New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3: which is best?

The new Ford Focus is a fine family car, but is it a better buy than an award-winning used Audi A3 for similar money?...

New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3 studio

New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3 – driving

If ever there was a section that the Focus should sail through, it’s the driving section. With precise, well-weighted steering, a fluid ride that dismisses rough roads with aplomb and a wonderfully slick six-speed gearbox, things get off to a flying start. Body roll is kept in check and the whole car feels nice and nimble on a twisty B-road. Yet it cruises comfortably and quietly on the motorway with only the slightest hint of wind noise to interrupt the peace. Its turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine is refined when cruising, and any untoward three-cylinder thrum has been damped out.

New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3 driving

Problem is, when a 123bhp engine that has to haul around a car the size of the Focus is paired next to a 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, it’ll always come off worse. In the real world, this extra power and torque translate to much better acceleration when joining a busy A-road or motorway and fewer gear changes. And thanks to cylinder deactivation on the A3, the two should get similar fuel economy in day-to-day driving.

New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3 rear

The A3 is still very good to drive, and you can select from different driving modes. You’re better off leaving the steering in Normal or Comfort, though, since Dynamic is overly heavy. The ride is a little bit firmer than it is in the Focus and doesn’t deal with undulations quite as well, but you’d never find it truly harsh. Overall, the Focus is the better-handling car of the two, although the A3 offers better performance.  

New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3 – costs

The Focus is listed at £21,550, but our What Car? New Car Buying service can find you one for just £20,227. You get a three-year, 60,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty with it, plus £150 first year tax followed by a flat-rate fee of £145 every year thereafter. Fuel economy is good, with a WLTP average of 58.9mpg.

An A3 with the latest 1.5-litre petrol engine starts out at £25,135 when new, but after a year that has gone down to £19,000. You won’t get quite as long a warranty, but a fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg and an identical road tax of £145 means running costs are near enough the same.

New Ford Focus vs used Audi A3 side

According to our latest Reliability Survey. the Focus is still going through some teething-troubles because it came in 31st place out of 35 cars in the family category, whereas the A3 managed a 9th place result for petrol engines and 10th for diesels.

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