Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

Hi all - new here, and am looking to change one of our cars but don't have the knowledge to make an informed choice of what to buy. Am hoping those with first-hand knowledge can confirm or quosh my assumptions, please.

Curently have an '08 Toyota Auris TR, only really because we needed something in a hurry when we relocated back to the UK. Thoroughly reliable but thoroughly ordinary, plus some quirks that make me hate an otherwise accetpable vehicle.

So am considering moving to a premium make, which I'd say are Audi/Merc/BMW/Volvo, with a budget of around £10K used. This will be the most we've ever spent on a car, and I've typically had Citroens, which have been unreliable. From what I've read, an Audi A3 will suit but the field's wide open. Am really wanting something a bit more fun to drive. It needs to be comortable, quiet and well-equipped - inside, at least - with low/no tax, up to five years old, and with acceptable mileage for the age.

However, I'm wondering if I really just want something more modern, rather than premium. I would tyically consider German/Swedish stuff too expensive to run, and am sure a new model from any of the big names would be a huge improvement. I imagine I'd get more for my money.

Ideas? Suggestions? Ill-informed assumptions on my part?!

Cheers in advance.

Edited by Neil Randall on 30/07/2017 at 19:00

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - skidpan

Am really wanting something a bit more fun to drive. It needs to be comortable, quiet and well-equipped - inside, at least - with low/no tax, up to five years old, and with acceptable mileage for the age.

I had a 2013 Leon 1.4 TSi 140 PS from new for almost 4 years and it was all of the things you are looking for. Great to drive, loads of performance, quiet and relaxed even over a 430 mile trip, all the kit you really need, £30 tax and 45mpg overall, just over 50 on a holiday trip.

Its exactly the same as the Audi A3 under the skin for a lot less money.

Mine was still up for sale last week for well under your budget at a VAG independant, the car has a full history and only 27,000 miles.

Plenty more like it for sale but none better.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

OK, thanks for the suggestion. I had a quick look for your spec and found some examples for between £8.5k and £10k. Do you know where a Golf would sit as a comparison to the Leonard and A3? Not having driven anything German, I don't know ow how much 'better' the premium brands are - if at all.

Edited by Neil Randall on 30/07/2017 at 20:51

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
Hi Neil.

Few details needed first.

What annual mileage roughly will you be doing and will the bulk of it be local stop start driving or will there be regular longer distance runs? Will it be used regularly on motorways or do you need a lot of midrange poke for B road overtaking?

Is your budget flexible? If a better option was available at £12k would you stretch to it?

How are you financing it, savings or borrowing?

How long do you intend on keeping it?
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall
Hi Neil. Few details needed first. What annual mileage roughly will you be doing and will the bulk of it be local stop start driving or will there be regular longer distance runs? Will it be used regularly on motorways or do you need a lot of midrange poke for B road overtaking? Is your budget flexible? If a better option was available at £12k would you stretch to it? How are you financing it, savings or borrowing? How long do you intend on keeping it?

Thanks for the reply. Answers: 6-8k p/a, bulk town driving and B roads - however, it should really double as a decent cruiser, if only in confort/quietness. £12k absolute max - will sell/trade the Auris, finance remainder with a bank loan. Five to eight years, estimated.

Also, just to muddy the waters, I'd wondered if something truly fun could be got - MX5, GT86? :)

Edited by Neil Randall on 30/07/2017 at 20:58

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
With that usage in mind then a DPF equipped diesel is out of the question, probably for the best with the 1.6 TDi's post emissions "fix" EGR issues.

The petrol A3 1.4 TSi is a good option but the Seat Leon 1.4 TSi (150PS) FR is better value and a bit more fun to look at and drive in my opinion. It's £20 to tax if it was registered before 1/4/17, has plenty of go and will exceed 50mpg with a light right foot. It's also popular with younger drivers who value it's sporty looks, performance, economy and reasonable insurance so it's bound to be an easy sell when you're done with it. Most of the A3's at this money will be the lower output 125PS version of the same engine but it still pulls along well enough. The A3 is also an easy sale later too as long as it's at least an SE or Sport.

I also rate the Mazda 3 and the 2.0 Sport with the 165PS engine is plenty entertaining to pilot along a good B road but it lacks the midrange urge of the turbocharged VAG cars. Reliability is guaranteed though but depreciation will be higher. The 3 adds up better in lower spec models.

If you want fun with five doors then a Ford Focus ST is a brilliant thing to pilot and I do mean pilot, these things fly. A bit thirsty but a total hoot and fast Fords are always easy to sell on if they're not messed with by the boy racer brigade with remaps and daft wheels etc.

A Mazda MX-5 is a nice car, I've ran a couple of Mk II's and sold a few but while they're very reliable and great to drive on the right road and on the right day they are limited as a car with only two seats and limited luggage space. It is one of those cars that every petrol head should own at some point in their life though.

The GT86 has been a total sales flop for Toyota and Subaru. It's supposed to be great fun to drive (I've yet to have the pleasure) but it's slower and not as practical as a hot hatch and most people seeking two seater fun would rather have the wind in (what's left of) their hair and thus the MX-5 massively outsells it. It won't go wrong but the interior is a bit dark and low rent too.

