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Expert Rating

Audi A3 (2013 – 2020)

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Expert Rating

Summary


The third-generation Audi A3 first arrived in the UK as a three-door hatchback in early 2013, before the range was expanded to include the four-door saloon and five-door ‘Sportback’ hatchback. it was sold here in the UK until eaarly 2020, when it was replaced by the current, fourth-generation, A3 range.

The range included a plug-in hybrid, called the ‘Sportback e-tron’. More performance-focused S3 models were also available in all three body styles, while the hottest of hot hatches was the RS 3 model, which is not covered here. There was also a convertible version, called the A3 Cabriolet, which is covered on a separate page.

The A3 range was given a mid-life facelift in early 2016, which included various cosmetic changes and tech upgrades inside and out, but no major alterations.

Popular throughout its tenure, the third-generation Audi A3 received global acclaim from the outset, being crowned World Car of the Year in 2014. Reviewers continued to give the A3 range high marks after its mid-life facelift – Auto Trader concluded, “the Audi A3 is one of the best cars of its type, and well worthy of anyone’s consideration.”

Most motoring outlets were impressed by the A3’s premium-feel interior trim and the generous levels of equipment included as standard, as well as the car’s post-facelift exterior styling, its agile driving dynamics and the range of efficient engines available. Many reviewers who were given a test drive in the Sportback model also praised the five-door version’s improved practicality when compared to the original three-door model.

Facing off against upmarket rivals like the BMW 1 Series, the third-generation A3 received one consistent criticism during its lifespan – that the range was too expensive. Although entry-level models were reasonably affordable when new, top-spec models were much more expensive, leading to a few journalists wondering if paying the Audi premium was worth it. “A Volkswagen Golf does almost everything just as well for less money”, Carbuyer explained, “but the A3’s upmarket image will appeal to plenty of potential buyers.”

No longer in production, the third-generation Audi A3 holds an Expert Rating of 75%, based on 46 reviews published by the British motoring media.

A3 highlights

  • Comfortable and refined cabin
  • Quality range of engines
  • Attractive exterior styling
  • Plenty of on-board tech as standard
  • Low running costs

A3 lowlights

  • Strong brand image inflates used model price
  • Rivals offer more value-for-money
  • Reliability of the automatic gearbox is questionable
  • Larger alloys mean a firmer ride
  • BMW 1 Series has more driver’s appeal

Key specifications


Body style: Medium hatchback and saloon
Engines: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid
Price when new: From £19,365 on-road

Launched: Winter 2012/13
Last updated: Spring 2016
Replaced: Spring 2020


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

The Car Expert

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Auto Express

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Auto Trader

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Autocar

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Car

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Car Keys

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Carbuyer

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Carwow

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Company Car Today

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Daily Mirror

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Eurekar

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Evo

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Fleetworld

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Green Car Guide

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Heycar

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Honest John

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Motoring Research

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Motors.co.uk

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Parkers

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The Sun

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The Sunday Times

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The Telegraph

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Top Gear

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What Car?

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Which?

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Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

No safety rating

The Audi A3 was originally crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2012 and awarded a five-star rating. However, this rating expired in January 2018 and is no longer valid as the car no longer meets the standards required for such a rating.

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

No eco rating

The third-generation Audi A3 was not lab tested by Green NCAP during its production life.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Audi A3 received

2019

  • What Car? Used Car Awards – Used Car of the Year

2017

  • Business Car Awards – Best Compact Premium Car
  • Fleet News Awards – Best Compact Premium Car
  • What Car? Awards – Best Family Car (Sportback) + Best Executive Car between £25k-£30k (saloon)

2016

  • SME Company Car Awards – Best Green Car (Sportback e-tron)

2015

  • Business Car Awards – Best Mainstream Segment Car
  • Carbuyer Awards – Best Small Luxury Car (Sportback)
  • What Car? AwardsBest Electrified Car (Sportback e-tron)

2014

  • World Car AwardsWorld Car of the Year + Best Small Hatchback
  • carwow Awards – Best Hybrid (Sportback e-tron)
  • What Car? AwardsBest Executive Car (saloon)

2013

  • iF Design Awards – Gold Award
  • Scottish Car of the Year Awards – Best Executive Car (saloon)
  • What Car? AwardsCar of the Year + Best Small Family Car (Sportback)

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Audi A3, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Alfa Romeo Giulietta | BMW 1 Series | Citroën C4 | Fiat Tipo | Ford Focus | Honda Civic | Hyundai i30 | Kia Ceed | Mazda 3 | Mercedes-Benz A-Class | Mini Countryman | Peugeot 308 | Renault Megane | SEAT Leon | Skoda Scala | Skoda Octavia | Toyota Corolla | Vauxhall Astra | Volkswagen Golf

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Best car rankings

Want to see how this car ranks against its rivals?

The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites

Audi A3 (2013 - 2020)Available as a hatchback and saloon, the third-generation Audi A3 (2013 to 2020) was praised for its comfortable cabin and efficient engines.