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#1

in 2009 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $13,663 - $18,521
Original MSRP: $26,920 - $36,975
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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Used Car: 2009 Audi A3 Review

Review Last Updated: 7/18/12

The 2009 Audi A3 is a sleek-looking hatchback with a well-made cabin and sports car-like performance. It also has an outstanding safety score, though its poor reliability rating may deter some shoppers.

When it was new, reviewers were impressed with the 2009 Audi A3’s combination of performance, interior quality and practicality. Two engines are available in the 2009 A3, which are paired with either front- or all-wheel drive. The base A3 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower, while a 250-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 was optional when it was new. Reviewers were impressed with the power from both engines, though reviewers said the 2.0-liter offers similar performance and better fuel economy than the V6 model. With the 2.0-liter engine, the A3 gets up to 21/30 mpg city/highway, which is class-competitive.

The A3 comes with dual-zone climate control, leather seats, a 10-speaker stereo, an auxiliary port and satellite radio. Navigation, Bluetooth and a Bose stereo were optional. Thanks to its hatchback body style, reviewers were impressed with the A3’s versatile cargo space and said that the front seats are comfortable. However, auto critics noted that the back seat will be a tight squeeze for most passengers. The A3 has a top safety score, but it suffers from a terrible reliability rating, as do a number of its rivals. For a better reliability score, look at the 2009 Volvo S40, which has the highest score in the class.

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Other Cars to Consider

The 2009 Volvo C30 hatchback stands out with its retro styling and glass tailgate, and it matches the A3’s great safety ratings. The C30 comes with a lot of standard features, but it doesn’t have much interior space. There are only four seats, and there’s little cargo room. Reviewers said the C30 has sporty performance, but they preferred the A3’s driving dynamics. Still, with a higher reliability rating than the A3, the C30 is a better option if you’re looking for a dependable used car.

If you like the C30, but prefer a four-door sedan, the 2009 Volvo S40 also offers more standard features than the A3. The S40 is also available with all-wheel drive, just like the Audi. On the downside, reviewers thought the base S40 needed more power, but the T5 R-Design trim is a close match to the A3 when it comes to performance. While the S40 cannot match the A3’s safety scores, it does offer a significantly higher reliability rating.

Compare the A3 to the C30 and S40 »