Audi A3 Saloon review

Category: Executive car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:diesel, petrol
Available colours:
Audi A3 Saloon 2020 touchscreen
Add to shortlist
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 front cornering
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 rear cornering
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 dashboard
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 rear seats
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 touchscreen
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 side action
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 front static
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 alloy wheel
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 front seats
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 boots
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 front cornering
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 rear cornering
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 dashboard
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 rear seats
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 touchscreen
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 side action
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 front static
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 alloy wheel
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 front seats
  • Audi A3 Saloon 2020 boots
RRP £25,265What Car? Target Price from£24,168

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Pricing and running costs for the A3 Saloon are roughly in line with equivalent versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé and Mercedes A Class Saloon. What’s more, it will cost you a lot less than an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series with the same sort of power and spec, whether you’re buying outright or on PCP finance.

On the other hand, our favourite version of the 3 Series – the 330e plug-in hybrid – makes a much cheaper company car than any A3 Saloon, thanks to its tiny CO2 emissions and plug-in hybrid tax breaks. If you are choosing an A3 Saloon as your next company car, think about petrol rather than diesel – the A3's diesels aren't RDE2 emissions compliant (unlike those of the A Class Saloon), and that means you'll pay a 4% surcharge.  

Equipment, options and extras

Entry-level Sport trim is the one we'd opt for; it has pretty much all the standard kit you'll need. You get 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power-folding door mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery. It also comes with the infotainment, parking and safety aids we've described already. 

S line brings 18in alloys, sporty styling touches and sports front seats, which isn't really worth the extra in our book. Don't forget, you can deselect the S line's stiffer suspension as a no-cost option. 

Audi A3 Saloon 2020 touchscreen

Reliability

The A3 Saloon comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and three years’ roadside assistance – basically on a par with the industry norm. And you can pay a little extra to extend your A3's cover for up to five years or 90,000 miles.

We’d be tempted to do so, because Audi doesn’t have a brilliant record when it comes to reliability; it finished 22th out of 31 brands in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. That is way below BMW (and a lot of non-premium brands, such as Ford, Mazda and Skoda) but still above Mercedes.

Safety and security

Every model has automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning as standard. Blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic sign recognition are optional.

The A3 Saloon hasn’t been independently tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP yet, but the Volkswagen Golf, which is very similar underneath, achieved the full five-star verdict. We'll update you with the NCAP rating when it becomes available, but our sources say it's expected to be good, if not quite as good as the A Class Saloon.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Overview

The Audi A3 Saloon is tidy in the bends, comfortable and well equipped, making it a very competitive option against its closest rivals, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes A-Class Saloon. However, the A4 is worth the extra if you can afford it, because it’s quieter and has a classier and more practical interior. Likewise, the BMW 3 Series betters the A3 in those areas, and it's also more enjoyable to drive.

  • Good ride and handling balance
  • Punchy 35 TFSI petrol engine
  • All versions are well equipped
  • Distracting infotainment system
  • Road noise at speed
  • Small boot by class standards

Also consider

Ford Mondeo

2019 - present

Spacious, good to drive and well-equipped, but rivals beat it...

Mazda 6

2018 - present

The Mazda 6 is a well rounded and appealing family car, but ne...

Mercedes A Class Saloon

2019 - present

Mercedes A Class Saloon

Honda Civic Saloon

2018 - present

The Honda Civic Saloon is good to drive, has a big boot and co...