Audi A3 hatchback driving position
No one should have a problem getting comfortable behind the wheel of the A3. The steering wheel has a wide range of adjustment, while the seat can be adjusted for height. The seatback angle is altered via a dial controller, too, so it’s possible to make small changes easily. That said, it's disappointing that you have to pay extra for adjustable lumbar support on every trim.
Sport and S line editions have more supportive sports seats, with chunkier side bolsters to hold you in place better through the corners. Long-distance comfort in all versions is top-notch, though.
The A3’s dashboard looks sparse, but in a smart, minimalist way that also means it's wonderfully simple to use. Its instruments are superbly clear and the major switches and dials – such as those for the climate controls – are distinctly labelled and easy to reach from the driver’s seat.
Audi A3 hatchback visibility
There’s little to complain about if you’re looking straight ahead; slim front pillars and large windows mean visibility is very good. And while the A3's rear pillars are on the thick side, they're nothing compared with those in many of its rivals, including the Mercedes A-Class, that really blot out what's lurking over your shoulders.
Rear parking sensors are standard across the range, while front parking sensors, a reversing camera and even a self-parking system are on the options list.
SE Technik and Sport versions have relatively powerful xenon headlights. However, S line, S3 and RS3 models get even brighter LED headlights as standard.
Audi A3 hatchback infotainment
Most cars in this class have a touchscreen infotainment system – a relatively cheap interface but one that can be quite distracting to use while you're driving. The A3 has a better solution: a big dial positioned between the front seats that you simply twist to scroll through the on-screen menus and press down to make a selection. It's far less distracting than a touchscreen and there are even some handy shortcut buttons to allow you to hop quickly between functions.
The 7.0in display rises from the top of the dashboard when you switch on the infotainment system and slides out of sight when you power it down again. It's bright and easy to read, and the fact that it's so high up means you don't need to divert your eyes far from the road to look at it. All versions of the A3 come with sat-nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
The optional Technology Package brings a built-in hard drive, live traffic updates and MMI Touch. The latter turns the top of the dial into a touchpad that you can use to scrawl letters on when you’re selecting a destination. This pack also adds Virtual Cockpit, a digital 12.3in display that replaces the conventional instrument dials behind the steering wheel and which you can configure to show sat-nav directions, music information or trip computer information.
Whichever system you go for, the A3 has one of the best infotainment systems in its class. In fact, only BMW’s brilliant iDrive system is marginally better.
Audi A3 hatchback build quality
The A3’s interior is the benchmark for how a family hatchback should look and feel; everything is built from the sort of high-grade materials you’d usually expect to find in an executive saloon. You’ll struggle to find unappealing plastics anywhere, even lower down on the dashboard, and the materials in your direct line of sight are a tactile treat, with classy metal flourishes adding to the seriously premium feel.
You could argue that an A-Class adds more wow factor with its swish design, but it can't compete with the A3 for robustness. Everything in the A3 feels really well screwed together, while the well-weighted, nicely damped switches and super-slim infotainment screen add to the impression that no expense has been spared.