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MSRP: $32,500 - 56,200

2019 Audi A3 Review

The 2019 Audi A3 finishes in the bottom half of our luxury small car rankings. It's athletic, fun to drive, and loaded with features, but it suffers from a below-average predicted reliability rating and it lacks the all-around excellence of some class rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of tech features
  • Excellent ride and handling
  • Energetic engines
  • Smallish rear seats and trunk
  • Some rivals are more upscale inside
  • Unimpressive predicted reliability rating

Is the Audi A3 a Good Car?

Yes, the Audi A3 is a good car. Available as a sedan or a convertible, it comes with lively engines and a well-built cabin with lots of tech features. It also has comfortable front seats, good handling, and a smooth ride. Still, there are some areas where the A3 lags behind its classmates. Most other small sedans have larger trunks, and some have richer, more stylish interiors than the Audi. The A3 also has a below-average predicted reliability rating.

Should I Buy the Audi A3?

There are plenty of reasons why this Audi belongs on your shopping list. Several are listed above, but perhaps the best reason is that the A3 carries a lower base price than most competitors. That makes this Audi a strong value, even in this highly competitive class. Still, there are many other intriguing choices, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the BMW 3 Series.

Compare the A3, C-Class, and 3 Series »

Should I Buy a New or Used Audi A3?

The 2019 A3 belongs to a generation that began with the 2015 model year. The biggest change for 2019 is the discontinuation of the A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid, which was the only A3 available in a hatchback body style or as an electrified vehicle. There's also some feature shuffling between trims.

This is not the only model year of the current A3 generation that sees noticeable changes. For 2018, heated front seats and two USB ports became standard. The high-performance RS 3 also debuted for 2018.

For 2017, a 186-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine replaced the 170-horsepower base engine. Audi also refreshed the MMI infotainment system to include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The e-tron plug-in hybrid model debuted for 2016, and parking sensors and a rearview camera became standard for the base model.

If these additions aren't important to you, consider saving money by shopping for an older A3. To further research the used models in this generation, read our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 Audi A3. If you decide that an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 A3 »

We Did the Research for You: 40 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current A3 generation, which runs from 2015 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Audi A3 Cost?

The base A3 starts at $32,500. That's one of the lowest base prices in the class. There are several higher trim options, and a more expensive cabriolet (convertible) body style is available too. The most expensive A3 is the range-topping RS 3, which starts at $56,200. That's in the middle of the pack for what a top trim costs in this class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi A3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Audi A3 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Like the A3, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes in sedan and convertible body styles. However, this Mercedes is also available as a coupe. The C-Class provides a premium interior and lots of tech features. Both of these German cars have similar passenger and cargo space, and they also provide plenty of powertrain options, though the Mercedes' high-performance models are much more powerful than the Audi's. These are both good cars. While the Mercedes may be slightly better overall, it's also much more expensive. Some shoppers may find that the Audi is a better value.

Which Is Better: Audi A3 or BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series costs a bit more than the A3, but it also finishes higher in our class rankings than its rival German sedan. The 3 Series is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the class. It looks great inside, and its rear seat can hold a couple of adults. The 3 Series has more trunk space than the A3 as well. The Audi comes with a couple more standard features than the BMW, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but that's its main advantage over the BMW.

Which Is Better: Audi A3 or Audi A4?

The Audi A4 bests its little sibling in almost every way. The A3's most powerful engine has a higher horsepower rating than any A4 model, and the A3 has a slightly lower starting price. However, the A4 is a better choice overall than the A3 for most buyers. The A4 can comfortably ferry adults in the back seat and has a slightly larger trunk than the A3. The larger Audi also has one of the most upscale interiors in the class.

Compare the A3, C-Class, and 3 Series »

A3 Interior

How Many People Does the A3 Seat?

This small Audi seats four or five, depending on the body style. Up front, passengers enjoy plenty of space and all-day comfort. The rear seats are a bit cramped, though you get more room in the back of the A3 than you do in some similarly sized rivals.

A3 and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing child seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the A3's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

A3 Interior Quality

The A3 continues Audi’s tradition of building top-quality interiors, but some of its class rivals (which are admittedly pricier) are more luxurious inside. Still, its build quality and materials are exquisite.

A3 Cargo Space

This small sedan doesn't have as much trunk space as some of its classmates, with just over 12 cubic feet (10 cubic feet in AWD models). That's enough room for about nine grocery bags. Cabriolet models have less room, with just under 10 cubic feet with the top up and about 7 cubic feet with the top down.

A3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include a panoramic sunroof and the MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch display, a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Available features include wireless phone charging and an upgraded MMI system with MMI touch (which can recognize handwriting), a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, and navigation. Also available is Audi's Virtual Cockpit, which is a 12.3-inch digital screen that displays navigation and media info along with the driver's gauges.

The A3's MMI infotainment interface features crisp graphics with an intuitive menu layout. The system responds quickly to requests, and you can operate it using a touchpad atop a controller knob, which is mounted between the seats.

