Which suspension is best on a used Audi A3?
Reader wants to buy a secondhand Audi A3 but is confused by the different suspension options. Which is the best model for him?...
I’m considering buying a 2014 or 2015 Audi A3 1.4 TFSI, but I’m confused about the sports suspension description. Apparently, the SE has the softest suspension of all the models, yet some car salesmen have told me that the Sport model has identical suspension to the SE.
Could you please tell me whether the SE and Sport models have the same suspension system? I don’t want to buy a car with a hard ride or stiff suspension, so it’s important to know which version I should buy.
What Car? says…
The suspension of the A3 can certainly be confusing, not least because there’s both a Sport model and a Sport suspension set-up.
To get an A3 with the best ride, you need to buy one with the softer Dynamic suspension. This blends good bump absorption with fine body control that won’t bounce you around at speed on an undulating country road.
It’s standard on SE Technik and Sport cars, but you must check that any you’re considering haven’t been fitted with the stiffer and lower Sport suspension, which was a no-cost option when the car was new. This is bearable but noticeably firmer and harsher over patchy roads. If you can find an A3 in Sport trim with Dynamic suspension it'll have the added benefits of climate control and more adjustable seats than one in SE trim.
Sport suspension is standard on S-line cars, but reverting to the superior Dynamic set-up on these was also a no-cost option, so you may be able to find an S-line model with the more accommodating suspension.
We'd also recommend cars with 16in or 17in wheels, because those with 18in wheels have a harsher ride, too.
The best way to find out which suspension is fitted to a car is to ask a main dealer to check online using its VIN number.
Best and worst family cars 2019
However, that doesn’t mean the family car market is dead; it still accounts for a huge number of sales and is very competitive, so there are some great buys out there.
But what makes a good family car? Well, it has to be practical, cheap to run, good to drive, well equipped and good value for money; in other words, it needs to be good at everything. Here we count down the top 10 and reveal the models that are best to steer clear of.
10. BMW i3
The BMW i3 is an electric family car that uses super-light carbonfibre and aluminium to offset the weight of the battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, while a smart interior and great handling add further to its appeal.
In addition to the fully electric model, BMW offers a range-extender version with a two-cylinder petrol engine that acts as a generator to prevent the car's batteries from running flat.
9. BMW 1 Series
A more conventional option from BMW is the 1 Series, which offers a strong combination of performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
It’s still a little unusual in that it sends its power to the rear wheels rather than the fronts, but this makes it entertaining to drive, and ride comfort is also good.
Pick of the range: 118i SE
8. Honda Civic
The latest Honda Civic is good to drive and has plenty of space inside for your family and their luggage. Add to that an impressive array of standard safety equipment and it's easy to recommend as an all-rounder.
We'd recommend teaming the frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine with mid-range SR trim for the best combination of economy and equipment.
Pick of the range: 1.0 VTEC SR
Read our full Honda Civic review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers
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