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Car Wars Wednesdays: VW Golf vs. Audi A3

January 7, 2015

Welcome to our first instalment of Car Wars Wednesdays! In these reviews, we’ll pit two rival cars against each other, getting down to the dirty details and exposing their darkest secrets. We thought the best way to kick off our first ever Car Wars Wednesday would be seeing rival hatchbacks VW Golf and Audi A3 go head-to-head. Both cars are certified segment leaders, but which car has the credentials to take the crown? Let’s get stuck in.

Audi A3

Original image by David Villarreal Fernández

Design

Aesthetics are all about personal preference, but we reckon the new Audi A3 is the clear winner in the looks department. The voluptuous body of the A3 cast a seriously sexy shadow over the comparatively dull straight lines of the Volkswagen Golf. Although both are undeniably good looking cars, the Audi A3 has a touch more style and sophistication that takes this hot hatch to the next level – and this extends to the interior too. Circles feature heavily in the dashboard, which remains minimalistic and uncluttered. The interior of the VW Golf on the other hand is relatively unexciting, although the materials used in the dashboard are clearly of a higher quality than the A3.

Performance

Both cars share the VW group’s pool of engines, but it’s what they do with them that makes the difference. In fuel efficiency, the new VW Golf’s BlueMotion tech beats the Audi without breaking a sweat, returning an impressive 88.3mpg to the A3’s 75mpg. When it comes to horsepower, though, there’s not a lot in it. Both cars boast 300bhp and make it from 0-60mph in under 5 seconds. Both VW and Audi also offer an electrical plug-in hybrid with fairly similar stats.

Unsurprisingly, Audi A3 and VW Golf reviews normally come out pretty much neck and neck. Both cars are lauded as improvements on their respective predecessors, they’re equal when it comes to stability and steering and both handle beautifully. With the A3, the quality of the ride changes drastically depending on which trim you opt for – with the S Line handling slightly worse than any of the Audi A3’s alternatives. But, as you might imagine, there really isn’t much in it.

Price

When it comes to the all-important price tag, the Golf beats the Audi by a small margin. The entry level Audi A3 starts at £18,280, whereas you can drive away in an entry level Golf for only £17,175. Of course, depending on what you’re looking for in terms of kit, these prices can shoot up fast – so explore your options before you make a decision.

VW Golf

Original image by Mathew Cerasoli

The verdict: the Audi A3 sure is a sexy beast, but when it comes to fuel economy and affordability, our money’s on the Golf. Getting the same performance for a lower price makes the VW Golf our winner.

Fancy financing the Audi A3 or Volkswagen Golf? Check out our dedicated Audi and VW finance pages – and give our online car loan calculator a go right now for an instant quote.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.