The Audi A3 is available in three and five-door bodystyles and is one of the best premium hatchbacks on the market. Thanks to its smart, understated design and superior build quality, it's desirable and hangs onto its value exceptionally well. A wide choice of engines is offered, plus manual, automatic and semi-automatic gearboxes - all of which are tough and reliable. A recent 2008 restyle made it look even sharper.
The premium badge and smart styling are a big part of the A3's appeal. It's also good to drive, but while it's refined and well built its chassis lacks the sparkle of mainstream rivals like the Ford Focus. The A3's diesel engines offer great fuel economy and tend to be worth more second-hand.
The five-door A3 Sportback builds on the appeal of the three-door hatchback. The only difference is a redesigned rear, that creates an extra 20 litres of boot space. You still get the same safe and predictable driving experience and a large choice of engines. The model is best suited to young families.