Is the Green Car of the Year Worth Your Green?
By Chris Neprasch
Photography: Chris Neprasch
The thought, “Eh, that’s it?” was the first thing to cross our minds when we sat in the ’10 A3 TDI. It may be the Green Car of the Year and whatnot. But for a base MSRP of $29,950, you’d expect to at least have radio controls on the steering wheel, not to mention the unacceptable lack of lights incorporated into the visor mirrors. It was hardly the initial impression we were expecting, especially from an entry-level luxury car.
Chew on this: It does have a 2.0L diesel with its 30 mpg city and 42 mpg, yet you can spend about $5,000 less for the SportWagen, and get the same 140 hp, 236 lb-ft of torque with more cabin room. The other option is to spend about $10,000 more for the BMW 335d and get 155 extra hp, along with an additional 189 lb-ft of torque in a sportier package. Then there’s the Golf TDI, the cousin of the A3 and Jetta priced about $8,000 less. Given those nuggets to chomp on, how could anybody justify buying the A3? We found ourselves asking the same question for the first few days we had the car.