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2016 Audi A3 Review

The 2016 Audi A3 finishes in the middle of our luxury small car rankings. It's fun to drive and has user-friendly tech features, but its below-average reliability rating holds it back.

Pros & Cons

  • Thrilling performance
  • Straightforward tech
  • Elegant interior
  • Cramped back seats
  • Tiny trunk
  • Subpar reliability rating

New for 2016

  • Rearview camera and parking sensors made standard
  • New e-tron plug-in hybrid trim available




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Audi A3 Overview

Is the 2016 Audi A3 a Good Used Car?

Yes, the 2016 A3 is a good used luxury small car. It has one of the nicer cabins in the class, and it's more fun to drive than some of its classmates. The A3 comes up a little short on rear-seat and cargo space, though the same could be said of many small cars. One undeniable blemish against the A3 is its below-average reliability rating.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 25 professional evaluations for this 2016 Audi A3 review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Audi A3?

Based on nearly 200 listings for this vehicle on our site, you can expect to pay between $17,700 and $31,000 for a used 2016 Audi A3. The average list price is $24,300. Pricing for the high-performance S3 model isn’t available, but it would likely cost significantly more than the highest A3 trim levels. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Audi A3 Cost to Own?

Buying a car is just the beginning of your expenses. Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 A3 are $24,625, which is well below average for the luxury small car class. In comparison, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will cost you an estimated $29,700 over five years, the 2016 BMW 2 Series will cost around $28,300, and the 2016 Lexus IS will cost roughly $27,500.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New A3?

A 2018 Audi A3 has a starting price of $31,950. That’s above the used 2016 A3’s average price of $24,300, but the extra money is worth it if your budget allows. The 2018 A3 comes with a stronger base engine, extensive standard active safety features, an improved infotainment system, standard heated front seats, and two USB ports.

Read about the new Audi A3 »

You won’t be able to find a 2018 luxury small car in the same price range as a used 2016 Audi A3. The 2018 Volkswagen GTI has similar mechanics and interior space to the 2016 A3, but it starts at $26,415.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Audi A3?

The 2016 Audi A3's reliability score of 2.5 out of five is below average for the industry as a whole. Rivals like the 2016 Lexus IS and the 2016 Buick Cascada score four out of five.

Read more about A3 reliability »

2016 Audi A3 Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 A3 has two open recalls. One is for a suction pump that may fail and cause a fire. The second deals with the side marker lights, which may not illuminate at night. Make sure the dealer takes care of these issues before you buy a used A3.

See more information on Audi A3 safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Audi A3 Is Best?

The 2016 A3 is part of a generation that began with the 2013 model year. It was last fully redesigned for 2015. The 2015 A3 lacks a standard rearview camera and parking sensors, but it will cost you less than a 2016 model. However, shoppers may want to focus on the 2017 Audi A3; its base model has a stronger engine than the 2016, and it offers improved transmission. It also has standard safety features that were only options in the 2016 A3. The starting price for a used 2017 A3 is about equal to the average price of a used 2016 A3. The 2018 A3 only adds heated front seats and two USB ports, yet it costs much more than 2016 and 2017 models.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 A3 »

Which Used Audi A3 Model Is Right for Me?

The first step to finding the right A3 is choosing a body style: sedan, convertible, or Sportback e-tron (hatchback plug-in hybrid). All three come in the same trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The base Premium trim is the best value; it has the lowest price and plenty of features, including an infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors. Premium Plus and Prestige trims add features like heated seats, navigation, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and a touchpad controller that recognizes handwriting. There's also a high-performance S3 model, which is only available in the Premium Plus and Prestige trims.

See 2016 Audi A3 trims and specs »

What Does Audi's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Audi offers a certified pre-owned program for cars five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Qualifying vehicles bought under the new-car warranty period have coverage until five years from the vehicle’s original in-service date, with no mileage limitation. Certified pre-owned Audis purchased after the four-year new-car warranty has ended receive an additional one-year/unlimited-mileage comprehensive warranty. This is not an extension of the new-car warranty. The two warranties differ in important ways, so read Audi’s warranty page carefully. Audi CPO models must pass a 300-plus-point inspection.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Audi’s CPO program is about average, according to our research. You’ll find better programs from Infiniti, Lexus, and Jaguar.

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How Safe Is the A3?

The Audi A3 has respectable crash test scores, but they are below average for the luxury small car segment. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the A3 a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. The model received five out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's side crash test, as well as four stars in the frontal and rollover crash tests.

A rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors come standard in the base A3. Forward collision warning and active lane keep assist are available. Many rivals offer more advanced safety systems.