Edited by SLO76 on 30/07/2017 at 21:49

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall
With that usage in mind then a DPF equipped diesel is out of the question, probably for the best with the 1.6 TDi's post emissions "fix" EGR issues. The petrol A3 1.4 TSi is a good option but the Seat Leon 1.4 TSi (150PS) FR is better value and a bit more fun to look at and drive in my opinion. It's £20 to tax if it was registered before 1/4/17, has plenty of go and will exceed 50mpg with a light right foot. It's also popular with younger drivers who value it's sporty looks, performance, economy and reasonable insurance so it's bound to be an easy sell when you're done with it. Most of the A3's at this money will be the lower output 125PS version of the same engine but it still pulls along well enough. The A3 is also an easy sale later too as long as it's at least an SE or Sport. I also rate the Mazda 3 and the 2.0 Sport with the 165PS engine is plenty entertaining to pilot along a good B road but it lacks the midrange urge of the turbocharged VAG cars. Reliability is guaranteed though but depreciation will be higher. The 3 adds up better in lower spec models. If you want fun with five doors then a Ford Focus ST is a brilliant thing to pilot and I do mean pilot, these things fly. A bit thirsty but a total hoot and fast Fords are always easy to sell on if they're not messed with by the boy racer brigade with remaps and daft wheels etc. A Mazda MX-5 is a nice car, I've ran a couple of Mk II's and sold a few but while they're very reliable and great to drive on the right road and on the right day they are limited as a car with only two seats and limited luggage space. It is one of those cars that every petrol head should own at some point in their life though. The GT86 has been a total sales flop for Toyota and Subaru. It's supposed to be great fun to drive (I've yet to have the pleasure) but it's slower and not as practical as a hot hatch and most people seeking two seater fun would rather have the wind in (what's left of) their hair and thus the MX-5 massively outsells it. It won't go wrong but the interior is a bit dark and low rent too.

Cheers - I'll check out the Mazda 3 but I can't see myself with hot hatch models, mainly due to poor ride quality. Pot holes and traffic calming does my nut in as it is (I drove an i10 every day) so anything lowered/rock hard is a no-no. Also, although I like the look of the Ford ASBO, I'm assuming it's group 999, or whatever the top one is these days?

Yeah, I realise the practicality is gone in the MX5, hence the GT86 compromise. Still, I can't see it being a smooth, quiet ride, though. And, yeah, no drop-top.

Experience with Beemers, Volvos, Mercs?

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
"Experience with Beemers, Volvos, Mercs?"

Yup, most of it bad in the case of BM and Merc. The Volvo V40 is a nice car with Ford's 1.6 Ecoboost engines, especially the 180PS model but most of them were saddled with the notorious PSA 1600 diesel.


Edited by SLO76 on 30/07/2017 at 22:35

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - RickyBoy

My A3 Sportback 1.4TFSI SE Petrol/Manual will be 3 on 01 Sept.

It's only covered 18,500, has been serviced twice and is in mint condition inside and out.

I added (upgraded to) 17" alloys, Sat-Nav, Climate, Metallic, Aluminium roof-rails and Aluminium window trims to the standard SE spec. I recouped the cost of the options back by haggling hard with cash and being armed with online broker figures!

I have to say that it has performed admirably during ownership and not once (everything crossed) let me down. As Skidpan will doubtless attest, the 6-speed 1.4TFSI 125ps donkey is a real beaut. and has proved itself to be more than adequate for my own needs. Yes, equivalent Seats are a cheaper alternative but the Sportback cabin is definitely a nice place to be, and, like yourself, I fancied sampling a 'prestige' marque too having driven two Skoda Octavias for 18-years previously :–)

On 01 Sept I will put it through it's first MOT and get the brake fluid changed by my trusted independent. They use bona-fide Audi parts (to comply with warranty conditions) but I get mate's rates for the labour and reduced MOT costs!!

£30 annual RFL and £200 (increased from £170 last year!) to insure (however, I'm over 65 and have a long NCD allowance).

Am currently contemplating whether to change like for like (although the new one's are 1.5/150ps – are they a significant/worthy improvement I wonder?). DTD are offering some very competitive prices at the moment but I'd need to achieve £12,950 to make it work comfortably for me!!!

Best of luck with your search...

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

I have to say that it has performed admirably during ownership and not once (everything crossed) let me down. As Skidpan will doubtless attest, the 6-speed 1.4TFSI 125ps donkey is a real beaut. and has proved itself to be more than adequate for my own needs. Yes, equivalent Seats are a cheaper alternative but the Sportback cabin is definitely a nice place to be, and, like yourself, I fancied sampling a 'prestige' marque too having driven two Skoda Octavias for 18-years previously :–)

Best of luck with your search...

Cheers for the insight. I just got tired of driving cars that I had to tolerate, rather than enjoy.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - badbusdriver

If you want ride comfort you'd be better off in either the focus ST or mazda 3 that SLO mentioned. Audi have a poor reputation for ride quality, especially on the larger, optional, alloy wheels that pretty much all of them have.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Avant

If our A1 is anything to go by, the ride on Audis with standard-size wheels is on the firm side, but perfectly acceptable, and the roadholding is excellent. The key is to avoid the larger wheels.

A Mazda MX-5 is great fun to drive, but you'll have to decide whether you can live with a two-seater with a tiny boot. To answer a question you asked upthread, a Golf is somewhere between the Leon and A3 in terms of price (both new and used): the advantage of a Golf is that there are more of them around to choose from.

In your position my shortlist would be: Leon, Golf, A3, Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Volvo V40. If none of these are fun to drive, look at a Skoda Octavia vRS. This has a Golf GTI engine but will be cheaper to buy.

