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Reader’s ride: 2013 Audi A3 1.4

2013-06-03 09:35

SPORTY GERMAN HATCHBACK: Kobus Louw says that despite issues with the transmission he has no regrets in purchasing his Audi A3 auto.


I never planned on purchasing the 2013 Audi A3 but I am not sorry that I did. The whole world seems to be on the crossover bandwagon.

If you look at most automakers you will notice their new models are taller, wider with bigger boot and interior space. 

Why are we offered larger cars that we actually do not need? 


Petrol is becoming expensive and with bigger cars you end up struggling to find parking. This was enough to make me consider smaller vehicles.
In 2010 I had a look at smaller premium hatchbacks like the Golf, which I have always liked but there was a new model coming out in January 2013, so that was a no-go.

I considered the Polo but was in the market for an auto. The Polo 1.6 auto was slow and weak and not that great on fuel economy. 

BMW’s 1 series was already a bit dated (apologies to the BMW fans) and was not what I was looking for.

Audi has the A1 on offer which was great but I could not have it with an auto and sunroof combination as it made the car too heavy and pushed it’s CO2 value over 120g. 

I was very disappointed and thought that this was just a ruse to get me to buy a bigger model….which happened anyway.

I had a budget and it was not to go over R300K and this is what I got - an Audi A3 1.4 TFSI auto with a sunroof. Since then I have not looked back and I’m very happy with my choice.

The engine is quiet and if pushed hard purrs like a kitten. It has a nice sound to it that makes you want it push it even harder.  It’s then that you remember you’re driving a turbocharged 1.4 capable of 90KW/200Nm.

It is amazing that on an uphill the car pulls in seventh gear without having to gear down. When you push the accelerator it will not gear down but pull stronger.

You won’t achieve the claimed 4.9 litres/100km but you’ll probably be in the region of 6 litres/100km, which I averaged. I commute 50% in the city and 50% on the highway. I think 6 litres/100km for its power isn’t that bad. 

The ride is super soft and even though this is a sportier car, it glides over most surfaces.  You cannot expect miracles and it will let you know when you hit a pothole or drive over a very rough surface, though your teeth will still be in place.

Cornering is brilliant and I am still trying to learn what the car is capable of. So far it has not disappointed at all.

The auto is great when on the move. The only issue I have with it is that when you crawl in very slow traffic, it tends to make the car jump a bit. It’s almost as if it’s not entirely engaged but then you give a bit more throttle and it engages quickly without warning.

I really feel uncomfortable when parked on an uphill or reversing and select drive to move forward. The gearbox does not engage until you really give a lot of throttle.
The car continues to roll back and you have to jump on the breaks otherwise you could knock something.  Strange that the hill hold does not work in this case.

The solution is to activate the electronic handbrake like one would in a manual and then pull off.

Audi like most German automaker have a reputation of not offering much standard equipment. I was pleasantly surprised that the A3 came with Bluetooth, which few people know that it can stream your music through your car radio. It depends of course on the phone you have.

I can confirm it works on both iPhone 5 and Samsung S3. 

There is also a multifunction steering wheel, electronic handbrake with hill hold, aircon, LEDs inside and of course Audi’s MMI infotainment system which is great. There’s also a CD player with an SD card slot which makes no sense as USB would be nicer.

Some features on my model were disabled like satnav but there were still plenty of options to customise and play around with. The MMI is a very simple system to use and very safe.

The fact that the ultra thin screen slides out and up of the dashboard ensures you keep your eyes partially on the road when selecting a song or making a call. The A3 also comes with voice command which works brilliantly but it still requires you to look at the screen and select the person you want to call. 

The manual aircon works well. I prefer it from climate control as I always end up changing the temperature anyway. I’m in my 40s, what can I say…

Inside, the model has quality materials. There's soft touch plastics all round and the lower areas have harder plastics but the quality is still excellent.

It’s a great car and even though some Korean brands offer more value for money, they will not offer the same level of quality and refinement.

I have recently owned a Kia Sportage and loved it, but it was lacking something. With my new car I now know what it was.

Should you buy an A3? 

Well if your budget allows it and you want fun and refinement in one package then please go and test-drive one. You will not be disappointed.

Read more about Kobus Louw’s Kia Sportage here!

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Read more on:    audi  |  south africa  |  a3  |  your wheels24  |  new models  |  reader

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