I sold my VW Jetta sportwagon TDI (which I loved) to take advantage of newer technology and safety features. It took me a couple tanks of gas to figure out how to use the computer system...but now that I understand, the results have been very impressive. I'm in sales and spend a lot of time on the highway...which is not the best place for a hybrid, but my fuel economy is still 40% better than my diesel. If I'm taking a short trip, I leave the computer in the default EV mode. Otherwise, I immediately put the system in the hybrid mode and the computer does a very effective job of balancing the battery and engine use. With about 5,000 miles on my car, I've been averaging 58 miles per gallon (with a lot of highway driving)....about 20 mpg better than my diesel. If you only drive highway miles, a hybrid might not be the best choice...but if you're like most people, a hybrid does an amazing job. This week I've done mostly local driving and I'm averaging around 74 mpg.
We bought this car for my wife. She's wanted a plug-in electric as she has driven hybrids since 2007. We looked at the e-tron and the Volt. She was impressed with the Volt but after driving the e-tron, she said there was no comparison. She has never stated that a car was fun to drive. She did after driving the Audi. To her a car is an appliance. There is compromises with the e-tron particularly wit the range. In our case my wife has a 5 mile commute to work. The 16 miles of electric is sufficient. So far, she has ranged from a low of 16 miles, (90+ degrees out, AC running non-stop) to 23 miles (70 out, minimal AC). On a trip from our home in Hershey Pa to Charlottesville, VA we ran it on hybrid mode and got 42 mpg. Other than that road trip, she's not needed gas. It's been 4 weeks since we last filled it, driven 400 miles and it's still on Full. If the etron fits your needs - buy it! If you need more range, then the Volt is an excellent car too. In our case, with a short daily commute, the Audi is a perfect fit. With discounts, credits etc. we are in for $37k on the Audi versus $35k for the Volt. But we got power seats & moon roof for that difference in price. Update - We took a road trip from Hershey PA to Hackettstown, NJ. Approx. 100 mi. each way. We averaged 45 mpg running in Hybrid mode. We've now learned all the nuances of the selectable driving modes. For road trips, we put it in Hybrid mode to optimize the gas/electric mileage. For the daily commute, she leaves it in the default EV (electric only) and runs without the gas engine. Update 8 months of ownership - First off the gas engine's turbo blew at 3500 mi. Not a good sign. We've had it back awhile but since my wife uses it mostly on electroc it hasn't been truly tested. As for the electric - it's great. She goes 600-800 miles between gas fill ups due to her short work commutes. She's averaging 89.0 mpg! Great little car. Now let's see. Great car that fits our needs perfectly! Update 18 months of ownership - the car has been perfect since the turbo issue. It's extremel reliable gets great mileage. My wife is up to 110 mpg since she can commute to work and back on electric. The interior is still perfect. The handling rock solid. My wife loves this car like none before it. She loves to drive it. She has said she'll get a new one when she's ready. Great car that fits our needs.
This is my first Audi and first plugin. While there are some things that aren't perfect (I'm looking at you radio/climate system), overall this is a very pleasing car. Who buys this thing? Gas is cheap at the time of this review, so you don't buy an Audi plugin to save money, exactly. Who buys it then is someone who likes the handling and style of the Audi and is willing to pay a bit more for it, but still wants to do the environment a good turn. I doubt they'll sell a lot of these. Still, for me, this car fit the bill. And I'm overall quite pleased. I've had it 2 months and still have over half the original tank of gas in it. I'm averaging around 270 MPG. I do that by managing how I drive and making sure to arrange things to drive on electric as much as I can. This clearly is not something everyone will want to do. For shorter trips and my daily commute, I run all EV. For longer trips, I put it into hybrid mode from the start and let the car decide when to use the battery. Performance: hate to disappoint performance enthusiasts, but I've never floored the car. I bought it for a reason and I stick to that. I have hit it harder in EV mode when I pulled out and misjudged the distance of the car coming. It went to around 60% and I was frankly shocked at the acceleration. This is because when you're driving it 'normally,' it seems to be tuned so that it feels weak. But noooooo, noooo, it's not weak. Cornering-wise, this thing is beyond awesome, but that's coming from a guy who has driven non-Audis before. Hey, it helps my MPG to go around corners without braking, right? I have two main complaints, mainly with the controls. Why can't I switch radio stations without taking my eyes off the road? Seriously, there are like 18 radio controls and they all require me to look at one of two LCD displays. Sorry, but I miss being able to hit button #3 and know that I'll get a certain station. They un-invented that. Second, there seems to be no way to just let clean air vent into the car in the winter. For a plugin, this does make a difference. Using the heater costs me miles. When it's not THAT cold out, I'd rather just vent rather than have a choice between a) fogged windows and b) use my battery to get the vent temp up. If you're looking for a racecar, why are you even reading this? if you're looking for the best plugin hybrid, you should probably go see a Volt. But if you are looking for a way to do a good turn for the environment, to do it in style, and to have some pep when you want to let it loose, this car is worth a look. Is it a good value? Depends. Mine cost around $35K after the Fed rebate. This puts in territory of normal small luxury cars and normal plugin hybrids. I'm not sure I'm 'saving' money exactly with this car, but I am pleased I bought it. Update after a year and a half of ownership: I don't have anything major to change and still think it's a 4 star car. I found that by pulling some tricks and putting in some effort I can boost the mileage I get on electric. But that begs the question: why do I have to work harder to get the most out of my Audi? The reason, as far as I can tell, is that Audi sits in a performance mindset, and for them the electric motor is a way to boost performance, with mileage an afterthought. I mean, car has a sports mode that is easily accessible, but no eco mode at all. That's the main gripe, but overall it's a very versatile and economical car.
My last two cars were a 2002 Lexus IS300 sport sedan and a 2008 Prius, and the Audi A3 Etron blends and exceeds the best of both those vehicles. Handling, acceleration, and comfort are excellent, and I have averaged 82 mpg over the first two years of ownership. I appreciate the car's simple, understated (non-dorky) appearance, which is something that seems hard to come by in the plug-in segment. The A3 Etron wasn't cheap to buy, but has been relatively cheap to operate. I buy a tank of gas every 4-6 weeks, and otherwise run around town on electric most of the time. The $4,500 tax credit was very nice, also. Overall, it's a great car, and one I will be happy to own and drive while I wait for the Tesla Model 3.
This 2016 A3 e-tron drives like a proper Audi. My previous car was a 2006 A3 Sportback, the first generation A3 in the US shores. This new car's driving dynamics is very similar to that car, which is a good thing. I do wish that Audi gave it a larger battery because driving in all electric EV mode in this car is very quiet and very satisfying. The 1.4 engine when it turns on is also quiet and more than capable. There were a few internet connection hiccups in the beginning with the e-tron connect service, but that eventually got sorted out. Update: With the warmer months approaching, I'm now able to consistently drive between 20-22 all electric miles (the on board computer usually reads 25-28 AER). The e-tron drives fantastic with just the electric motor. Audi made the right choice by giving it enough juice (85 kW) to pull away from traffic lights and freeway on-ramps on electric power alone. Selecting Hybrid Auto or Sport mode (Hybrid Hold), a driver has access to all 204 HP and 260 ft-lb of torque. One pedal driving with strong regeneration is possible with Sport mode or manual mode on the Tiptronic. e-tron connectivity service can sometimes hiccup. But I believe this is due to Verizon Telematic's finicky signal that is built-in to every e-tron.