Finally - with your mileage and type of driving - avoid diesels.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - skidpan

but the Seat Leon 1.4 TSi (150PS) FR is better value and a bit more fun to look at and drive in my opinion. It's £20 to tax if it was registered before 1/4/17, has plenty of go and will exceed 50mpg with a light right foot.

The Leon 1.4 TSi was 119 CO in 140 PS spec and is 114 CO in the current 150 PS ACT spec. Both are £30 a year to tax if registered before April this year. Personally I would avoid the FR spec because it included 3 things that spoil the comfort the SE model provides in abundance. The FR has 17" wheels with 45 profile tyres, lowered sports suspension and 1/2 plastic sports seats. Unfortunately the engine in the SE was changed to the 125 PS spec a couple of years ago but your price range should find plenty of recent 140PS spec SE models. Do not expect 50 mpg on a regular basis. Ours would do manage 50 mpg (or more) on a long holiday trip but overall the average for 4 years of mixed usage was 45 mpg, still truly excellent for a quick motor.

I also rate the Mazda 3 and the 2.0 Sport with the 165PS engine is plenty entertaining to pilot along a good B road but it lacks the midrange urge of the turbocharged VAG cars.

Not driven a 165 PS Mazda 3 sport but our next door but one neighbour at the old house had one, it replaced a 1.6 diesel Mazda 3 when he retired. He hated it and after 3 years replaced it with another Mazfda 3 1.6 diesel because he missed the easier going driving style of the diesel. We tried the current 3 with the 122PS 2.0 petrol when we bought the wifes last car. Lovely looking with a great spec but the car was lifeless compared to the Leon.

As Skidpan will doubtless attest, the 6-speed 1.4TFSI 125ps donkey is a real beaut.

Did not say that, our was the 140 PS model. We have driven two 1.4 TSi's in the older 123 PS spec and whilst excellent compared to any non-turbo petrol they lacked the outright drivability of the superb 140 PS motor.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - RickyBoy

Did not say that, our was the 140 PS model. ...

...a slip of the finger...

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
Personally I'd prefer the softer ride of the SE but the reason why I suggested the FR is because the OP wanted something a bit different and mentioned prestige brands and small sports cars. Yes the FR is firmer riding but not overly so and it holds its value better than the more mundane (but still excellent) S and SE models. Some of the 150PS models emit 109g/km and are in the £20 tax band. Here's one for example... Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170724766...2

As for your neighbour hating his Mazda 3, well he'd be the first I've met that does. These are excellent wee cars with a loyal and generally very happy band of owners. The diesels are prone to problems but petrol cars will run and run. Yes it isn't as quick as a turbocharged car in the midrange but with 165PS it's gutsy enough for anyone bar wanna be boy racers. I can't say I've ever found one lacking enough power for day to day use even the older 1.6 petrol. I am curious though why your neighbour swapped his new model 165 for an older Mk I with the notoriously unreliable PSA 1.6 diesel. It's a real step backwards.

At the end of the day it's down to personal preference. I advise a decent test drive in a few shortlisted cars but at least you know the Leon is a firm favourite of most of us on here.
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Engineer Andy
Personally I'd prefer the softer ride of the SE but the reason why I suggested the FR is because the OP wanted something a bit different and mentioned prestige brands and small sports cars. Yes the FR is firmer riding but not overly so and it holds its value better than the more mundane (but still excellent) S and SE models. Some of the 150PS models emit 109g/km and are in the £20 tax band.

As for your neighbour hating his Mazda 3, well he'd be the first I've met that does. These are excellent wee cars with a loyal and generally very happy band of owners. The diesels are prone to problems but petrol cars will run and run. Yes it isn't as quick as a turbocharged car in the midrange but with 165PS it's gutsy enough for anyone bar wanna be boy racers. I can't say I've ever found one lacking enough power for day to day use even the older 1.6 petrol. I am curious though why your neighbour swapped his new model 165 for an older Mk I with the notoriously unreliable PSA 1.6 diesel. It's a real step backwards. At the end of the day it's down to personal preference. I advise a decent test drive in a few shortlisted cars but at least you know the Leon is a firm favourite of most of us on here.

Its possible the owner of that Mazda3 2.0 165 felt that it didn't have enough torque, as it has the same amount as the lower powered 120bhp 2ltr version, so, to get the extra performance (only 0.5 sec quicker to 60), you have to thrash it. They may well have thought the ride quality of the Sport (generally, not just the 165) on its 18in rims was too firm - I did notice this when test driving a 120bhp Sport for both the 3 and (slightly to a lesser extent - though probably because it was literally brand new) CX-3 when I test drove them earlier in the year.

The larger wheel & tyre combinations (18in or larger) has put me off many new cars - the Leon FR & Golf GT 1.4 ACT being two examples. At least the later Leon in FR 150 form comes with climate controlled A/C (as opposed to manual only in the Golf and Leon 1.4 140, available as an optional extra) as standard. The SEAT spec is better value for money, though engine aside the Mazda is better equipped for the money.

I would say that personal preference in both the drive (note that the Mazda3 in 2.0 165bhp spec is rare, the Leon [5dr - the 3dr Leon SC and equivalent Golf are also more difficult to come by, especially the Golf, though I prefer the looks of both to the 5dr versions] is more common so deals may be better) and ownership experience (check out reviews on this website and elsewhere [e.g. on 'onwers' club websites] for the dealerships [sales and after sales] for any make you look at, perhaps the nearest two of each within reasonably easy reach) will make the difference.

