2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic: Better Long-Haul Comfort Than Our Luxury Kia
April 23, 2015
A few months ago I drove our long-term Kia K900 round-trip from Los Angeles to Phoenix. It was a trip that my cemented my impression of the car as underwhelming. Recently I took our long-term 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic on the same route. Call it a comparison test of sorts.
And you know what?
The little Audi was a better road-tripper.
In this case, the difference comes down to ride quality and steering. The Audi A3 just does it better. It has better bump compliance and recovery than the K900, and the steering loads up more intuitively. Being substantially lighter, the A3 also has the edge in high-speed agility.
At the end of each leg of the trip, I was more refreshed after driving the Audi than I was after dealing with the Kia's tiresome ride quality. The A3's seat is terrific too, though it lacks the Kia's seat coolers. It has an extendable thigh bolster, tilting seat bottom and headrests that adjust for height and fore-aft position. Good stuff. The Kia was certainly more isolated from road noise, but that's probably not surprising. At the same time, I didn't find the A3 unduly loud.
One area for improvement in the Audi (hey, all cars have at least one) is in its power delivery. It has turbo lag. Not old-school, wait-wait-bang lag, but a noticeable pause as the turbo comes into play when you give it a dose of throttle at cruising revs. Once on boil there's nothing to complain about, as the A3 moves out with authority. Perhaps VAG could look into a twin-scroll turbo for this mill.
I've mentioned before that the A3 is a refined little sedan, but I'm even more on board now than before. Thumbs up.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor