Audi A1 vs Audi A3: costs

These desirable hatchbacks both have plenty of strengths, but which is right for you: the cheaper Audi A1 or the larger Audi A3?...

Audi A3 2022 taillight and boot badge

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If you use our free New Car Buying service, you can currently get £756 off the Audi A1 that we’re testing here, and £1000 off the Audi A3, although that still means you’ll pay £3139 more for the A3 if you’re buying outright.

Similarly, the A1 works out quite a bit cheaper on a PCP finance agreement, with it coming in at £287 per month, compared with £341 for the A3, assuming a 48-month contract with an 8000-mile annual limit and a 15% deposit.

Audi A3 2022 climate controls

Surprisingly, though, the A3 should claw some of that back when it comes to running costs, because its official average fuel economy of 49.6mpg betters the A1’s 47.1mpg.

Both cars are expected to retain around 55% of their value over three years and 36,000 miles. But while the A3 sits one company car tax band lower, it's still the A1 that will cost a 40% taxpayer £27 per month less in benefit-in-kind tax, due to its lower P11d value.

In Sport spec, both come equipped with cruise control and automatic lights and wipers, but the A3 adds part leather seats and swaps the A1’s manual air conditioning for more sophisticated climate control.

Audi A1 Euro NCAP crash test

Sadly, despite having a reputation for class-leading engineering and built-quality, the words ‘Audi’ and ‘reliability’ don’t go together as well as you might think – indeed, they have often performed poorly in the annual What Car? Reliability Survey.

Fortunately, the words ‘Audi’ and ‘safety’ are a much better pairing, because both cars were awarded fives stars out of five when they were assessed by the independent experts at Euro NCAP. As standard, all A1 and A3 models come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and a lane departure warning system. You can add blind-spot monitoring and traffic sign assist as an option on the A3, but they’re not available on the A1.

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