Product Reviews

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The compact Audi A3 was part of a wave of small luxury-branded models for buyers who have one eye on their budget and the other on gas prices. Derived from the Volkswagen Golf, the A3 might lack the posh, roomy environment and long list of features found in true luxury cars, but it's a solid, agile and sophisticated sedan that's enjoyable to drive.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
NA
2012
NA
2013
NA
2014
NA
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
NA
2012
NA
2013
NA
2014
NA
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard. Rear side air bags available.
Road Test

The compact Audi A3 was part of a wave of small luxury-branded models for buyers who have one eye on their budget and the other on gas prices. Derived from the Volkswagen Golf, the A3 might lack the posh, roomy environment and long list of features found in true luxury cars, but it's a solid, agile and sophisticated sedan that's enjoyable to drive. And, unlike some other entry-level luxury cars that veered away from their brand's DNA, this small car actually feels, drives and looks like an Audi.

With its agile handling, minimal body lean and quick response to steering inputs, the A3 carves up winding country roads with confidence. The steering is a bit vague on center and at low speeds, but it firms up nicely at higher speeds. The ride is quite firm, particularly at low speeds, but it does a commendable job of absorbing and isolating most bumps.Our front-wheel-drive A3 Premium came with Volkswagen's 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The only transmission is a six-speed automated manual. There is ample power once underway, but power delivery isn't fluid and the car feels flat off the line, leading to complaints from staffers about hesitation when pulling into traffic. We measured a commendable but not outstanding 27 mpg overall.To get Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, you'll need to step up to the livelier 220-hp turbocharged four cylinder. The interior is nicely finished and fairly quiet. The front seats are very comfortable. The rear seat is cramped, but this not surprising for a compact car.As you might expect at this price, you won't find a plush Audi cabin in the A3. The interior quality is pretty good, but it's rather businesslike, bordering on austere. The controls are almost identical to other Audi models and they can be somewhat complicated to use at first.Unlike the previous A3, which came only as a hatchback, the initial A3s were all sedans. A hatchback version with a plug-in hybrid powertrain was introduced for 2016.Thrifty diesel models and sporty S3 versions were also available.
Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
convertible
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Sequential
Engines Available
  • 1.4-liter 4 hybrid (204 hp)
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (170 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (292 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (220 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2016 Audi A3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

“Would rev high in first gear and sometime rev high in second”

Anonymous, ON (2016 Audi A3 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Transmission computer

“The car labors almost constantly in traffic. Audi tells me it's because they try to get the best MPG and their transmission computer is set to, for example be in 4th gear at 30 MPH, in 3rd gear at 20 MPH, etc. As a result the car is almost always over shifted at these lower type speeds”

Anonymous, MO (2016 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

“Chrome trim pieces on driver side front and rear windows has been replaced. The rear has been replaced twice”

Scott K., MI (2016 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“Side door trim was dinged when we bought the car. Took 2 trips to the dealer for them to fix it properly”

Anonymous, FL (2016 Audi A3 S3 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“No A/C. Compressor not working”

Anonymous, VT (2016 Audi A3 1.8T 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Refrigerant leaks

“Small hole in coolant tube that took the dealership mechanic two days to find. Initially all computer diagnostics said nothing was wrong but the low coolant light kept coming on”

Anonymous, UT (2016 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel pump

“There was a recall issued for the fuel pump 6 weeks after purchasing the vehicle”

Anonymous, LA (2016 Audi A3 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Turbo or supercharger

“Turbo was not installed correctly at the factory. Turbo had to be replaced 60 days after purchasing the car”

Anonymous, LA (2016 Audi A3 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen freezes up

“I've had a few cases where the display screen, which goes back and forth in the dash has frozen open and the only way to close it was to shut off the car. I've also had a few cases when the radio stops playing and it can't be turned back on except to shut off the car and start it again”

Anonymous, MO (2016 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Wind noise

“Lots of wind noise from drivers door took 3 trips and about 7 days to fix the problem. Turned out to be the side mirror”

Anonymous, FL (2016 Audi A3 S3 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“When getting into the car to back out it would not move even in gear. It too Audi a week or two to figure out and fix”

Anonymous, UT (2016 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

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