Favourites
Audi A3 Sportback (2013-2020) Review logo

Audi A3 Sportback (2013-2020) Review

Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3

1/9

Audi A3

2/9

Audi A3

3/9

Audi A3

4/9

Audi A3

5/9

Audi A3

6/9

Audi A3

7/9

Audi A3

8/9

Audi A3

9/9

1 / 9

heycar review

      Launch year
      2013
      Body type
      Family hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Classy and practical family hatch

Best bits

  • Classy interior still looks modern and takes wear well
  • Looks more stylish than rivals, especially in sportier S line trim level
  • Engines are refined and very efficient in the real world

Not so great

  • Strong image means you’ll pay more on the second-hand market
  • Some question marks over reliability - especially with the automatic gearboxes
  • Not as stylish as the three-door A3

Read by

Audi A3 Sportback Exterior Front

Overall verdict

Audi A3 Sportback Interior

On the inside

Audi A3 Sportback Driving Front

Driving

Audi A3 Sportback Dashboard

How much does it cost to run

Audi A3 Sportback Exterior Back

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Audi A3 Sportback (2013-2020)

"The Audi A3 Sportback has got a lot going for it. It looks great, has a brilliant interior that’s ageing well and comes with plenty of standard kit for the money. It’s also great to drive, with a wide range of efficient petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines."

Audi A3 Sportback Exterior Front

The 2013 Audi A3 Sportback is a hatchback that tends to be popular among those looking for something with a bit more status than a Ford Focus. The good news for used buyers is that the A3 is no more expensive to run than less ‘posh’ alternatives - and you needn’t break the bank to buy a good one.


All A3 Sportbacks are well equipped but it’s the S line and Black Edition models that catch your eye thanks to their sporting looks and flashy alloy wheels. If you’re not fussed about these, the entry-level SE and SE Technik models make a lot of sense - they have most of the things you want and actually drive slightly better thanks to their standard suspension and smaller alloy wheels.


The A3 Sportback shares engines with similar-sized cars in the Volkswagen Group range, like the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia. That means you get a choice of the usual array of petrol and diesel engines - as well as a plug-in hybrid, badged the A3 Sportback e-tron. Catchy.


All the engines are refined and economical (well, as long as you avoid the bigger 1.8- and 2.0-litre petrols) and servicing costs shouldn’t be any more than a Volkswagen Golf. One thing to avoid is the S tronic automatic gearbox as these can be troublesome compared to the robust manual.


While the A3 Sportback has fairly conservative looks on the outside, its interior is simply superb and still looks modern today. A clever 7.0-inch media system slides electrically out of the dash and was quite a party piece in its day. If you want things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you’ll need a later example introduced in May 2016.


This update also introduced a slightly revised look (not that you can tell easily - things like a more angular front grille and revised headlights), as well the optional Virtual Cockpit digital instruments. We like this - it looks really smart and makes the A3 Sportback’s cabin feel that bit more special.


Naturally, the A3 Sportback is a more practical choice than its three-door counterpart. It stacks up well against the competition. In terms of space it has roughly the same interior (and boot) dimensions as a BMW 1 Series or Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Families might want to consider something a little bigger, but the A3 Sportback’s rear seats are fine for occasional use and have Isofix points for child seats.


Essentially, the A3 Sportback is a very good small family car with a wonderfully premium interior and lots of standard equipment.


If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Audi A3 (2020-) review.


Is the Audi A3 Sportback right for you?

If you’re after looking for a small family car but want something that feels a bit more special than a Volkswagen Golf, the Audi A3 Sportback is an excellent choice.


It’s more practical than the standard Audi A3 thanks to a pair of extra doors and a slightly bigger boot, while there’s a wide range of engines. If you’ve got a family to carry, you might like to look at something a bit bigger like an Audi Q3 or A4, but the A3 Sportback is a great option for those who don’t want a car that’s too big.


What’s the best Audi A3 Sportback model/engine to choose?

The diesel engines were the most popular in the A3 Sportback when it was new, evidence of the model’s popularity with high-mileage company car drivers.


They do suit the car well, with the 2.0-litre, in particular, offering an abundance of torque and providing a relaxing (and economical) driving experience. However, diesels don’t really like covering lots of short journeys and spending a lot of time in town centres.


If you don’t cover mega miles, buy a petrol. The 1.4-litre (and later 1.5-litre) petrol suits the car well, combining low running costs with decent performance. You don’t have to look for a high trim level to get a good A3 Sportback, either. We rate the more affordable SE and SE Technik models as they’re well equipped and more comfortable thanks to the standard suspension and smaller alloy wheels.


What other cars are similar to the Audi A3 Sportback?

If you’re considering an A3 Sportback, you’re probably also looking at the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class. We rate the 1 Series as an enjoyable driver’s car but its interior is dated compared to the A3.


The Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, never really hit the spot when it was new - and that still applies today. You could also consider left-field alternatives like the Volvo V40 or Lexus CT, as well as mainstream hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda 3 or Ford Focus.


Learn more

Audi A3 Sportback Interior

On the inside

Audi A3 Sportback Driving Front

Driving

Audi A3 Sportback Dashboard

How much does it cost to run

Audi A3 Sportback Exterior Back

Prices, versions and specification

You’ve picked a favourite! Now keep up to date with the latest updates, offers and news.

By submitting, you agree to our privacy policy.