2013 Audi A3 Review
2013 Audi A3 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Upscale interior
- enjoyable driving dynamics
- versatile interior space
- high fuel efficiency from available diesel engine.
- Limited rear-seat room for taller passengers
- unintuitive navigation controls.
The 2013 Audi A3 hatchback remains essentially unchanged. The all-new sedan version arrives in early 2014 as a 2015 model.
If you like the idea of luxury amenities in a small package, the Audi A3 is a great car to consider, especially with the frugal diesel engine option.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2013 Audi A3 2.0T Premium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.93 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$196/mo for A3 2.0T Premium
A3 2.0T Premium
Avg. Compact Car
Envy isn't pretty, but sometimes it's justified. Take the 2013 Audi A3, for instance. European drivers already enjoy a fully redesigned A3, with several body styles to choose from, including two- and four-door hatchbacks, a sedan and a convertible. In the U.S., we're limited to a four-door hatchback. When the redesign finally arrives here for the 2015 model year, however, the sedan will be our sole choice.
This is a shame, because the current A3 hatchback (which is really a small wagon) offers a great deal of flexibility and cargo space. We're also fond of its upscale yet understated interior design and sporty driving dynamics.
There are two solid engine choices. The base, turbocharged, gasoline 2.0-liter four-cylinder should appeal to drivers seeking some excitement, while the 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel should resonate with those who prioritize fuel economy. With available all-wheel drive, the A3 also delivers more grip in wet conditions or when simply zipping through a fast, dry corner. Too bad it's not available on the TDI version, though.
By virtue of its small footprint, the A3 hatchback is a rare vehicle offering in the U.S. Among the potential alternatives in this price range, we count the roomier Acura TSX Sport Wagon and the Lexus CT 200h hybrid, which has bigger fuel economy numbers. And let's not forget the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, which shares many of the A3's underpinnings and offers even more cargo capacity, yet lacks the Audi's luxury brand cachet.
If the 2013 Audi A3's attributes strike the right chord with you, wesuggest you pick one up sooner than later. Otherwise you'll be left to envy someone else's or hope that Audi eventually sends us the new hatchback.
Performance & mpg
The 2013 Audi A3 is available with either a gasoline (2.0T) or a diesel (TDI) engine. The A3 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed manual transmission, but a six-speed dual-clutch, automated manual transmission (known as S tronic) is available. With all-wheel drive, S tronic is standard.
In Edmunds performance testing, an A3 2.0T with the six-speed manual went from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds -- an average time among similarly powered entry-level luxury cars. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the manual and 22/28/24 with S tronic. Adding all-wheel drive drops mileage by only 1 mpg in the city.
The A3 TDI features a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. S tronic is standard but all-wheel drive is not offered. Audi estimates a 0-60 time of 8.9 seconds, which is leisurely compared to the TDI's competitors. Fuel economy is exceptional, however, with estimates of 30/42/34.
The 2013 Audi A3 comes standard with front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, whiplash-reducing front headrests, antilock brakes and stability control. Rear-seat side airbags are optional.
In Edmunds brake testing, an A3 2.0T with the Sport package came to a stop from 60 mph in 107 feet, a short distance even for a car equipped with summer tires. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the A3 received the best rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests, even without the optional rear side airbags.
The 2013 Audi A3's 2.0-liter gasoline engine provides ample power and is well matched to either transmission choice. The A3 TDI, meanwhile, feels energetic around town thanks to its ample torque, but runs out of steam -- and horsepower -- when charging up a highway on-ramp. The trade-off is exceptional fuel economy, which seems worth it to us.
As with many Audis, the A3's suspension is tuned firm to enhance performance, but allows enough compliance to soak up most road imperfections. Whether commuting in heavy traffic or cruising down the highway, the A3's cabin remains pleasantly refined and quiet.
As with other Audi interiors, the A3's cabin adopts an understated and classy design language. Materials are generally high quality, with metallic trim for the air vents and knobs lending a decidedly upscale feel. You'll find more hard plastic elements here than in other Audi models, though they blend in pretty seamlessly and hardly suggest an entry-level compromise.
The navigation system will likely be a popular option, but operating it presents some minor challenges. The screen is large and clear, but is not touch-sensitive. Instead you'll have to use Audi's MMI dial controller, which wouldn't be a big deal if it were located in the center console. Instead you'll have to reach out and fumble with its place on the dash.
Passenger space is decent, although shorter drivers may find the seats don't have enough forward travel for shorter folks, while the rear seat is cramped for taller ones. The A3 scores better in cargo capacity, with 20 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats that easily accommodates large suitcases and golf bags. A rear seat center pass-through allows for longer items while still carrying passengers. The seats fold down but not flat, expanding capacity to 39 cubes.
2013 Audi A3 models
The 2013 Audi A3 is a four-door wagon offered in two trims: Premium and Premium Plus.
