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Used test: Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class: interiors

The Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class drape their luxuries over familiar family car shapes, offering used savings of around £14,000 off new. Which should you choose? We have the answer...

Audi A3 vs Mini Clubman


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

The Mercedes A-Class feels like a high-quality product, thanks to materials that look and feel expensive.

You operate the audio and sat-nav functions by scrolling through menus using a rotary dial between the front seats. Unfortunately, the menus are not particularly intuitive, so the system can be frustrating to use, especially on the move.

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

The menu system in the Audi A3 is much more user-friendly. You control it with a dial on the centre console in much the same way as you do the A-Class, but the on-screen menus are more instinctive and there are shortcut keys to help speed things up.

What’s more, the A3 has an even classier feel than the A-Class. The interior features the sort of materials you’d usually expect to find in an executive saloon, and the beautifully weighted switchgear and millimetre-perfect panel gaps add to the feeling that no expense has been spared.

Audi A3 boot

The A3 we’ve tested here is a three-door model, giving the five-door Mercedes an obvious advantage in terms of practicality. However, getting into the back of the A-Class requires some stooping because the roofline juts into the door openings.

If you want a truly practical car, your best bet is to go for the five-door version of the A3, called the Sportback. It commands a small premium over the three-door, but it’s worth the extra. It still works out cheaper than the A-Class, yet makes the A3 much more practical.

Mercedes A-Class

Once you’re inside, both cars have enough space to comfortably accommodate four six-footers. There’s slightly more leg room in the back of the A-Class, but less head room. Both cars can seat five at a push, but only for short trips.

The A3's boot is longer, deeper and ultimately bigger than the A-Class's. While quite a bit wider, the boot in the A-Class suffers from a narrow opening.

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