Introduced a decade ago in Europe and brought to the United States in 2006, the A3 is Audi’s entry-level model for the North American market. Smaller and lighter than an A4 2.0T Avant Quattro, the front-drive Audi A3 presents a strong argument for buying a bargain sport wagon, provided one goes easy on the options. And just because this is Audi’s entry-level car doesn’t mean the company cuts corners on quality. The cabin’s design and materials are up to the lofty standards Audi has set for the industry, meaning everything fits tightly, moves with precision and looks and feels top-shelf.
The A3 remains an alternative choice — few luxury automakers bother making small hatchbacks. As such, it’s an upscale alternative to more mainstream hatchbacks, a cheaper alternative to a regular luxury wagon and, with the clean-burning diesel engine, an extremely-fuel efficient alternative to hybrids. No matter how you look at it, though, the A3 offers the distinct German flavor of Audi, meaning one of engineering excellence combined with an upscale cabin.