Standard equipment on the Premium includes 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery and a 10-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Bluetooth Value package adds an eight-way power driver seat (includes four-way lumbar adjustment), a multifunction steering wheel and Bluetooth.
The Premium Plus package comes standard with the Bluetooth Value package and adds different wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, steering wheel shift paddles (with the automatic transmission), aluminum interior trim and enhanced interior lighting. The Audi Navigation System Plus package adds a navigation system, a dash-mounted Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) and the choice of either a six-CD changer or an iPod interface. The Convenience package adds automatic headlights, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and a Bose premium sound system.
Optional on both cars is the Cold Weather package, which adds heated front seats, heated mirrors and heated windshield washer nozzles. Also available are a panoramic sunroof, rear side airbags and a Sport package that includes 18-inch wheels, summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension and sport seats. The Titanium Sport package (available on the Premium Plus) adds special exterior and interior trim to the Sport package.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
3 out of 5 stars
How's this car holding up in 2020? Find out here!
2011 Audi A3 2.0T PZEV Premium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Most reviews on this car come from 0-2 years after it was new. That's all well and good if you're looking for a general features list, but won't give you an idea of what it's like to own this car with years under its belt and gremlins shaken out. Here, I'll outline the maintenance I've done on this car and my opinions of it so that late buyers can make a more informed decision. For … reference, my vehicle is a 2011 2.0 TFSI (EA888 Gen1) with a manual transmission, s-line trim (on the standard suspension), with tech package (bluetooth, heated seats and mirrors.) It's bone stock, with 83k miles on the clock. First off, the problems. Starting with the worst of it, the engine in this car (EA888 Gen1) has a recall on the timing chain tensioner that you should absolutely be aware of. The factory tensioner can fail at any time without warning, causing severe damage to the interference engine. If this maintenance hasn't been done on the car you want to buy, budget $800-$1200 to have it done preventatively IMMEDIATELY or you'll be sorry. Most vehicles have had this maintenance, but not all! A good mechanic can check if this was done in less than an hour. I had this maintenance done this year. On the subject of timing, the chain is subject to stretch and you should consider replacement at around 120k miles. If you're replacing the chain, also consider replacing the (plastic!!!) guides. A total chain replacement, including the tensioner, guides and chain cost me a little under $2k. The engine is susceptible to carbon buildup. You should have the valves media blasted at least every 50k miles, possibly less. I'm due for this service in about 20k miles. To stave this issue off, change the oil every 5k miles instead of Audi's recommended 10k, My seat backs came unglued in 2020 on an extremely hot summer day. They cost $200 new from Audi, or $15 to fix myself with sandpaper and JB Weld. I chose option B. Intake manifold failed shortly after I bought this car in 2017. The part was still under warranty so it was free to replace. Be aware that the manifold is a plastic, non-serviceable part so if anything fails the only option is to replace it. I haven't run into any issues with the fuel pumps, water pump, AC compressor, or electronics in the car, but forums indicate that others have. Finally, be aware that the car is somewhat small. Be sure to test drive this if you're very tall, as mine was sold to me by a 6'4" man who found it uncomfortable after just a few months. I'm 5'10" and the car fits me fine. ...so are there any good things to say about this car? Yes! First off, it's just plain satisfying to drive. The engine makes enough power where the car never gets in its own way. The interior is barely showing any signs of age at the nearly 10 year mark (some very minor chipping has started near the cup holders), the leather seats have held up well, and the dashboard came at the tail end of the pre-infotainment days so you get physical buttons for everything (unless its a premium plus model, which did come with a touch screen. Visibility is good. Storage space is excellent for the size, as you'd expect for a hatchback. Turning radius is tight, and the car feels nimble surrounded by SUVs. You'll find parking that the big guys can't use and be able to perform quick U-turns on roads where other cars will have to perform awkward K-turns. The exterior has held up admirably to northeastern winters. I don't see any real signs of body rust (though admittedly, I'm careful to touch up paint chips before rusting can occur.) I get regular compliments on the car's styling. If you can find one, the manual transmission is extremely light and satisfying. Engagement is sharp and throttle response is decent. Unfortunately, very few of these cars were made with a 6-speed, and it was only available with front wheel drive. I've had no problems with FWD in winter weather except when my tires had gotten near threadbare. The car is also easily tuned. A stage 1 tune, which is only a software update, will net you an extra 50hp with better fuel economy and no negative effects to the engine. That's an option if you want it. Would I recommend you buy one of these? Maybe for the right price. You have to be the type of person that can keep up with preventative maintenance, and you should have a reputable Audi/VW mechanic nearby just in case. I would not advise somebody who just wants a car that'll work without fuss to buy this. For the record, this car has never left me stranded, but I also pour allot of time and energy (and money) into making sure that that is the case. You should also assess who you're buying the car from, and if they've kept up with this its gremlins. As a final note, most of what I said here also applies to the MK5 GTI. This car is essentially a more refined version of the 4 door GTI of the same age, having more sound deadening, looser steering, and a nicer interior, plus it's cheaper, so make of that what you will.
