Parting Thoughts on Life With a Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat - 2015 Audi A3 Long-Term Road Test

2015 Audi A3 Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Audi A3: Parting Thoughts on Life With a Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat

February 19, 2015

2015 Audi A3

After installing a rear-facing convertible car seat in the rear center position of our long-term 2015 Audi A3 sedan, I observed that due to the backseat's relatively narrow dimensions, it would be a squeeze to have an adult ride on either side of the car seat.

Over the weekend, I became that adult.

As any parent knows, sometimes life is a lot more peaceful if you ride in the backseat with your child. Because I used the LATCH connectors and a foam pool noodle to install my daughter's car seat, the trickiest part of seating myself in back was buckling my seatbelt. I had to lift the noodle out of the way to reach the receiver, and in retrospect, a rolled-up towel probably would have been a better alternative (to position the car seat at its required recline angle while preserving access to the outboard seatbelts).

Once belted, I had plenty of legroom but precious little shoulder and elbow room. That came as no surprise, but the snug headroom situation was an eye-opener. I'm a typical-size adult at 5 feet, 10 inches tall, but I'm pretty much all legs and no torso, so I rarely notice headroom (good or bad) in any vehicle. The A3 is not uncomfortable in this regard, but it would be tight for six-footers.

Another issue that I never would have thought about before I was a parent is the lack of sun protection. There aren't any sun shades in our long-term car, and that's an issue in Southern California. Audi doesn't offer shades as a factory option on the 2015 A3 sedan, but I was relieved to find that you can add them as an accessory.

Finally, there's the issue of ride quality. I don't mind the A3's relatively stiff ride when I'm driving. From the backseat, though, it gets to be a bit much and there's quite a bit of road noise besides.

My better half pointed out that the Audi's 225/40R18 92H all-season Continental tires are the same size as the Dunlops he had on his MkVI Volkswagen GTI, yet the A3's ride is less compliant. After my hour in the backseat, I can say with certainty that my hypothetical personal Audi A3 sedan would have the smaller 17-inch wheels and tires.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 5,917 miles


2015 Audi A3

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