Comfort and Quality » 7
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
Some coarse-surface tire thrum is noticeable on base models, and it rises with the available 18-inch tires.
4.5 more cubic feet of cargo space (19.5 total) compared with that of a five-door Golf, an advantage that would be better appreciated if the split-folding rear seats would fold completely flat
Car and Driver
rear-seat room is a bit limited
traveling at 65 mph or 70 mph, the A3 TDI still had plenty of boost to pass other cars or climb hills
Up front you get sport seats with leather and Alcantara trim, and while the rear seat is a bit tight, it's definitely usable.
Audi is a leader when it comes to quality interiors and its A3, despite being on the lowest rung of the automaker’s U.S. lineup, has none of the signs of cost cutting that some rivals are guilty of with their entry-level offerings. The buttons are all well laid-out and exquisitely crafted and the materials have a premium look and feel to them.
The standard leather-trimmed seats are very comfortable, though some may find they lack side sufficient side support. You also sit very low in the A3, which can make getting in and out a bit tough for older drivers, but the plus side is that you have great visibility out front.
There’s no denying that cabin space in this five-seater is tight. For the segment, rear-seat accommodations are just acceptable, allowing you to squeeze a pair of adults in there--provided the passengers in front don't mind scooting forward an inch or two.
Storage space in the trunk is also disappointing. The hatchback provides 19.5 cubic feet of storage when the rear seats are up, but fold these down using the 60/40-split and you have a nearly flat storage space that expands to 39 cubic feet.
While cabin ambiance is generally nice in the A3, road noise--and the thrum of the rather low-profile tires--can be intrusive on coarse surfaces, and ride quality with the standard suspension can be somewhat stiff.
The 2012 Audi A3 isn't quite up to luxury-car standards of refinement inside; but its appointments are a bit step up from budget hatches.