Audi A3 Sportback – Review

In April of this year, the Audi A3 received a facelift. The main points of interest were the addition of Audi’s virtual cockpit, which I used extensively in the A4, and the new 1.0TFSI engine. Although, I had the 1.4TFSI engine in mine and I loved it. So what makes this luxury family car so great?

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A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Audi A3 Sportback
Engine: 1.4 Petrol, 150hp and 250Nm.
Transmission: 7-Speed S-Tronic automatic, front-wheel drive.
Price: Prices start at €26,960 for the A3 range. Price as tested – €43,792.

Styling

The A3 is a compact, family car, also known as a C-segment car. The Sportback gives you the looks of a sporty hatch but with the practicality of a family car. DSC_0067-minUnlike its competitors, like the Mercedes A-Class, the A3 looks slim and fit. Its narrow body still incorporates a sporty stance. Audi have given the facelifted A3 more angular lines making it look more muscular. DSC_0061-minThese feature on the grill, front bumper and the creases down the side. Have Audi mistakenly made a Muscle car?…

However, the rear overhang looks awkward and gives it the same droopy bum look as the Q7.

Interior

But not only can the A3 fit the family, it can do so in luxury. Open the door and alcantara sport seats greet you. DSC_0082-minThe interior is nicely laid out and everything is within easy reach. Now available on the A3 is virtual cockpit. Everything is easily accessible through the digital display, right where the dials should be, making the A3 easy to negotiate.

In the back, space is not compromised. It is bright and spacious with enough leg room for 2 adults comfortably in the back. A third can fit in but at a squeeze.

On The Road

An automatic A3? Yep, I never though I’d say this but…its good! The S-tronic is damn good! The 7 gears change seamlessly and the right gear is there when you want it. DSC_0063-minThe test car had Drive Select which gives the driver options of different driving modes. In Comfort mode and with the stop/start engaged, taking off from the lights is jerky. Although turn off stop/start and all is well again. In Drive Select, an individual option is available too. This means you can have either comfortable suspension and sporty steering/gearshifts, or sporty suspension and efficient steering… the choice is yours!

The car weights just over 1200kg and it feels like it. Its not the lightest but with the help of electronic steering, it feels nimble.

As an option, Audi will offer paddles on the steering wheel with the S-Tronic gearbox.DSC_0084-min If you want a more engaging drive, this could be the way to go. Although, the gear shifter has a tip-tronic mode which allows you to change gears manually too.

Practicality/Boot Space

The A3 Sportback has a 380l boot which expands to 1,220l when the rear seats are folded. Decent cup holders are spread throughout the cabin and the door pockets are of a decent size.

Equipment

I think Audi know how to do tech. Their cars are usually that bit smarter than their rivals and the A3 is no exception. But unfortunately, these options are expensive. For example, adaptive cruise control is €634, front and rear parking sensors are €464 and dual climate control will set you back €830.

Running Costs

Based off combined motorway and city driving, I averaged 7.1l/100km during my week with the car.

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The car emits 115g/km of CO2 which equates to €200 in tax for the year.

Pricing

Prices start at €26,960 for the A3 range with the Sportback starting at €27,960. The price for this option-heavy test car comes in at€43,792.

Competition

Mercedes A-Class: Lower and bulkier than the A3, the A-Class looks good. The interior may be classier than the A3 but the A3 is smarter in terms of tech. Priced from €27,230, the A3 is cheaper.

Volkswagen Golf: In Highline trim, the Golf can be comparable to the A3. Priced from €26,740 for the Highline, it is cheaper than the A3 but doesn’t give you the same technology and luxury. But if you’re not after the flashy badge, the Golf is the way to go. 

Opel Astra: Similarly with the Golf, the Astra can be up against the A3 too when specced in the Elite Trim. It looks good and drives well with the right engine. The 1.4 Turbo emits the same HP as the Audi but is a bit noisier. Prices start at €26,995 for the Astra Elite range. 

Conclusion

Luxury, technology, youthfulness and good looks in one package, the A3 is a good car. Its versatile too, you can have it as a 3 door, 5 door, convertible or in the bonkers S3 and RS3  form. It suits everyone. Although a bit pricey, I reckon with the right options added to it you could have the perfect car.

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Bienvenue à la Citroën C3 en Irlande

On the road since 2002, Citroën have sold over 6,000 C3s to Irish customers. Now available to the Irish market is the new Citroën C3.

Priced from €15,490, the new B-segment hatchback is a fresh look to the usual suspects like the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. The car is available in three trim levels; Touch, Feel and Flair. With three roof and nine body colours to choose from, a possible 27 colour combinations are possible.

Citroën are aiming the new hatchback at younger buyers which is evident from the brave design. Citroën’s wacky and unique design language started out with the Cactus back in 2014 with the introduction of the Airbump panels. The idea behind the bubble wrap-like side trim bits are to protect the car from small tips, like from a shopping trolleys, for example. The Airbump panels are available as an option on the C3.

Inside, three interior ambiances are available; Urban Red, Colorado Tan and  Mica Grey. Much like the Cactus, the C3’s centre console is uncluttered thanks to the 7-inch touch screen. Everything, except for the hazards, windscreen demister and several other functions, are controlled from the touch screen. It is easy to navigate so you don’t find yourself getting lost in different menus unlike some other infotainment systems on the market. The seats are made partly with memory foam so are supposedly good for longer journeys.

In the rear, passengers will be thankful of the extra 22mm of extra leg room on the previous model. The boot has 300l available therefore making it on par with the Clio and up 10l on the Fiesta.

The C3’s pièce de résistance is ConnectedCam. This is a built in camera behind the rear view mirror that can be used as a dash cam or for taking pictures that can be added to social media.

As for the engines, the C3 is available with 3 petrols and 2 diesels and customers have the choice of either a 5 speed manual or a 6 speed automatic. The petrol engines range from 68hp to 110hp and the diesel from 75hp to 100hp.

Citroën predict that by the end of 2017 they will have registered 550 new C3s. What do you think? Do you like the new C3?