To the OP: Apart from perhaps Honda and Lexus/Toyota dealerships, those of other makes can vary in quality quite a bit, including Mazda, something as a Mazda car owner myself I think they need to work on (luckily for me my local dealership is generally good, others here not so lucky).

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - skidpan

Some of the 150PS models emit 109g/km and are in the £20 tax band. Here's one for example...

Just looked at 3 old Leon brochures I still have. the 2015, 2016 and 2017 version all list the 150 PS ACT manual as 114 CO so I have no idea where that comes from. But I have found in the past Autotrader do make mistakes.

As for your neighbour hating his Mazda 3, well he'd be the first I've met that does.

He does like the Mazda 3, as I said in my original post this is his third. He simply disliked the petrol after driving diesels at home and at work for many years.

I am curious though why your neighbour swapped his new model 165 for an older Mk I with the notoriously unreliable PSA 1.6 diesel. It's a real step backwards.

He never went back in age. His first was a late Mk 1 1.6 diesel (08 plate?) the second was a Mk 2 11 plate 2 litre petrol sport and the current one is a very late 63 plate Mk 2 diesel special edition of some type.

Its possible the owner of that Mazda3 2.0 165 felt that it didn't have enough torque, as it has the same amount as the lower powered 120bhp 2ltr version, so, to get the extra performance (only 0.5 sec quicker to 60), you have to thrash it.

That was exactly the problem. I think I have convinced him to try a VAG turbo petrol next since is annual mileage of 3000 miles is not exactly suitable for a diesel.

Edited by skidpan on 31/07/2017 at 13:46

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
"He never went back in age. His first was a late Mk 1 1.6 diesel (08 plate?) the second was a Mk 2 11 plate 2 litre petrol sport and the current one is a very late 63 plate Mk 2 diesel special edition of some type."


Fair enough.


Bit of a fan of the 1st gen and facelift 2.0 Sport. Needs a bit of revving for quick progress but excellent fun and great value with decent examples available from £800.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

Cheers for the input all - will have a sift through available Leons, as there seems to be a consensus on it. That said, will it be reliable? Our 9.5-year-old Auris just passed its MOT today with no work required!

One last question: am I right in perceiving the German brands (and perhaps Volvos) as being 'better' all round than other 'ordinary'brands? Or is that a myth? I realise there are no certainties with anything but these BMW, Audi, etc, have a rep for it, and I wondered if it's deserved.

Cheers again.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

Anything mainstream with a Japanese or Korean name has a good reliability reputation, but boring to some. German ( including Audi/VW/Skoda and Seat ) are excellent cars for those with higher disposable incomes and can be more for the enthusiast or the trendy lady shopper. The law of diminishing returns is evident as you work up the model ranges.

I sat in an A3 Sportback recently. My knees were pressed painfull into the plastic rear of the front passenger seat even with a 5 foot 4 inch passenger installed. My impression was a Golf is roomier.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76

Cheers for the input all - will have a sift through available Leons, as there seems to be a consensus on it. That said, will it be reliable? Our 9.5-year-old Auris just passed its MOT today with no work required!

One last question: am I right in perceiving the German brands (and perhaps Volvos) as being 'better' all round than other 'ordinary'brands? Or is that a myth? I realise there are no certainties with anything but these BMW, Audi, etc, have a rep for it, and I wondered if it's deserved.

Cheers again.

If you intend on longterm ownership then there's nothing to beat a normally asperated Japanese petrol engine. The Honda Civic 1.8, Mazda 3 2.0 and Toyota Auris 1.6 will easily run without major issue well into their teens and a big six figure mileage. Put simply there's less to go wrong and they use tried and tested technology which has been perfected reliability wise. But none of them are as efficient or as powerful as a modern turbocharged motor. Will the TSi engines prove as robust in the longterm? If looked after they should be fine, there's plenty of Mk V Golf GTi's around with six figures up to back them up but equally turbocharged engines are not as able to cope with neglect. Look after it and I've every confidence it'll be fine, to date there doesn't seem to be any inherent weaknesses. As for BM, Merc and Volvo being better in this regard than the more mainstream manufacturers, well this is a myth based on their previous reputation for quality that was long since lost in the quest for volume sales particularly with BM and Merc where standards of longterm reliability are actually far lower than most cheaper brands.
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - badbusdriver

Cheers for the input all - will have a sift through available Leons, as there seems to be a consensus on it. That said, will it be reliable? Our 9.5-year-old Auris just passed its MOT today with no work required!

One last question: am I right in perceiving the German brands (and perhaps Volvos) as being 'better' all round than other 'ordinary'brands? Or is that a myth? I realise there are no certainties with anything but these BMW, Audi, etc, have a rep for it, and I wondered if it's deserved.

Cheers again.

In answer to your 2nd paragraph, in a word, no!.

The German brands you speak of have a vested interest in keeping people's perception of their cars as being superior. But this is just a myth, perpetuated by the British car buying public's 'badge snobbery', and the motoring press's obsession with interior quality.

Yes, the audi A3 spotback may be the best car in its class, but only if your criteria is that it have the best quality interior. In terms of reliability, the A3 is exactly the same under the skin as the golf (which is cheaper), which is also exactly the same under the skin as the seat leon and skoda octavia (both of which are cheaper still, and in the case of the octavia, much more spacious). So is the A3 any better than any of those other 3?. Ultimately it depends on where your priorities lie, but in terms of reliability?, no, how could it be. That is not to say an A3 will be unreliable (as long as you stay away from the dsg gearbox and diesel engines), just no more so than the golf, octavia or leon.

