Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI SE Technik S tronic (16 inch wheels)

Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI SE Technik S tronic (16 inch wheels)

Small Family Cars

2. Audi A3

Model/Engine size:
Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI SE Technik S tronic (16 inch wheels)
Fuel economy combined:
72.4 mpg (WLTP)
Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI SE Technik S tronic (16 inch wheels)


The A3 has been a massive sales success for Audi. The combination of the iconic badge on a family hatch has proved a winning formula. The slick marketing, and indeed the lofty asking price suggest that the A3 is a cut above the many mainstream offerings in this class, but is that reputation justified?

The first thing to say is that the A3 is a good looking car. Audi has perfected the ‘hwen from rock’ look, and whilst there is no doubting the road presence created by the huge grille, overall the A3 is quite subtle. On the inside the dashboard is clean looking but particularly in SE trim it does look very basic, not helped by the manual air conditioning controls. The truth is that even mainstream rivals deliver more interesting interiors which not only look more interesting but also look more sophisticated.

It’s a similar story on the mechanical front, the 1.6 TDI engine provides average performance and good but not class leading fuel economy. Thankfully the days when Audi fitted back breaking suspension to a family car are gone. The A3 rides very well but show it a corner and you quickly realise that whilst it is composed and grippy there is no fun to be had. Many of the competitors do a better job of balancing ride and handling, but the Ford Focus in particular delivers both in spades which makes you wonder why Audi can’t.

To get the best fuel consumption you do need to tick the box for the 7 speed S tronic gearbox. As a dual clutch automatic it delivers searingly fast gear changes but it can be frustratingly slow to engage when pulling away, which can lead to some hairy moments getting out of junctions. On the plus side it does help to keep fuel consumption in check and with 7 gears to pick from you are never short of options.

The A3 is feeling its age a little. It doesn’t have the best interior in the premium sector, and it is even bettered by many mainstream models despite being more expensive. It also fails to engage the driver, and whilst fuel economy is very good it isn’t class leading. However for many buyers the pull of that iconic badge is too much to resist.


Fuel economy, extra urban:
76.3 mpg
Fuel economy, urban:
68.9 mpg
CO2 emissions:
103 g/km
First year £165, then £140 a year
1285 Kg
BIK Company Car Tax (2018/19):
Insurance group:
114 bhp
Max speed:
125 mph
10.4 seconds
184 lb ft @ 1,500 – 3,200 rpm