Read more about interior »

A3 Performance

A3 Engine: No Bad Options

Even the A3's 184-horsepower base engine feels energetic and moves this Audi well in all situations. Still, there are several other options if you want more power. AWD models have a 228-horsepower four-cylinder, and there are two high-performance options: the S3 with its 288-horsepower turbo-four and the RS 3, which comes with a 394-horsepower turbocharged five-cylinder.

A3 Gas Mileage: Pretty Good Ratings

The A3 gets good fuel economy ratings for the class: 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The S3 gets 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

A3 Ride and Handling: A Winner on Both Counts

The A3 comes standard with front-wheel drive and is available with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which gives you plenty of road grip even in inclement weather. It also helps make the A3 one of the most athletic small sedans. The ride remains composed even when the pavement gets rough.

Read more about performance »

A3 Reliability

Is the Audi A3 Reliable?

The 2019 A3 earns a below-average predicated reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Audi A3 Warranty

Audi covers the A3 with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

A3 Safety

A3 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 A3 an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the A3 a 2019 Top Safety Pick, the agency’s second-highest honor. The IIHS also gave it the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests.

A3 Safety Features

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and Audi Pre Sense Front (forward collision warning and brake assist). The A3 also comes standard with Audi Pre Sense Basic, which is a system that prepares the car for an impact by closing the windows and sunroof, activating the hazard warning lights, and tightening seat belts.

Available features include adaptive cruise control, parallel park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and Audi side assist, which helps with changing lanes.

Read more about safety »

Which Audi A3 Model Is Right for Me?

The A3 comes in several trims, and there are two body styles (sedan and convertible). The two most expensive models are performance oriented, and the extra athleticism they deliver likely won't justify the price increase for most buyers.

Shoppers should consider the base A3 Premium trim, which comes with plenty of standard features and sports one of the lowest price tags in the class. If you want more high-end features, step up to the A3 Prestige, which offers almost every feature you can get in this Audi and still costs less than the high-performance S3 and RS 3.

Audi A3 Premium

The A3 Premium carries a base price of $32,500. It comes with a 184-horsepower turbo-four engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. For $3,100, you can add Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which also comes with a 228-horsepower engine.

Standard features include a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and the MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch display screen, a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

A3 Premium cabriolet models start at $38,900. They have the same features, though the convertible also comes with a power-folding soft top.

Audi A3 Premium Plus

The A3 Premium Plus starts at $36,500 ($42,300 for the cabriolet). In addition to the base trim's standard features, the Premium Plus comes with push-button start, wireless phone charging, Audi side assist, and rear cross traffic alert.

Upgrading to AWD and the 228-horsepower engine costs $3,100. You can add Audi's Virtual Cockpit, navigation, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system as part of an option package for $3,200.

Audi A3 Prestige

The A3 Prestige sports a starting price of $41,700 ($47,100 for the cabriolet). Standard features include adaptive cruise control, parallel park assist, Audi's Virtual Cockpit, and an upgraded MMI system with MMI touch, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, and navigation. As with the lower trims, you can get AWD and the 228-horsepower engine for $3,100.

Audi S3 and RS 3

The S3 and RS 3 are the two performance-oriented versions of this Audi sedan, and both come with Quattro all-wheel drive. The S3 comes with a sport suspension and a turbo-four engine that produces 288 horsepower. The S3 is available in Premium Plus ($44,500) and Prestige ($49,800) trims.

The RS 3 is the big boy of the lineup, and it starts at $56,200. It features a 394-horsepower turbocharged five cylinder engine and a magnetic ride suspension. This model only comes in one trim.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

See 2019 Audi A3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Audi A3 brings plenty to the table, including engaging performance and a quality interior that's packed with features. There are some areas where it trails class rivals, and in such a competitive class, that is enough to knock the A3 into the bottom half of our rankings. Still, this sedan deserves a look from any shopper looking for a luxury small car.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "With a base price starting around $33,000, it's easy to load up a 2018 Audi A3 Sedan or Cabriolet convertible with familiar Audi luxury features and still walk away for less than $40K. The sport-oriented S3 and RS 3 offer sizzling performance, but at a hefty price. … The 2018 Audi A3 doesn't have the same visual pop as a Mercedes-Benz CLA or an Infiniti QX30, and you'll find a better price and more legroom in an Acura ILX. Although its base price is attractive, once you start piling on options, the A3/S3 can easily approach the $50,000 mark." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Just because it has a premium badge doesn't mean it's out of your reach. Attractive, upscale and fun to drive, the 2017 Audi A3 sets the standard for the new smaller crop of entry-level luxury cars." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The 2017 Audi S3 starts at $43,850, but can reach $56,000 when loaded up. Although the price may seem a bit high due to the car's lack of refinement in some respects, the car keeps its promise on cornering, power, and overall performance, which are much more important qualities for this car." -- Motor Trend (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: April 12, 2019

Slowing Demand: The Audi A3’s sales sit in the middle of the pack within the luxury small car class, although numbers have sharply declined by 40.4 percent this year compared to the same period in 2018. Both of its segment siblings, the Audi A4 and A5 Sportback, are more popular than the small A3. The slightly larger A4 is currently outselling it over 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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