I must say, i do like the look of the volvo, but i have read that they are not that great to drive.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - RickyBoy
Agreed. At the end of the day it's entirely about how YOU want to spend YOUR money, and, of course the affordability of it all (if you're being sensible)!

Some folk like cars, some prefer a handful of holidays, eating out and/or the latest SmartPhone.

I'd love to run an SQ5, or even a £40K Joe Average Q5 but I'd never throw that kind of money at any motor. Now, top-end carbon raod bikes is another matter...
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - skidpan

Will the TSi engines prove as robust in the longterm? If looked after they should be fine, there's plenty of Mk V Golf GTi's around with six figures up to back them up but equally turbocharged engines are not as able to cope with neglect.

Only a total idiot buys a car and then fails to maintain it correctly. If you cannot afford to or are not prepared to carry out routine and annual maintenance plus the items with longer intervals my advice is give up driving.

And its not just cars, before they became common people had horses but if ypu neglected one of those it simply died.

I have yet to read about a current 1.4 (or 1.2 for that matter) TSi engine giving trouble and I still keep an eye on the Seat forum as well as posting on the Skoda one. The earlier TSi did have cam chain issues on some but personally I only know of one. That was on an A1 and even though the car was 5 years old Audi contributed a majority to the repair.

I would not have bought the Skoda 1.4 TSi to replace the Leon 1.4 TSi if I had any concerns about reliability.

Audi's are not always more expensive than VW's. Just checked on the brokers website I use and the situation is still the same. The cheapest Golf 5 door with a 1.5 TSI 150 PS motor is £1300 more expensive than the cheapest A3 5 door with the same 1.5 TSi 150 motor. With the Audi you loose the Carlos Fandango wheels and sports supension that the Golf is fitted with (which is an advantage in my opinion) but you gain some kit. Its pays to check the spec before you buy.

On the same site the Leon 1.4 TSi 150 PS in Excellence trim (which includes Leather, Sat Nav, full climate control etc etc - basically loads more than the Golf or A3) is a full £3500 less than the Golf. Spec the Golf to include those items and its £6700 more than the Leon.

Want a Golf now?

Edited by skidpan on 31/07/2017 at 18:49

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - veloceman
I'm on my third Leon. FR.
1st was a 140tsi SC. 18's 48mpg
For what I would class as a sporty car the ride is the best I've had with 18'' wheels, no complaints at all. My current one has 17's (not by choice - a long story) but I can't tell any difference.
2nd was a 125Tsi 5 dr. With 18's. 46mpg. Certainly acceptable performance but missing a bit top end.
3rd (Current) 150 ACT. 17's. mpg 52. Current mileage 15k. Plenty of meat left on the front tyres - should easily get to 20k which I have never achieved that before.
As has been mentioned before the power unit is amazing. Loads of low down torque makes it easy to drive quickly hence fuel economy and long lasting tyres.
Personally I prefer the looks of the SC but I feel the 5 door is better built.
I feel there is more road noise coming from the rear on the SC. The cables occasionally rattle inside the doors which the dealer has offered to sort under warranty. A common problem I hear.
I agree about previous comments about the plastic seats and do agree. Find yourself some with alcantara - much better.
The Leon is brilliant. Handling, ride, composure and comfort all excellent with good spec if you have comfort and tec packs which most FRs appear to come with.
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - scot22

Apologies for being opportunist Neil but I. am thinking of an Auris as a second car. Quite happy with ordinary but concerned about the quirks you disliked so much. Would appreciate hearing about them. Test drives are useful but longer term ownership naturally reveals more about a car.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

Apologies for being opportunist Neil but I. am thinking of an Auris as a second car. Quite happy with ordinary but concerned about the quirks you disliked so much. Would appreciate hearing about them. Test drives are useful but longer term ownership naturally reveals more about a car.

1) Despite being comfortable, I can't get comfortable. It always feels like the lumbar support is fully inflated. It doesn't have an adjustable lumbar support, so...

2) The storage spaces are a ballache to get into and next-to-useless. The door sections are too narrow, and the centre section is impossible to get your hand into, unless you break your wrist, or reach in from the passenger side.

3) It's got a 1.6 VVTi engine, yet feels sluggish, and only really opens up at high revs/speed. My 1.6 C4 was far more responsive.

4) It's got sod-all kit/features, yet it's a mid-range trim. No cruise control, stop-start, sensors, cameras, digi speedo, folding mirrors, volume-linked stereo, and barely any steering controls. The C4 (three years younger) was loaded by comparison, and of a similar trim level.

5) The clutch and steering are set in iron, so I get a workout while I crunch the gears.

6) It b****es and moans whenever the key's in the ignition and a door's open, yet it automatically locks itself if you close the doors from the outside momentarily. If the spares are 50 miles away, you pay £120 for a locksmith to force the door open enough to unlock it with a piece of wire.

7) The plastic creaks all the live-long day.

8) The tax is £220.

9) It's unremarkable to look at.

On the plus side, its tickover is near-silent, it's super-comfortable (provided you're not driving it) ultra-reliable (no issues on MOT today) and plenty roomy. I read it's a rebranded Corolla, allegedly the best-selling, mid-sized family hatchback ever. Ultimately, I want that reliability, with more driving verve and more kit.

Goo luck!

