The compact Audi A3, with prices starting around low $30,000, is the latest in 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 4 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 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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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
2019
NA
2020
NA
2021
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.
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
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
2019
NA
2020
NA
2021
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.
Road Test

The compact Audi A3, with prices starting around low $30,000, is the latest in 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 have veered away from their brand's DNA, like the Lexus CT and Mercedes-Benz CLA, 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.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD, Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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
  • 7-speed Sequential
  • 6-speed Sequential
Engines Available
  • 1.4-liter 4 hybrid (204 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (220 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (292 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (186 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2017 Audi A3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Android Auto

"Sometimes it hooks up and works, sometimes it won't hook up, sometimes it flips between working and not working. Very frustrating, since it's one of the selling points of skipping in-car nav. My phone is new enough that I don't think it is the problem, the internet reports others have issues but no real fixes offered by Audi. And the satellite radio also intermittently doesn't work, which is the most frustrating"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Apple CarPlay

"Often doesn’t turn on."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen freezes up

"virtual cockpit display had to be completely replaced by the dealership"

Anonymous, VA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen goes blank

"Map display on center console would flicker and then go blank"

Edward N., CA (2017 Audi A3 S3)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Syncing music from my iPhone doesn’t work reliably. System locks in one song or playlist or freezes in shuffle mode even though I never select shuffle mode."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"the ICE and Android don't play well together, although ironically my wife's iPhone seems to get along just fine. And since it's intermittent, and my software seems to be the latest version, they can't figure it out. If I was someone who needed to use nav a lot, this would be a real disaster. Yes I know, first world problems ....."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Traffic updates are too slow and lousy! System is confusing in the way it displays and gives auditory directions. Disappointing considering the high price."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Freezes up constantly, doesn’t hold blue tooth connection, music streaming unreliable, GPS freezes, screen goes blank. This is all part of the $3000 Audi MMI system which has been replaced and the replacement unit is even worse."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Radio

"The Sirius radio will not connect approximately 10% of the time upon start-up."

Anonymous, VT (2017 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

Squeaks or rattles

"a rattle in the right side dash board near the window column when going over big bumps"

Anonymous, VA (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Sunroof squeaks, particularly when open as in 'vent/ tilt' operation."

Scott S., CA (2017 Audi A3 S3 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"These cars seem to have common problems with sunroof rattling and squeaking, especially when going over speed bumps or going around turns that cause chassis flex."

Anonymous, (2017 Audi A3 S3 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The panoramic sunroof has some squeaks, sounds like body flex. There used to be a noise from the passenger side C pillar, but turns out it was actually the seat back attachment (metal clip on metal ring) a bit of electrical tape around the ring seems to help. I had taken the vehicle in check on this once without success. The driver door speaker also makes noise, especially under "heavy" acceleration and high revs. I took the door card off and the speaker seems tightly attached, so it may be feedback from the fake engine sounds."

Anonymous, NC (2017 Audi A3 S3)

"sound system cause vibrations which required a service call to install a fix"

Anonymous, CT (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Transmission leaks

"transmission leak was evident because of fluid on garage floor. Based on the location, it was apparently the same leak that we took the car in for a year prior."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"Shifting became rough. Service said a leak in the transmission fluid filter caused a leak, causing rough shifting."

Anonymous, IL (2017 Audi A3 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Took the car in for routine service where a fluid leak was identified. It took the dealer more than 3 weeks to fix it."

Jane S., CA (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"Dealer says there was physical damage to the front pre-collision sensor, and would not replace it under warranty. Replacing the sensor would cost $2000. Audi said they would split the cost, but dealer did not want to participate. I decided not to replace it."

Andreas L., VT (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Passenger seat airbag disable weight sensor. Was replaced by the warranty."

Nikolai O., CA (2017 Audi A3 S3)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"Light comes on in my car saying engine coolant low pull car over immediately. We called Audi, and they said it had to be towed. We were on a road trip. It ended up being the hybrid battery coolant and it was just a little low. They said it's a sealed system and it just need to be filled every 2-3 years (claim it's normal). I had just had it in for normal service about a month prior and if it was normal you'd think they would have topped it off. So expect to be stranded every 2-3 years or get someone to top off a sealed system."

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Radiator

"At 1000km developed cracked weld in radiator with coolant leak requiring a new radiator."

Thomas D., ON (2017 Audi A3 2.0T 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"I brought the car in for a recall on the electrical system and they had it 29 days...said the main battery module for hybrid systems had failed and needed need big battery shipped from Germany..had to get it out of their garage due to "explosive" risks in shop. Couldn't find the problem after 3 weeks. Battery came in and they were going to put 2 techs on it rebuilding the hybrid system!! Lo and behold on the 29th day it was fixed..It wasn't the big hybrid problem after all...just a computer issue and I could pick it up! (Sounded fishy to me!) I drove it home and hybrid battery zonked immediately...after about 5 miles and engine light on!! Read about others having issues...big cover up...I was leaving for Arizona the next day and they wanted me to bring it back and I told them I couldn't do that as I was leaving and didn't want it to sit at their garage all winter!! They said they would have someone bring it back and put in my garage...I said NO WAY...I am not having something with explosive fire risks sit in my garage for months and I would bring it in when I got back. Input it in storage at my rv storage place..This should have been a lemon law thing but they dumped it back on me to avoid the 30 day lemon law rule!! I had the previous version 2011 Audi A3 diesel fraud car and went back to this non diesel hybrid piece of crap as I liked the car...liked this car but now afraid to plug it o. In my garage!! Audi needs to be investigated. Clearly some major issues and sneak maneuvers!! I would be afraid to leave this car plugged in in my garage...should be a buyer beware situation!! I will NEVER buy another Audi!!! People banned to know about this!"

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"check engine light coming on periodically and range on the battery has gone down; these have allegedly been fixed with a recent software update."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Audi A3)

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.

What Owners Say

Sunroof

"Wasn't the sunroof itself, but the trim piece that outlines the front and sides of sunroof (it's a U-shaped piece) cracked. One crack on each front corner."

Anonymous, NC (2017 Audi A3 S3)

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.

What Owners Say

Wheel bearings

"Wheel bearing failed on the front right at 22,000 miles. It was replaced free of charge under warranty."

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

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.

What Owners Say

Interior lights

"At the port the tech disconnected a wire for the interior light and the sunroof and lights need not work. The dealer never caught it, did not show me how the sunroof worked"

Edward N., CA (2017 Audi A3 S3)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Refrigerant leaks

"Drove the car on a long trip on a hot day. The air conditioner stopped working. The air seemed cool, but the strength of the blower was low. Turned AC off and then back on after 30 minutes where it appeared to work OK. This repeated several times during the trip. Dealer could find no problems other than the charge was low and they recharged the system."

Anonymous, CA (2017 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

What Owners Say

Electronic ignition

"See above..problem not yet resolved"

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Emission light came on. Didn't notice any gas mileage or performance issues. It took Audi 5 days to fix it do to the type of part and where it was located. Received a loaner car."

Jeffrey C., AZ (2017 Audi A3 e-tron 1.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Drive System

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

Paint/Trim

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

Engine Major

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

Brakes

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

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