Flash Drive: 2009 Audi A3 2.0T
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2006 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The A3 may be the smallest car in Audi's lineup, but the compact 5-door packs in plenty of fun and utility. Not your typical entry-level hatchback, the A3 feels like an Audi, with a premium interior that uses high-end materials and leather trim. The rear seat is a bit tight, but still usable for two adults. Cargo area is spacious, even more so when the rear seats are folded flat. The large glass hatch makes loading large items easy and offers excellent rear visibility. But the best place in this car is behind the wheel. The A3 is great fun on twisty roads because of its excellent handling and precise steering. The ride is stiff, but not so much so as to compromise ride comfort. The turbocharged engine provides plenty of power and is also fuel-efficient — even driving aggressively I never achieved less than 20 mpg. – Perry Stern
Combine one of the best interiors in the business with a turbocharged engine and an agile sport hatchback body and you have created a great all-around vehicle. The hatchback is able to carry items for weekend travel and can even stow a bike when the seats are folded down. The A3 I tested came with a 6-speed manual transmission, which completely transforms the vehicle when compared with the automatic DSG transmission. The manual makes the car seem faster. The clutch is super light, and while the clutch throws could be shorter, the entire setup is good. The center console had a shift indicator to help you improve gas mileage. While the computer stated I hit 35 mpg, in actuality I achieved 27 mpg in mixed driving. The interior is well-designed and comfortable. The rear seats are tight on legroom for tall adults and may be uncomfortable during long road trips. For such a great-looking car, in and out, the A3 is a very functional performer. – Joe Chulick
I don't wear suits to work, but the Audi A3 feels the way I imagine an expensive suit would feel. It has stylish, sophisticated looks, it fits great, and it inspires confidence. The manual transmission is incredibly smooth, and the expensive-looking dashboard makes excellent recommendations on exactly which gear to be in (including accurate recommendations on when to shift from second to fourth or similar). The A3 feels expensive when driven sedately, and it feels racy when you're in the mood. Like other compact hatchbacks, the trunk area isn't too big. But there's plenty of interior room for passengers. Sitting in the A3 made me feel like I had good taste, and even a little panache. – Paul Hagger