The base 2016 A3 gets an EPA-estimated 23/33 mpg city/highway, which is typical for the class, while the turbodiesel model earns 31/43, which is excellent for the class. Auto journalists write that the A3 has agile handling, particularly when equipped with all-wheel drive, with strong grip and precise steering feel. They add that the A3 rides comfortably over bumpy pavement, and that brakes are a little sensitive, but work well after you get used to them.

Critics write that the 2016 Audi A3 has one of the nicest interiors in the class, with an elegant, understated design and top-quality materials. They remark that the cabin is tight, and though the front seats are comfortable, head- and legroom is in short supply in the front and rear. Trunk space is a little low for the class. The 2016 A3 comes standard with a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, HD Radio, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth and Audi's MMI infotainment system. Available features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, Audi Connect (which uses a 4G cellular data connection to offer a Wi-Fi hot spot and Google Maps navigation), a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and the MMI Navigation Plus system (which includes voice control and a touchpad that lets you write out your destination with your fingertip). Reviewers say the MMI infotainment system is user-friendly and responsive, with clear menus and controls. However, a few mention that it is placed a little too low on the dashboard for optimal visibility.

  • "Introduced last year, the Audi A3 entry-level luxury sedan and convertible (Cabriolet) are popular thanks to combining an entry-level price with an established luxury brand. … Sporty and welcoming, the new A3 and sportier S3 models don't feel compromised, despite their relatively low price." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2015 Audi A3 is the benchmark for a new, smaller segment of entry-level luxury sedans. It's definitely small, which may be an issue for some, but it's no less luxurious or rewarding to drive than pricier Audis." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "Mercedes-Benz broke new ground with the CLA. Audi walked the same path, with more commitment, and made a better car. The A3 feels like it has more interior space, an airier cabin, more comfort, and fewer blind spots for the driver. It's also a sharper handler." -- Road and Track (2015)
  • "Audi has caught on to America's aversion to hatchbacks. The result of this realization is a quick course correction, a proper sedan that is also a blast to drive. With a wide array of powertrain, luxury and technology options, the A3 offers something for everyone at an attractive entry price." -- Left Lane News (2015)

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Other Cars to Consider

Critics report that the Lexus IS has a smooth ride, as well as spacious and comfortable front and rear seats that offer good head- and legroom. The IS sedan also has a larger trunk than the A3 sedan.

The BMW 3-Series has excellent handling and a powerful engine lineup, reviewers say, as well as excellent fuel economy with its base model. They add that the 3-Series has spacious seating in the front and rear, and it has more trunk space than the A3.

Compare the A3, IS and 3-Series »

Details: 2016 Audi A3

The 2016 Audi A3 comes as a sedan that seats five or a Cabriolet (convertible) that seats four. Front-wheel drive and an automated manual transmission come standard, while all-wheel drive is available. The A3 comes in 1.8T, 2.0T, a diesel-powered A3 and a high-performance S3 trims. The A3 was completely redesigned for the 2015 model year and sees minor changes for 2016. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2015 to 2016 model years.

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Review Last Updated: 7/28/15

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