2.75 out of 5 stars
2011 Audi A3 2.0 TDI Premium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)
I have owned for 2 years and put 55K miles on my A3 TDI. Bought car for performance and great MPG - commute is 100 miles per day. With 500 miles left on warranty Mechatronics unit went - first time had issues was 25K miles and dealer did software update. (it's roughly$3,200 repair if out of warranty). At 54K miles EGR valve clogged with ash - ($800 repair & AUDI offered no help) I … called AudiUSA and got nowhere. DO NOT BUY this car for MPG savings, you'll give it all back in repairs. Overall nice car but, I also own 2 Toyotas and I'm spoiled by the fact that they don't break...I had always heard that Audi/VW reliability issues were a problem, definitely some buyer's remorse on A3
3.63 out of 5 stars
Beware of heated seat issues
2011 Audi A3 2.0 TDI Premium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)
In most categories, I love this car. I like the look, the fuel economy, it's fun to drive and has a great stereo. The turbo lag does take some getting used to - When accelerating from a stop, it can take a full second or two for the turbo to engage. It's very responsive once you've started moving. Fuel economy is great and overall, it's really a fun little car. However, you should be … aware that the heated seats are basically useless. My dealer explained that they have heard numerous complaints about them and that they perform 'to Spec'. If you Google Audi Heated seats, you'll find several Audi forums discussing the issue. If you love heated seats like I do, know that they don't work.
4 out of 5 stars
bittersweet: sweet to drive, bitter to maintain
2010 Audi A3 2.0 TDI Premium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)
I bought this car used, from a low volume dealer (shady, I know) with 54k on the odometer. It was a terrible purchase, even at a price I thought was great. It was leaking coolant the third day home, and required over $5k in repairs the first year. It was out of warranty, buyer beware, etc. I still like the car. It is expensive to fix, but when it is good, it is really good. Nothing … cruises at highway speeds like a German car. Plenty of power, even on a high mileage engine. One thing I learned during the first year of ownership is this: don't take it to a dealership for service, period. You will overpay, in a ridiculous way. Example: bent rim, new wheel: $825. Really. I bought four new wheels and tires on tirerack.com for a hundred more than that, and they were lighter rims, and look better. That is just one example. The best thing you can do is learn to do your own maintenance/repairs and be vigilant. Read the online forums and watch the youtube tutorials. You will have to buy all new tools with a german car though. It is nothing like an American or Japanese car, which I have previously owned. Lots of starbolt fasteners. Even the wheels are held on by lugbolts (17mm) instead of lugnuts, which freaked me out the first time I rotated the tires. Most used car ownership experiences have a few repairs involved, especially once you break six figures on the odometer. For an Audi/Volkswagen, the parts are expensive and the service at the dealership is outrageous. I suppose I knew that going in, but that first year was rough. The interior is holding up pretty well and it looks like a much newer car than it is. The front seats are supportive and comfortable even on long road trips. The leather has held up well with a minimum amount of creasing and no cracks. The seatback on the passenger side did randomly detach at one point, but I was able to fix it with a pair of pliers and some glue. The navigation system is one of the least user friendly I have ever used, with a very cumbersome amount of effort to program a destination. It works fine once you get it programmed I guess, but I just navigate on my phone to avoid the headache. The bluetooth is easy to program at least, but it doesn't stream audio to the radio. The system does have an input for an aux cord though, and my wife likes the satellite radio. The sound is great. The performance is the best part about the car. It is a GTI in a fancy suit. Plenty of power to keep the driver entertained and with the S-line sport package you get great steering feel and confidence during cornering. Under aggressive acceleration I get a lot of wheel slip, which is the only gripe I have. Even with grippy summer tires, you have to baby the throttle a little bit. Most drivers probably aren't as lead footed as I am though, so it may not be an issue for most. The transmission is as high end as I have ever driven (manual), with smooth clutch engagement and a shifter that slides into gear like a hot knife through butter - so smooth. It feels very refined, but is every bit the sport hatchback when you want to play. The exterior of the car has also held up very well. The paint is still glossy like new. The styling on this car was well ahead of its time, and it doesn't look even a little dated. My wife fell in love with it because of the looks, and she hates hatchbacks. I get compliments on it all the time. You take the good with the bad. The Audi has been a bittersweet ownership experience. Sweet to drive but bitter to keep it running.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2013 Audi A3, so we've included reviews for other years of the A3 since its last redesign.
2013 A3 Highlights
|Combined MPG||24 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$196/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested