Audi A3 HatchbacK

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Audi A3

The Audi A3 Sportback is the most practical version of the German brand’s family hatchback. Sporting five doors for better access compared to the regular model’s three, and a small estate-like boot unlike the A3 Saloon’s ‘three box’ design, the Sportback offers hatch-like styling with enough practicality for most families – in fact it has more space than rivals such as the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, and is a match for the Volkswagen Golf.

Designers took a typically ‘Audi’ approach to the car’s facelift in 2016 – the grille was reshaped, the headlights subtly updated but ‘if it ain’t broke…’, as they say. The rest of the car is as desirable as the rest of the Audi range with sharp creases defining the bodywork, an imposing hexagonal grille and bold LED lighting signatures.

Inside, buyers will be pleased to find Audi’s hewn-from-granite build quality is present and correct. There’s less of the overtly luxurious feel you might find in a high-end Mercedes A-Class, instead Audi’s gone for a sense of cool sophistication with minimal switchgear and simple, handsome materials and controls. In addition, the fantastic Virtual Cockpit is now offered as an option – although we reckon you’d be mad not to spec it.

The engine range covers all bases from fuel-sipping diesels to powerful petrols and – in the form of the e-tron – a plug-in hybrid that can achieve triple-figure fuel efficiency while offering hot hatch-like performance. Slick-shifting DSG automatic gearboxes feature on the options list along with the firm’s legendary quattro four-wheel drive.

Trims break down into three levels – basic SE, mid-range Sport and top-spec S line. SE models get air conditioning, an infotainment system and DAB digital radio. Sport is the best compromise and adds climate control, lots of aluminium trim inside and out, and sat-nav. S line mainly adds sporty visual upgrades such as a body kit so is only worth it if you want the extra style.