The 2012 Audi A3 is one of the top-ranking “upscale small cars,” according to US News Reports. Reviewers note the car is “practical, but fun to drive,” and with its available V-6 or diesel engine, it has plenty of power to handle almost any situation. The Audi A3 has not changed much in the last a few years, prompting some to charge dowdiness, but others feel that Audi has a winning car and that it should not change what has been so successful.

Not everyone is an enamored of the Audi A3, with some citing cramped passenger space and the lack of available all-wheel drive on diesel models as serious drawbacks. However, the Audi A3 has so many great features and options that many detractors find it hard to persuade others to this point of view. Overall, reviewers and customers are very pleased with the Audi A3, and it has become a standard in small luxury cars to which many others aspire.

How much is the Audi A3?

Of course, all this luxury and popularity does not come without a price. The Audi A3 does carry a somewhat high price tag in relation to other cars in this class. Average retail price for the 2012 Audi A3 is $27,128 to $30,596. However, the many great features of the Audi A3 mean that quite a few people are willing to invest the extra money into the purchase of this vehicle, making it one of the best-selling in its class.

The Audi A3 is built with attractive exterior styling, and the interior offers five-passenger seating, dual-zone climactic control, leather seats, premium audio system, power seats, satellite radio, and an auxiliary input jack. The Premium Plus trim model adds standard Bluetooth, and an optional navigation system is also available. Some reviewers have complained about the difficult controls for the navigation system and a somewhat cramped interior, especially in the back seat. However, the Audi A3 makes up for this lack with larger cargo space than most of its class, with almost 20 cubic feet of trunk space and 39 cubic feet with the seats folded down.

The Audi A3 offers eight trim levels. These trims include manual and automatic transmission choices, and turbocharged gas and diesel engines. The manual transmission gas models get 21 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway, while automatics get 22 miles per hour in the city and 28 on the highway. The diesel engine models get 30 miles per gallon in the city, and up to 42 on the highway. This gas mileage is better than average for a small luxury sedan, adding another selling point to the already crowded list of the Audi A3’s attractions.

Audi A3 Safety Ratings

While the 2012 Audi A3 has not yet been tested for safety in crashes, the 2011 model did very well in these tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2011 Audi A3 top scores for front, side, and roof strength crash resistance. The Audi A3 includes numerous safety features, such as ABS brakes, hydraulic brake assist, pinch-protection for windows, and standard airbags, with rear side airbags optional.

One area in which customers do not give such high marks to the Audi A3 is in dependability, however. According to the J. D. Power and Associates 2007 and 2008 surveys, the Audi A3 scored only average or below average in all aspects of reliability, including overall dependability, powertrain dependability, feature and accessory dependability, and body and interior dependability. Audi provides a four-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty on parts and labor, and a 12-year warranty against corrosion. Audi provides free roadside assistance for the first four years you own the car, and also provides your first 5,000-mile maintenance checkup free of charge.

How much does car insurance cost for the Audi A3?

Car insurance costs for the 2012 Audi A3 average $1,269 for the turbo diesel models and $1,641 for the gas-powered turbo wagon, as well as $1,607 for the all-wheel drive four-door sedan. By comparison, the Volkswagen GTI, often touted as a competitor, is $1,584 for the two door and $1,571 for the four-door sedan models, and the Acura TSX Sportwagon averages $1,563 for the diesel model and $1,656 for the gas model.