2015 Audi A3: The Northern Road to Idaho
June 22, 2015
I don't remember visiting Idaho before. It has never come up. That changed this week. Someone found a unique classic car for our long-term test fleet, and I went along to help get it home in one piece. I figured the 2015 Audi A3 would be the right car for the job. Besides, I had already loaded the trunk with the replacement tires our new acquisition would need.
We chose U.S. Route 395 up California's eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada. It's a slightly more direct route than the interstate options, but the real reason was we figured the scenery would be more beautiful.
This was a good move.
Along the way, this 904-mile path to Boise would route us through Nevada and eastern Oregon before we reached Idaho.
Such a distance required an overnight stay, so we set up an 11:30 a.m. appointment with the seller. This left us with one stopover choice: Winnemucca, Nevada.
The Audi made easy work of the drive. The steering is impeccable and its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine has no trouble at altitude, which at times flirted with 9,000 feet.
Our first fuel stop came in the tiny High Sierra town of Bridgeport, California after some 335 miles. Several roads come together here, but there's no fuel around for miles. The pump prices absolutely reflect that. We added 11.462 gallons of premium after completing the opening leg at 29.2 mpg while battling a sometimes-stiff headwind and a steady uphill climb.
Nevada came up quickly after that. We eventually hit Interstate 80 in Fernley, Nevada where we had dinner before hightailing it east on the interstate to Winnemucca for some rest.
Next morning we lit out early and headed north toward Oregon. Even though the Audi's fuel gauge read a quarter-tank, we decided to stop for gas on the Nevada side of the border so we could pump it ourselves.
Good thing we did, too. The next two Oregon towns on the map were wide spots in the road with nothing but abandoned fuel stations. We'd have run out if we'd passed this opportunity.
Ultimately we crossed into Idaho after an uneventful trip, which was just what we needed. Events got much more interesting once we took possession of our new wheels in Boise.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 11,896 miles