$9,821 - $11,973

2012 Audi A3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Audi A3 was new.


Interior: 8.0

Reviewers are pleased with the interior of the 2012 Audi A3, which they say is upscale and practical. As with other Audi models, the A3’s interior is well-built. The industry, however, complains about two things. First, the Audi A3 is short on passenger space. Second, reviewers complain about Audi’s confusing control interface.

  • "Just as with other Audi interiors, the A3's cabin adopts an understated and classy design language. For the most part, materials are high quality, with metallic vent surrounds and knobs lending a decidedly upscale feel. There are a few more hard plastic elements than you'll find in other Audi models, however, but they are well textured to blend in seamlessly." -- Edmunds
  • "Again, like its more expensive siblings, the A3's cabin is handsomely assembled from tasteful, high-quality materials." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Small outside, big inside." -- Car and Driver
  • "Up front, the A3 gets a slightly more upscale if austere interior treatment than its VW-badged siblings. The predominantly black interior comes off as almost spartan, apart from the aluminum trim rings around the vents and the latch for the glove box." -- Autoblog


The biggest drawback with the Audi A3’s seating is cramped rear seats. Taller adults can sit in the back, but it will be a tight fit. Some adults may even find the front seats uncomfortable. Give the A3 a thorough test drive before purchasing, especially if you have frequent back-seat passengers. For more rear space, consider the Volkswagen GTI.

  • “The driver seat may not have enough forward travel for shorter folks, while the rear seat is cramped for taller ones." -- Edmunds
  • "Headroom and legroom are barely adequate, even with a seat not set far back. The cushion is nicely padded but not long enough for good thigh support. Doors open wide, but the passage is narrow, hampering entry and exit." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

Standard features on the base Premium model include dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, a 10-speaker audio system, six-way power-adjustable front seats, satellite radio and an auxiliary input. The Premium Plus model adds an eight-way power driver’s seat and Bluetooth, among other features. Reviewers like all of the A3’s features, but complain that the optional navigation system, which is controlled through a single knob and absorbs many audio controls, is tough to use.

  • "Lane guidance, topographic maps, and speed limit data make the navigation system much more useful to drivers." -- CNET
  • "Like costlier Audis, A3s impress with clear gauges, though their complex dual-zone climate controls require familiarization. A single dashboard control knob governs most navigation functions on models so equipped. The navigation system is difficult to program and absorbs many audio controls, complicating what would otherwise be simple adjustments." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It's likely that the navigation system will be a popular option for buyers, but operation may present some minor challenges. The screen, while large and clear, is not controlled by touch. Rather, it makes use of Audi's MMI controller. This wouldn't be a problem if the controller was situated on the center console, but instead it's located inconveniently on the dash." -- Edmunds


The 2012 Audi A3’s cargo capacity is competitive for its class. It has 19.5 cubic feet of total cargo capacity with all seats in use, and 39 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. There’s also plenty of space for storing personal odds and ends.

  • "A3 has less space than a small station wagon but is far more versatile than a compact sedan. The hatch door lifts high for access to a usefully roomy, flat-floor cargo bay. The rear seat backs fold easily to extend the load area but don't lay completely flat. The cabin has good small-item storage." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Cargo capacity is more favorable, as the 20 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats can easily accommodate large suitcases and golf bags with ease. A rear-seat center pass-through allows for longer items while still carrying passengers. The seats fold down, but not flat, expanding capacity to 39 cubes." -- Edmunds

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