Audi A3

21 Apr, 2004 11:33am Chris Thorp

If there's one engine that's almost single-handedly responsible for the rise in the popularity of diesel power, it's the Volkswagen Group's 1.9-litre TDI.

Verdict

Stripped of the torquey performance that made it so popular in the first place, the 1.9-litre TDI powerplant feels out of place in what is one of the best hatchbacks on the market. It does offer exceptional fuel economy, but we think buyers are better off finding the extra cash for the more refined and potent 2.0-litre TDI.
If there's one engine that's almost single-handedly responsible for the rise in the popularity of diesel power, it's the Volkswagen Group's 1.9-litre TDI. With punchy performance and frugal economy, it's seen service across a variety of models. But is the aged unit still good enough to cut it in Audi's new A3?

Joining the range alongside the more expensive 2.0-litre TDI, the 1.9 is the entry-level diesel model. With a power output of only 104bhp, this is not a quick car, with a 0-62mph time of 11.4 seconds - that's 1.9 seconds slower than the 2.0-litre model - and it can feel underpowered and lacking in refinement. On the plus side, Audi claims a combined economy figure of 53.3mpg, and on a lengthy motorway cruise we averaged nearly 60mpg.

What's more, Euro IV compliant emissions mean that there are tax breaks for company car users. However, the bad news is the 1.9 TDI doesn't offer the value for money buyers might expect. At £18,730, this SE version is £1,200 more than the cheapest 2.0 TDI, and only £800 less than the equivalent spec, higher-capacity diesel.
AEX 1330
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