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
"It's got sod-all kit/features, yet it's a mid-range trim. No cruise control, stop-start, sensors, cameras, digi speedo, folding mirrors, volume-linked stereo, and barely any steering controls. The C4 (three years younger) was loaded by comparison, and of a similar trim level."

Less to go wrong then, which is of more importance on a tight budget. The Auris may be bland and no great shakes to drive but it'll still be running long after the Citroen has been turned into a more worthwhile product... beer cans.
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall
"It's got sod-all kit/features, yet it's a mid-range trim. No cruise control, stop-start, sensors, cameras, digi speedo, folding mirrors, volume-linked stereo, and barely any steering controls. The C4 (three years younger) was loaded by comparison, and of a similar trim level." Less to go wrong then, which is of more importance on a tight budget. The Auris may be bland and no great shakes to drive but it'll still be running long after the Citroen has been turned into a more worthwhile product... beer cans.

I agree in terms of reliability but what's the point in having a car you don't enjoy driving? It's the entire reason for this thread - I'm just sick of getting into a car I loathe. Clearly, people must think it's possible to get both reliability and pleasure in one package, or they wouldn't be suggesting the Leon, surely?

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
"I agree in terms of reliability but what's the point in having a car you don't enjoy driving? It's the entire reason for this thread - I'm just sick of getting into a car I loathe. Clearly, people must think it's possible to get both reliability and pleasure in one package, or they wouldn't be suggesting the Leon, surely?"

It is if you're willing to spend the kind of money you're planning to but if you want a cheap sub £5k motor that'll give reliable service then simplicity is best even if it means less driver enjoyment. There are exceptions though with both the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus standing out as examples of reliable motors with high levels of entertainment if not style.,

Edited by SLO76 on 01/08/2017 at 11:57

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
"Only a total idiot buys a car and then fails to maintain it correctly. If you cannot afford to or are not prepared to carry out routine and annual maintenance plus the items with longer intervals my advice is give up driving."

Agree totally, but sadly after over 20yrs of selling cars the number of us who maintain our cars properly are in the minority. Many of the motors I'm offered at 5yrs plus have little or no history beyond the first 3yrs and the number of older complex prestige diesels I'm asked to look at (against my advice) with patchy or inappropriate back street or fast fit service histories would frighten you. Buyers really need to buck up their ideas here. These are complex machines which require the right maintenance by people who've the right tools and training.

Edited by SLO76 on 31/07/2017 at 20:16

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Engineer Andy
"Only a total idiot buys a car and then fails to maintain it correctly. If you cannot afford to or are not prepared to carry out routine and annual maintenance plus the items with longer intervals my advice is give up driving."
Agree totally, but sadly after over 20yrs of selling cars the number of us who maintain our cars properly are in the minority. Many of the motors I'm offered at 5yrs plus have little or no history beyond the first 3yrs and the number of older complex prestige diesels I'm asked to look at (against my advice) with patchy or inappropriate back street or fast fit service histories would frighten you. Buyers really need to buck up their ideas here. These are complex machines which require the right maintenance by people who've the right tools and training.

That's something that still amazes me when (mainly younger) people ask for advice on website such as this for what car to buy, normally on a budget:

They want to spend all their budget on the car itself, and normally some fast German car as well, mainly to impress their friends. That leaves them with a pittance leftover for maintenance, insurance and other running costs, so they scrimp on both the major ones (maintenance and insurance) and wonder why a year or two down the line that they've been nicked and given points on their licence for driving without insurance or fronting on their parents' policy, in hospital recovering from a total wipeout accident because of bald tyres or facing either a four-figure bill for the replacement of their pride & joy's engine or having to fork out the same for another car (leaving them completely skint and still living at Mum & Dad's house) because they either didn't have it serviced when the light went on telling them so or they went to a backstreet hack who used cheapo oil that resulted in a blown engine.

Wow - I'm really getting middle-aged here! Time for me to have a nice sit down - ahhh (as I sit)!

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - barney100

I've hd four Mercs, 2 Class, one CLK 320 and now an slk 250. Also had several Volvos including my wife's current V70. Both these makes in my experience are reliable and tough and plenty of friends find the same too.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - SLO76
Buying new or nearly new and offloading before it hits 6-7yrs old isn't a real test. Best way to judge the reliability of any particular make is to look at the number of older examples that are still running around. Now you'll notice plenty of older Volvo around, the only real weak link is the PSA 1.6 diesel that was in many later models but Mercs and BMW's tend to disappear rapidly beyond ten years of age.

Where are all the C-Class W203 from 01-07? 95% of them are now baked bean tins. 1st gen Merc A class lasted until 2004 but almost none survive, the later car is better but again they're dropping off quickly largely because of substandard quality and high parts prices. Yet there's countless old Honda's, Mazda's, Ford's, Vauxhall's etc still running smoothly at 15yrs plus even if they're a bit crumbly round the edges.

An even better way to test them is to sell them when they hit sub £5k price point. The painful sting in the tail when it goes haywire will soon put you off, it sure worked with me. I won't stock any older Merc or BMW. They more often than not are total money pits and should not be compared with the quality products both firms were crafting in the 80's and 90's, with particular praise aimed at the Merc 190, W123 E Class, W124 E Class and W126 S class all of which could run forever if looked after.
Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

OK, thanks again everyone. I'm getting the feeling the 'German' notion may have been true years ago, but not any more - yet they're all more expensive than Citroens, Fords, Hyundais, etc. Perception, I s'pose, and one I believed. Think I'm in Leon territory now, although no-one has a bad word to say about Skodas, either.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - RickyBoy
Ran an Octavia vRS from Mar 2003-Sept '14. Loved every minute of it.

