Audi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI 150 Sport
Week ending: August 18
Miles driven this week: 170
Read the full Audi A3 Saloon review
There are few journeys that fill me with as much dread as the run to Ikea - but last week our reigning Executive Car of the Year managed to limit the pain. In truth, I probably go a bit farther than I have to when I need to stock up on meatballs and cheap crockery; I can’t be bothered with slogging around the M25 or the South Circular, so I avoid Croydon or Wembley and aim for Southampton instead. It’s about a 90-mile round trip from my place, but most of it is on motorway that’s not normally busy during a weekday morning.
The A3 Saloon sounded a bit gruff when I fired it up - it is a 2.0-litre diesel after all - but by the time I knocked it into sixth gear and brought it up to a fast motorway cruise, any din from under the bonnet had faded to a background thrum. The A3’s brilliant cabin - what switches there are (and there aren’t many) feel like precision instruments - kept my stress levels admirably low, and the fact that I was in a diesel instead of our previous outright Car of the Year, the A3 1.4 TFSI, meant that I barely had to glance at the fuel gauge either.
Eight months on, we still get asked why we made the three-box A3 our Executive Car of the Year. Fact is, it feels superbly tuned to the job that you see so many of these cars put to: thumping up and down motorways, occupied by the driver and no one else. The baby Audi still feels the match for anything on those terms.
By John McIlroy
Week ending: August 11
Miles driven this week: 350
Last week I had the opportunity to sample our award-winning A3 Saloon for one evening, while conveniently moving house.
The What Car? Executive Car of the Year soon began to get under my skin within yards of driving, thanks to the beautifully finished cabin and refined turbodiesel engine. I had experienced an Audi A1 TDI the week before and was left shocked at how noisy the motor was in that, so it was refreshing to see that Audi can indeed get it right.
What also impressed was the boot’s ability to swallow more items than seemed initially possible. Like a scene from Mary Poppins and that never-ending handbag, I continued to throw in item after item and several shopping bags, a large suitcase and a full duvet set were taken without the need to fold the rear seats or use floor space. Move in completed. Job done.
However, the next morning and a quick fiddle with the sat-nav proved irksome. While trying to input an area, the rotating controller refused to process any letters for what seemed like an eternity. I’d like to test the sat-nav again soon to see if it was just having a bad morning or if I was being too impatient.
Also, the steering feels far too light and wouldn’t inspire me with confidence during a treacherous winter commute.
By Aaron Smith
Week ending August 4
Driven this week 1500 miles
Last week I had to undertake a short-notice trip up to my old hometown of Dundee because of a relative's impending hospital visit, and the A3 Saloon looked like the perfect tool for the job.
I set off at lunchtime with 500 miles between me and a comfy bed. I only know it was 500 miles because the sat-nav said so – it certainly didn't feel like I'd done so many miles when I got home.
The A3 was comfortable throughout, it sipped diesel like it was the finest whisky, and the interior kept me awake, alert and engaged with the journey. If I had one criticism, it's that the larger wheels and tyres of our Sport-spec model generate too much road noise.
Nonetheless, the audio system was more than capable of drowning out the road noise when required. There were no rattles, squeaks or clunks, and the A3 Saloon impressed my father enough that he's going to be making a trip to Dundee Audi sooner rather than later.
By Euan Doig