Audi A3 (2013-2020) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
The A3 is a useable choice, with more space inside than the previous car and a decent boot on all models
The latest Audi A3 hatchback is the same length as the previous-generation car. However, thanks to a stretched wheelbase, the interior is more accommodating for passengers than before. The wider track in the new model also gives occupants more elbow room.
With four models to choose from, there should be a model for everyone. The most practical is the five-door Sportback, but the three-door hatch isn't much smaller, while the Saloon also offers a big boot. The Convertible is the least versatile, but that's to be expected.
Because of its improved dimensions, the Audi A3 gets more room in the boot than before. Space in the three-door has been extended to 365 litres with the rear seats in place, and this grows to 1,100 litres when they’re folded. The five-door Sportback boasts a 380-litre space, which expands to 1,220 litres with the rear seats down.
The saloon gets a 425-litre boot, but the space is understandably less accessible due to the narrower opening. The Cabriolet gets a smaller 325-litre space, which is smaller still with the roof stowed.
Although broadly similar in most dimensions, the Sportback is more than just a three-door A3 with two extra doors grafted in at the back. While the cars have the same front-end styling, the Sportback gets its own rear light clusters and is longer than the three-door A3, at 4,310mm compared to 4,237mm. It also has a longer wheelbase and is slightly higher.
The Saloon is longer again, at 4,456mm, but its wheelbase is the same as the Sportback’s, while the cabriolet is marginally shorter than the four-door it is based on, at 4,421mm.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Front head room is a metre and more in all models, rising from 1,000mm in the Cabriolet to 1,021mm in the Sportback. However, the Saloon and Cabriolet have more limited rear head room, at slightly more than 920mm each instead of 950mm-plus in the hatchback and Sportback models.
Elbow room is at its widest in the front of the Cabriolet, with 1,468mm on offer, but this version’s cabin is by far the narrowest in the rear of all four models – its 1,203mm is a long way behind the next smallest version, the three-door A3, which provides 1,411mm. This means the A3 Cabriolet is a strict four-seater, where the other A3s should be able to take five average-sized adults.
The A3 Saloon has the biggest boot of all models in the Audi A3 range with the rear seats up, at 425 litres. The Sportback manages 380 litres, the hatch 365 litres and the Convertible 320 litres, although the hatch and Sportback have the largest cargo area with the rear bench folded down, at 1,100 and 1,220 litres respectively. The Saloon manages 880 litres and the Cabriolet 678 litres on this score.
As a side note, specifying quattro all-wheel drive eats into boot space, by around 35 litres on the Saloon/Convertible and 40 litres on the hatch/Sportback. The RS 3 and e-tron models have the smallest ‘regular’ boots of all, losing 100 litres over other Sportbacks – the RS 3 due to the sporty chassis and exhaust back box, and the e-tron thanks to its lithium-ion battery pack. Both cars record 280 litres with the seats up and 1,120 litres when the seats are down.
The Audi A3 can be pretty useful when it comes to towing. The maximum braked trailer weight it can pull is 1,800kg – and that is available across most of the range. However, there are a fair few cars limited to either 1,500kg or 1,700kg, which needs to be watched out for if you intend on using yours to tow as much as possible. That being said, as long as you avoid the 1.0-litre TFSI petrol unit, you will be able to pull at least 1,700kg irrespective of which engine/gearbox combination you opt for.
In this review
- 1Audi A3 (2013-2020) review The Audi A3 is a popular premium hatch that’s efficient, good to drive and has a classy feel
- 2Engines, performance and driveLots of choice on offer for the pragmatic buyer, but there are also some serious performance versions of the A3.
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsAudi offers plug-in hybrid A3s to keep costs down, but watch out for expensive insurance on some models
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe exterior design of the A3 is stylish, if conservative, while the interior is class-leading in terms of quality
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingThe A3 is a useable choice, with more space inside than the previous car and a decent boot on all models
- 6Reliability and SafetyA3 has a five-star Euro NCAP rating, a wide range of electronic safety systems and competitive warranty offers.