If you're in the market for a wagonlike vehicle with sporting pretensions and can spend around $30k, you have some interesting choices.
The 2010 Audi A3 doesn’t have a lot of competition in the U.S.
The BMW 3-Series wagon—especially the fuel-efficient 335d—is one possibility, but it’s much more expensive.
The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is another alternative; it’s actually roomier inside and has a better ride, though it’s not nearly as sporty as the A3.
The Mazda3 and Subaru WRX hatchbacks are also strong alternatives; both have interiors that aren't nearly as nice and refined, but both have good performance and excellent handling—and the WRX offers standard all-wheel drive.
The Lexus CT200h is an all-new alternative for 2011; it combines a version of the hybrid system from the Toyota Prius with a hatchback design and a sportier look and driving feel.
EPA ratings are much higher in the city than even the A3 TDI, but about the same on the highway—though, admittedly, the CT200h isn't as confident on the open road.
|2011 Audi A3Browse Used Listings||2011 BMW 3-SeriesBrowse Used Listings||2011 Lexus CT 200hBrowse Used Listings||2011 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings||2011 Subaru WRX||2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportwagenBrowse Used Listings|
|21 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy||23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I6||Gas/Electric I4||Gas I4||N/A||Gas I5|
|Small Station Wgn||Compact||Compact||Compact||N/A||Wagon|
|4dr HB Man FrontTrak 2.0T Premium||4dr Sedan 328i RWD||FWD 4dr Hybrid||4dr Sedan Man i SV||N/A||4dr Manual S|
|Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||N/A||Front Wheel Drive|
|4 Door HB||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Hatchback||4 Door Sedan||N/A||4 Door|
|Manual w/OD||Manual||Continuously Variable Ratio||Manual w/OD||N/A||Manual|