Here at Carbase we have compared the Audi A3 with the VW Golf. Want to know who wins read on!
Has the Audi A3 dismantled the VW Golf's status quo?
Want the best hatchback in the world? Buy a Volkswagen Golf. That has been the opinion of the majority of those that consider themselves in automotive know for decades now. For many years VW's more premium rivals decided to live with this and focus their efforts on their larger models. That was until Audi targeted an entirely new segment with its A3 premium hatchback. Has this bold move by Audi usurped its stable mate or does the people's hatchback of choice still remain supreme?
In regards to style it seems more pertinent a question to ask whether a used VW Golf or used Audi A3 will age well and remain desirable. If that is our benchmark, then there seems to only be one winner and that has to be the Golf. It has barely changed and is still boldly recognisable throughout its numerous incarnations. Perhaps the Audi A3's styling will have the enduring appeal of the Golf, but it will have to wait a long time to do so.
Interior quality, refinement and practicality
It will always be a bare-knuckle fight between the two brands on who wins on interior quality. But it shouldn't just be that case as the A3 is premium and the Golf is proudly not so. The A3 oozes class boasting a level of finish that you would have had to splash out a lot of money for a larger model previously. In comparison the VW Golf has always driven the quality benchmark of the mainstream higher and higher, but is one or two rungs behind the A3 on plush materials. In terms of space both are adequate but not exceptional (they are hatchbacks after all) and Audi makes a point of this as they want you to splash out a little more on a larger specification Sportback.
Drive, performance and economy
The success of the VW Golf has often boiled down to how it rides and handles; delivering a composed, agile and accuracy honed over its impressive longevity. The Audi A3 on the other hand majors on refinement rather than thrills, but its' lightweight credentials make it more fun to pilot around than some of its compatriots. Neither the Golf or A3 are no holds barred riotous fun; it is just that the Golf's stability at high speeds that makes you feel like it has the edge.
It is an indication of the current consumer influence that both cars have to deliver not only reasonable performance, but also that the economical return is just as, if not, more important. The petrol engines offer the best performance for both, but the price you pay at the pump is too great for some. The diesels are where the true battle lies; the Audi comes out top on performance, but the VW has the edge on economy.
In truth there is not a lot to choose between the Audi A3 and VW Golf and for that reason it comes down purely to personal preference. Oh and your budget. As you would expect with these quality machines, the thought of purchasing either as a used car on specialist car finance is a very tempting option.