2012 Audi A3 Review
The 2012 Audi A3 is one of the most practical cars in the class, but still manages to be fun to drive.
If you want a car that seems to be able to do it all: race down back roads, not lose its grip in snowy weather, handle plenty of cargo and get good fuel economy, test drivers say you should have the 2012 Audi A3 on your shopping list. Though some critics think that the A3 is getting a little dated, other critics don't think Audi should mess with a winning package that includes a premium hatchback with great performance, a practical cargo capacity and available diesel engine that can get up to 42 mpg on the highway.
Of course, the A3 won’t work for every upscale small car buyer. Passenger space is cramped, which makes the A3 a better choice for a couple or single person than a family. It’s also pricey for the class, and gets pretty expensive when you go for options like all-wheel drive, the diesel engine or navigation. Also, you can’t get the two performance features that reviewers like best – all-wheel drive and a diesel engine – together. The A3 offers a lot, but it requires its fair share of sacrifices.
That said, in a sea of small sedans focused only on performance, reviewers say the A3 is a refreshing dose of practicality that can still hang with the pack when the road gets twisty.
Other Cars to Consider
If you like the way the 2012 Audi A3 drives, but need more passenger space or can’t justify its price tag, consider the Volkswagen GTI. Reviewers praise the GTI for performance that’s better than its price tag would suggest. If you get the four-door GTI, reviewers also say the back seat is surprisingly roomy.
Though some reviewers say the 2012 Audi A3 is getting a little dated, the Acura TSX Sport Wagon is more up-to-date. Combining the driving dynamics of the Acura TSX with SUV-like cargo and passenger space, the TSX Wagon doesn’t offer all-wheel drive or a diesel engine, but it does have interior features and electronics that reviewers say work better than the A3’s.
Details: 2012 Audi A3
The A3 comes in two trims: Premium and Premium Plus. These trims have two engine options, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive is only available with the gasoline engine. The 2012 model is largely unchanged from the 2011 model.
- "As the old adage goes, ‘You can't please all the people all the time.’ But that doesn't mean you can't try. In this vein, the 2012 Audi A3 has the potential to appeal to a fairly wide and diverse set of car buyers. As Audi's entry-level model, it offers hatchback sensibilities, a dash of athleticism and even a promise of eco-friendliness." -- Edmunds
- "The A3 is a handsome little car that offers a healthy dose of utility, as well." -- Autoblog
- "While it hasn't been lighting up the sales charts, A3 is a premium compact that deserves serious consideration.” -- Consumer Guide
- "A superb interior, hatchback capabilities, and lively driving dynamics won't be compromised by the diesel engine; you'll just go a little farther on each gallon of fuel." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Although showing its age and frequently overshadowed by the less-expensive and nearly-as-attractive Volkswagen GTI, the former 10Best-winning A3 is a great-looking, practical, if a bit expensive, hatch." -- Car and Driver