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In-depth reviews

Audi A3 review - MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Audi offers plug-in hybrid A3s to keep costs down, but watch out for expensive insurance on some models

An A3 diesel is the most sensible choice if efficiency is your main priority. The 148bhp 2.0-litre 35 TDI (in entry SE Technik trim and with a manual gearbox) manages a claimed 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 131g/km. The 181bhp 40 TDI (in S line trim and a manual ‘box) is less efficient thanks to its increased performance, with 44.8mpg and 165g/km. Note that these figures are for the Sportback model; other bodystyles and trim levels see marginal fluctuations as a result of weight, wheel size and drivetrain differences.

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Petrol engines are usually a lot less frugal, but the 1.0-litre unit in the 30 TFSI (with a manual gearbox) is nearly as economical as the lower-powered diesel and is nicer to drive, too – combined fuel economy of 49.6mpg is claimed in entry trim, along with 128g/km.

Our real-world choice is the 1.6-litre 30 TDI with a manual gearbox, which returns a claimed 51.4mpg and 143g/km. It's less refined than the 1.0-litre petrol, but for many the economy figures alone will be enough to make the difference.

Insurance groups

An equivalent BMW 1 Series or VW Golf will be cheaper to insure, as the Audi A3 falls into at least insurance group 16. Surprisingly, though, the RS 3 doesn’t sit in the highest insurance group in the A3 range; that dubious honour goes to the S3 Cabriolet (group 42). The RS 3 sits in insurance group 40.

Whether you go for one of the performance models or a lower-spec diesel, Audi offers a wealth of electronic safety assist systems and quattro all-wheel drive on the A3, much of which will help lower insurance premiums.

Depreciation

The Audi A3 is quite a bit more expensive to buy than a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, but decent standard equipment, the brand’s perceived quality and strong residual values help to counter the higher initial outlay.

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