repeats itself; as gas prices go north, car buyers are
thinking twice about their next purchase. Lucky travelers
to Europe can scope out some of the cute and sporty
econoboxes available there. Finally, Audi has brought
to the U.S. the small A3 (but not the even smaller A1),
which our tester demonstrated to be perfectly functional
and rather sporty.
at a base price around $24,000 you can easily get trapped
into spending another $6,000 for the sport package and
other options that include the open sky system and the
upgraded Bose Premium sound system. You’ll go
from cloth to leather upholstery, ride on 17”
alloy wheels with performance tires and sport suspension,
turn a multi-function leather sport steering wheel and
be cuddled in sport semi-bucket seats. Overall, the
car is a pleasure to drive, even for long distances,
but perhaps not with five adults on board. Lightly loaded,
it is very quick to 60 mph from a standstill. Up front,
you get an automatic dual-zone climate control system.
Rear seats have the ski-thru configuration or 60/40
split fold set-up, giving you a good station wagon cargo
environment. Our brilliant red tester had the full glass
roof with a retractable delicate mesh screen, allowing
us to filter how much light came in. Options such as
an automatic transmission with Tiptronic paddle shift
on the steering wheel can be had. Other things we noted
were a tilt sensor, the Homelink system and a sunblind
on the luggage shelf, but no seat heat.
beauty of the 2.0 T is its Turbo. It’s as if you
had two cars in one: an easy, go-about convenient five-door
wagon under 4,000 rpm, and a quick sport-back at higher
revolutions level. With its 14.5 gallon fuel tank and
conservative driving, you’ll get a range superior
to 350 miles, but should you gun it a lot, we’re
sure you’ll be losing those miles quickly.
those who know how to wait, we hear there is a beefier
model on the way with a 250 hp V6 Quattro!
Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile limited
warranty; 4-year/50,000-mile no-charge scheduled
maintenance; 12-year limited warranty against corrosion
perforation; 4-year 24-hour roadside assistance
coverage provided by a third-party supplier.