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Used test – affordable convertibles: Audi A3 vs Peugeot 308 vs Volkswagen Golf

With spring in the air, a used convertible is a tempting prospect, and these three family-friendly four-seaters shouldn’t break the bank

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Audi A3 convertible rear

What will they cost?

There’s no two ways about it: the Audi A3 Cabriolet is the most expensive car here. It’ll cost you almost half as much again as the Peugeot 308 CC. That means if you’re shopping on a particular budget, you’ll have to settle for an older Audi, or one with a higher mileage or less equipment, than you will with the Peugeot.

The same is true of the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, though less so, as it slots in neatly about half way between the Audi and the Peugeot in terms of initial purchase cost.

That’s because the Audi has better residual values which means it’ll retain a greater proportion of its value than the other two when the time comes to sell.

What all this means is, that if you buy a Β£10,000 Audi, you’ll see more of your money back than if you buy a Β£10,000 Peugeot – but the Peugeot will be a newer, better car for that money. Or if you buy a Β£7000 Peugeot of equivalent age and specification to the Audi, it’ll cost you less in cash terms when the time comes to sell it on.

And where does the Golf fit into all of this? Well, once again, its residual values slot neatly in between those of the Audi and the Peugeot, so think of it as a half-way house between the other two cars – both in terms of its initial purchase price, and the amount you’ll get back when the time comes to sell.

While the Golf and the A3 are essentially the same underneath, the slightly lighter A3 is a tad easier on fuel, averaging 65.7mpg to the Golf’s 64.2mpg. However, both cars are considerably more efficient than the 308, with its 57.7mpg average figure.

Because road tax is based on carbon dioxide emissions, which are linked to fuel economy, the Peugeot will also cost you the most to tax. Its 128g/km emissions figure means it’ll cost you Β£110 a year to tax, whereas the other two will only cost you Β£30 each.

The Peugeot fights back with lower servicing costs than the other two cars; the Audi and Volkswagen will both cost you around the same to service, but the 308 is notably cheaper than both of them. All three manufacturers offer fixed-price menu servicing on cars which are over three years old at main dealers.

Both the 308 and the Golf have relatively decent reliability records, with above average scores in the What Car? Reliability Index, although the Peugeot has a reputation for niggling electrical issues, while there are few known, expensive faults that the Volkswagen can suffer from.

The A3, on the other hand, has a below-average score in the Reliability Index, and Audi finishes far below both Peugeot and Volkswagen in the latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, all of which suggests the Audi is the least reliable car of the three. It’s also worth noting that, depending on the engine you choose, both the Audi and the Volkswagen may have the spectre of the diesel emissions recall hanging over them – so make sure you read up on the current situation before taking the plunge.

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