120,000+ on the clock and no major catastrophes apart from wear 'n tear items. The original battery lasted 11-years and the exhaust rear end only started to fall apart in 2014. Got my 'pals' to patch it up just before I offloaded it.

Still like them but felt I was getting too old to drive something that had a rear spoiler on the boot lid!!!

You've done well for a first-timer Neil? Over 600 viewings and a bucketful of replies :-)

Again, all the best in your quest to find something that ticks all of your boxes...

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall
Ran an Octavia vRS from Mar 2003-Sept '14. Loved every minute of it. 120,000+ on the clock and no major catastrophes apart from wear 'n tear items. The original battery lasted 11-years and the exhaust rear end only started to fall apart in 2014. Got my 'pals' to patch it up just before I offloaded it. Still like them but felt I was getting too old to drive something that had a rear spoiler on the boot lid!!! You've done well for a first-timer Neil? Over 600 viewings and a bucketful of replies :-) Again, all the best in your quest to find something that ticks all of your boxes...

Thanks - I'll do the comparisons with the current Skoda, too.

Yeah, I was getting nowhere reading pro reviews, so was hoping someone would steer me right on my A3 search - top turnout here!

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - skidpan

Think I'm in Leon territory now, although no-one has a bad word to say about Skodas, either.

I am a firm VAG fan having had 3 Golfs, a Polo, a Leon and now a Superb since 1986 none of which have given any trouble.

The Leon 1.4 TSi 140 PS was an absolutely magic car that satisfied all my needs 100% when I bought it but when we downsized the wifes car it became just a little small in the luggage and back seat areas since it bame our main car. When we changed it the obvious replacement was another Leon but this time the SW. Unfortunately although the SW has a huge boot the back seat space is identical and with a pet crate on the seat it pushes the front seat too far forward for the froint seat passenger. A smaller crate would probably do the trick but that would mean shrinking the pets.The other issues were the change in spec. At the time we planned to order (last November) the only spec you could get the 150 PS engine in was the FR and we 100% did not want 17" wheels, sports suspension or 1/2 plastic sports seats so the Leon SW was out of the running.

But we wanted another car with the 1.4 TSi engine which this time would be a 150 PS.

We had looked at the Octavia estate previosuly and both examples of the 1.4 TSi (122 PS at the time) we unbelievably noisy and totally unacceptable. We tried 2 more last November and the 150 PS estate was a little better but the 150 PS hatch was actually reasonable although slightly noisier than the Leon hatch. If you try a Skoda get a good test long drive over as many different types of road as you can before signing on the dotted line. A noisy car is something I would never buy, over a 430 mile drive its simply too tiring. And its not just me, there have been other posters that comment out the noise on here and loads on the Skoda forum.

We eventually settled on a Skoda Superb which has the same 150 PS 1.4 TSi engine but is better equipped in our preferred SE trim than both the Leon and Octavia and after generous broker discounts little more expensive. But all thats irrelleveant because you don't want a big car.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - scot22

Neil did you notice my insignificant little post asking about your reasons for disliking the Auris. I would be grateful for anything you can share about the car.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Manatee

Didn't Neil reply to you at 22.27?

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - badbusdriver

Didn't Neil reply to you at 22.27?

Yes, quite an extensive list it was too!

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - scot22

Abject apologies. No excuses just poor attention. Sorry not to have thanked you promptly Neil. You are clearly someone prepared to contribute as well as benefit. Some just take. I appreciate your post and will cross the Autos off my list.

Thanks again

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

Abject apologies. No excuses just poor attention. Sorry not to have thanked you promptly Neil. You are clearly someone prepared to contribute as well as benefit. Some just take. I appreciate your post and will cross the Autos off my list.

Thanks again

No worries - I don't expect instant replies, as people have lives to live!

Assume you meant you'd cross the 'Auris' off the list. Be aware that's just my perspective, and it might just be my example. Like I said, it does the most important thing - reliability - perfectly, and the niggles may not have an impact on other drivers :)

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Engineer Andy

Abject apologies. No excuses just poor attention. Sorry not to have thanked you promptly Neil. You are clearly someone prepared to contribute as well as benefit. Some just take. I appreciate your post and will cross the Autos off my list.

Thanks again

No worries - I don't expect instant replies, as people have lives to live!

Assume you meant you'd cross the 'Auris' off the list. Be aware that's just my perspective, and it might just be my example. Like I said, it does the most important thing - reliability - perfectly, and the niggles may not have an impact on other drivers :)

Like all things in life, buying a car comes down to personal preference. Its rare (if nigh on impossible) to find a car that's great to drive (including performance), fuel efficient, roomy enough, comfortable and quiet, stylish, cheap to buy and run but won't depreciate like a stone and is utterly dependable for over 10 years/250k miles.

In the end, its what you'll be happy to compromise and to the degree for those compromises that you'll have to make - hopefully we can, alongside your own research, give you as much of the facts as possible, so you can make the best informed choice you can.

What I would say is, when you are looking, ALWAYS go for a decent length (an hour at least) test drive on a variety of roads, preferably two in different weather conditions for the final two. Don't shy away from poor quality roads (especially if you use them often anyway) as you want to see how they drive/ride on them, especially if you're considering a car on low profile tyres/sporty suspension - some are far better riding/handling on them than others, some go through tyres/suspension parts very quickly id used on such roads.