See A3 safety scores »

2016 Audi A3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Audi A3 or 2016 BMW 3 Series?

The 2016 BMW 3 Series' roomier cabin and greater reliability score give it the edge over the A3. Even if you don't carry back-seat passengers very often, the 3 Series' spacious rear seats and ample cargo room will be much appreciated when you do. Otherwise, the 3 Series and A3 are very similar. They both have a range of potent engines and poised handling. Inside, they're both upscale and loaded with user-friendly features.

Which Is Better: 2016 Audi A3 or 2016 Audi A4?

The 2016 Audi A4's standard four-cylinder engine may not feel quite as punchy as the A3's base engine, but overall, the A4 is worth the extra money. The larger Audi combines the brand's sharp handling with a larger cabin, so you can have fun but still be able to carry a couple of passengers in the back. Drivers who crave power should consider the high-performance S4 model with its brawny V6 engine. The A4's infotainment system isn't quite as high-tech as the A3's, but it's still usable. The A4 also earns a much higher reliability score than the A3.

Which Is Better: 2016 Audi A3 or 2016 Volkswagen GTI?

If you can live without the Audi rings on the hood, the 2016 Volkswagen GTI may be a good alternative for you. The GTI has a potent powertrain and sharp handling like the A3 – but at a lower price. The Volkswagen has an upscale interior with comfortable and roomy seats. Additionally, the GTI is available with more safety features than the A3.

Compare the A3, 3 Series, and A4 »

2016 A3 Performance

How Does the 2016 Audi A3 Drive?

Like many luxury small cars, the A3 is thrilling to drive. No matter which body style or trim you choose, the A3 handles corners with ease. Models with all-wheel drive (which Audi calls Quattro) are especially planted through turns. The ride remains comfortable over bumpy roads.

The 2016 A3 comes standard with a turbocharged, 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A 220-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available. Both motors are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The performance-based 2016 S3 comes with a turbocharged 292-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. The S3 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph, according to Audi.

The 2016 A3 e-tron is a plug-in hybrid that can operate on electric power, gas power, or both. Both power sources deliver a combined 204 horsepower. The e-tron has a 16-mile range on a fully charged battery. It comes with a 240-volt home charger, which charges the e-tron in 2 hours and 15 minutes. You can also use the charger to plug into a 110-volt outlet, which will charge the e-tron in about 8 hours.

The base engine feels strong when the A3 is merging and passing at speed, and the midlevel 2.0-liter engine offers a quick burst from a stop. The transmission shifts smoothly and quickly.

Does the 2016 Audi A3 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base Audi A3 gets 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. This is typical for the class. The A3 Cabriolet with the base engine has an EPA rating of 24/35 mpg city/highway, while the 220-horsepower turbo engine gets 24/33 mpg city/highway. The high-performance S3 sedan is rated at 23/31 mpg. According to the EPA, the A3 e-tron gets 83 mpg-equivalent when using electric and gas power, and 35 mpg combined when running only on the gas engine.

Read more about A3 performance »

2016 A3 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 A3 Seat?

The 2016 A3 sedan seats five, while the convertible only seats four. It comes standard with leather upholstery and a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Available features include heated front seats, a 12-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and front sport seats with lateral cushioning. The front seats are supportive but could use more side bolstering. The rear seats have little head- and legroom.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Audi A3?

For connecting child safety seats, there's a full set of LATCH connectors on each of the outboard rear seats, with an additional upper tether on the middle rear seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the A3’s LATCH system a grade of Acceptable for ease of use, noting that the angle of the anchors makes them hard to reach with the hook.

2016 Audi A3 Features

The 2016 A3 comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, HD Radio, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and Audi's MMI infotainment system. The A3 is available with push-button start, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, iPod integration, and Audi Connect, which uses a cellular data connection to offer a Wi-Fi hot spot and Google Maps navigation. Also available is the MMI Navigation Plus system, which includes voice control and a touchpad that lets you write out your destination with your fingertip.

The A3's MMI system is one of the best infotainment systems in the class, with modern, straightforward controls and quick response times. However, some might find the display is positioned a little too low on the dashboard, making it a bit difficult to see all the buttons.

See 2016 Audi A3 specs »

Read more about A3 interior »

2016 Audi A3 Dimensions

Audi A3 Cargo Space

The standard 2016 Audi A3 has 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a bit small for the class. All-wheel-drive models have 10 cubic feet of space, while convertible models have 9.9 cubic feet of space with the top up and 7.1 cubic feet with the top down. The space is tight, but it can fit four small suitcases.

2016 A3 Length and Weight

The 2016 A3 has a length of 14.6 feet. Its curb weight ranges from 3,175 pounds for the base A3 up to 3,462 pounds for 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder convertibles.

Where Was the 2016 Audi A3 Built?

The 2016 Audi A3 was built at the company’s facility in Ingolstadt, Germany, along with the 2016 A4 and 2016 A5.

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