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Used test – posh hatches: Audi A3 vs Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Their badges imply they're a cut above your usual family car. But are the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class really worth the extra cost?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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What will they cost?

Our current purchase price figures, which are based on actual cars for sale at the time of writing, suggest that the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has retained more of its value than the Audi A3. That sounds like a good thing, but the downside is that the price you’ll have to pay is far higher as a result, meaning you’ll have to set aside a greater budget if it’s the Mercedes you want – or make do with a higher-mileage or older example.

Conversely, the Audi is cheaper to buy, and even though it’ll lose a greater percentage of its value, you’ll probably actually lose fractionally less in cash terms, simply because the price is lower to start with.

The case for the Audi builds when you look at fuel consumption and tax. The official figures suggested put its average fuel consumption at 68.9mpg, to the Merc’s 62.8mpg. The consequent lower emissions figures mean the Audi costs less to tax, too – although the difference is minimal, at Β£20 per year to the Merc’s Β£30.

The Audi is the cheaper of the two cars to service, too. Mercedes-Benz doesn’t offer a fixed-price servicing option, meaning getting your A-Class serviced at a dealer will cost you a far more, and even at an independent specialist, the cost to service the A3 will be lower.

In fact, the only area in which the Mercedes has potential costs in its favour is in terms of reliability. We don’t have individual data on each of these models, but Mercedes-Benz has consistently finished higher than Audi in the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study which suggests that the A-Class may be a more reliable option than the A3.

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