If you think you'll keep a car a reasonable amount of time, say 5 years or more, then its worth trying to test drive (even at another dealer, even if that's an independent) an older example of the cars you're looking at, as some (especially newer cars with very low profile tyres and firm suspension) may seem fine for the first 1-3 years from new, but could really firm up afterwards as tyres and suspension wears (both of which could cost a LOT to repair/replace).

A car that is well designed shouldn't go through parts (including tyres) quickly, especially if driven reasonably, so its worth checking around, on the reviews on this website and others (including owners reviews and owners' clubs) to see what sort of problems/bills you may be facing down the line - it may make you change your mind as to what you can afford over the longer term - and why many members here don't recommend people on a tight budget buy 'premium' German marque older cars, but buy newer models from brands that are often more reliable and the cost of ownership is far cheaper over the longer term. As many have said, buying from a 'sister' make (e.g. SEAT/Skoda instead of VW/Audi) will often achieve the same ownership experience at a far lower cost over the life of the car.

Last bit of advice - don't hurry. There's always another car out there if you miss one (sales staff WILL pressurise you into making a decision), and always be prepared to walk awy, especially if you either aren't happy with the deal or you need to think about choosing between two cars. If you ARE in a hurry, then its always best to err on the side of caution in your choice, but if you can take your time, then do so.

Best of luck.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - Neil Randall

Abject apologies. No excuses just poor attention. Sorry not to have thanked you promptly Neil. You are clearly someone prepared to contribute as well as benefit. Some just take. I appreciate your post and will cross the Autos off my list.

Thanks again

No worries - I don't expect instant replies, as people have lives to live!

Assume you meant you'd cross the 'Auris' off the list. Be aware that's just my perspective, and it might just be my example. Like I said, it does the most important thing - reliability - perfectly, and the niggles may not have an impact on other drivers :)

Like all things in life, buying a car comes down to personal preference. Its rare (if nigh on impossible) to find a car that's great to drive (including performance), fuel efficient, roomy enough, comfortable and quiet, stylish, cheap to buy and run but won't depreciate like a stone and is utterly dependable for over 10 years/250k miles.

In the end, its what you'll be happy to compromise and to the degree for those compromises that you'll have to make - hopefully we can, alongside your own research, give you as much of the facts as possible, so you can make the best informed choice you can.

What I would say is, when you are looking, ALWAYS go for a decent length (an hour at least) test drive on a variety of roads, preferably two in different weather conditions for the final two. Don't shy away from poor quality roads (especially if you use them often anyway) as you want to see how they drive/ride on them, especially if you're considering a car on low profile tyres/sporty suspension - some are far better riding/handling on them than others, some go through tyres/suspension parts very quickly id used on such roads.

If you think you'll keep a car a reasonable amount of time, say 5 years or more, then its worth trying to test drive (even at another dealer, even if that's an independent) an older example of the cars you're looking at, as some (especially newer cars with very low profile tyres and firm suspension) may seem fine for the first 1-3 years from new, but could really firm up afterwards as tyres and suspension wears (both of which could cost a LOT to repair/replace).

A car that is well designed shouldn't go through parts (including tyres) quickly, especially if driven reasonably, so its worth checking around, on the reviews on this website and others (including owners reviews and owners' clubs) to see what sort of problems/bills you may be facing down the line - it may make you change your mind as to what you can afford over the longer term - and why many members here don't recommend people on a tight budget buy 'premium' German marque older cars, but buy newer models from brands that are often more reliable and the cost of ownership is far cheaper over the longer term. As many have said, buying from a 'sister' make (e.g. SEAT/Skoda instead of VW/Audi) will often achieve the same ownership experience at a far lower cost over the life of the car.

Last bit of advice - don't hurry. There's always another car out there if you miss one (sales staff WILL pressurise you into making a decision), and always be prepared to walk awy, especially if you either aren't happy with the deal or you need to think about choosing between two cars. If you ARE in a hurry, then its always best to err on the side of caution in your choice, but if you can take your time, then do so.

Best of luck.

Thanks for the advice. Certainly, I wouldn't expect efficiency and performance, but my friend's 1.6 LPT V60 was nicely equipped, speedy, fun to drive, great stereo and zero tax, so even something like that would feel a lot nicer, I'm sure.

Def not rushing, and am already wary/tired of pushy salesman, having recently helped a German friend buy her first UK car. She insisted on a VW - naturally!

Cheers.

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - scot22

Thanks for most recent two posts. Identified most of my shortcomings . I appreciate the lots of information I have been given. Previous buying has made me ultra cautious. Realise O need to compromise. Hope to get a result this month, bargains ? Will post when/if it happens.

Edited by scot22 on 02/08/2017 at 12:07

Audi A3 Sportback - Advice from owners for used premium car purchase? - pd

Just a quick note on where all the old Mercedes, Audis etc. all are. They're not all dead but have all gone abroad. Put up any car like this for sale and nearly all the enquiries will be from Eastern Euopeans. They usually use them in the UK for a while then drive them home, leave them there, come back to the UK, buy another and repeat. I can't remember the last tme I sold such a car to someone who wasn't originally from Poland, Romania, Luthiania or whatever.

In fact, the whole UK used car price structure is underpinned by an enormous number of cars going abroad. Go to any major auction and you won't hear a lot of English spoken.

For whatever reason, they don't seem to like or rate the Japanese stuff so they don't get exported in the same way.

 

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