Audi A1 vs Audi A3: interiors

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

Audi A1 2022 dashboard


Driving position, visibility, build quality

Finding a comfortable driving position in the Audi A1 is easy, and that’s whether you’re 5ft 3in or 6ft 3in. The seat, steering wheel and pedals all line-up neatly, and the wheel also has plenty of adjustment for both reach and height.

It’s the same story in the Audi A3, although we do find that the front seats in the range-topping Vorsprung model offer useful extra lower back support on a long drive, because they feature a greater range of lumbar adjustment than those of Sport-spec A3s (and A1s).

In the A1, forward visibility is good, thanks to its slim windscreen pillars, but your over-the-shoulder view is quite compromised. This is mitigated by the fact that rear parking sensors are standard on Sport trim, but you have to pay extra if you want front sensors or a reversing camera.

Audi A3 2022 dashboard

Things are better in the A3, where the rear pillars are usefully slimmer so that you get a good all-round view. And once again, rear parking sensors are standard.

The dashboard layouts of these cars are similar, with each featuring physical climate controls (instead of fidlier touch-sensitive ones). And while the infotainment systems are based around touchscreens (see below) that are more distracting to use on the move than the rotary dial interfaces of the BMW 1 Series and Mini hatchback, they respond swiftly to commands

As a bonus, many functions can also be operated via steering wheel-mounted controls linked to menus on the driver's digital instrument display.

Audi A1 2022 Virtual Cockpit display

In the A1 this display measures 10.3in, but you aren’t able to significantly customise its layout unless you add the pricey Technology Pack. By contrast, the A3 gets the more customisable display as standard, and there’s the option to upgrade to a larger and crisper 12.3in screen.

Interior quality was one of the original Audi A1’s greatest strengths, whereas the new model doesn’t feel significantly classier than the closely related and cheaper Volkswagen Polo.

Similarly, the latest A3 doesn’t feel as classy as its predecessor, because the dashboard’s prominent edge isn’t especially pleasant to the touch, and there are some cheaper feeling plastics on the centre console. However, it does feel plusher than the A1 – as you’d expect, given that it’s a more expensive car.

Infotainment systems

Audi A1

Audi A1 2022 touchscreen

The touchscreen in the A1 is an 8.8in unit that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring so you can use it to control selected apps, such as Google Maps and Waze. If you specify the optional Technology Pack, it’s upgraded to a 10.1in screen with more features and larger icons that are easier to hit.

Audi A3

Audi A3 2022 touchscreen

The A3 gets the larger, 10.1in touchscreen as standard and, as in the A1, the standard stereo has six speakers and is reasonably punchy. In both cars, specifying the Comfort and Sound Pack brings a more powerful Bang & Olufsen system.

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