Used test: Audi A3 vs Mercedes-Benz A-Class - costs

These two premium-brand offerings are a cut above your usual used family car, but are the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class really worth the extra cost?...

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

What will they cost?

Our current purchase price figures suggest that the Mercedes 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 for it is far higher as a result. You’ll have to set aside a greater budget if it’s the Mercedes that 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 over time, you’ll probably actually lose fractionally less in cash terms, simply because the price is lower to start with.

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

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

The Audi is the cheaper of the two cars to service, too. Mercedes-Benz offers a few fixed-price servicing options, but for two subsequent services from a franchised Mercedes dealer, it'll cost you £792 to maintain the A-Class. The A3, for context, will only set you back £384 for the same two services.

According to the latest What Car? Reliability Survey data, the A3 should be a more reliable option than the A-Class since the Audi finished in 10th, while the Mercedes was down in 16th out of a class of 31 family cars. Safety is also marginally in favour of the A3; its ratings were higher in all areas than those of the A-Class.

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