Drive Car of the Year 2021 - Best Small Luxury Car
Overall, small cars under $40K are a luxury Australia’s seldom indulge in. It makes up around 15 per cent of the wider small car category, which overall is less than four per cent of the total market.
Despite its petite size, the segment is carving out more share than before. With premium brands looking to conquest against upper mainstream products, some buyers are deciding to sacrifice space and performance – for a badge.
However, vanity is not all you get. There are plenty of upsides to shopping in this almost-exclusively European dominated category, and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a prime example. The standard of technology in the car is unique, and superior to what is found in cars costing three times as much.
Audi has long been a staple of the category also, with its excellent and dependable A3 hatch. Backed by quattro all-wheel drive and myriad performance options, the usability of this finalist shows you do not lose all that much when stepping across from a larger, similarly priced mainstream SUV.
And lastly, there’s the new BMW 1-series. A new, front-wheel-drive format sees the brand’s entry model become something else, and something new. Its traditional small-car layout sees its second row and cargo area grow – both critical to a broader purchase base.
An exceptional all-rounder for accessible luxury.
It was a tough tussle to crown first place in this segment, as all three cars are stellar in their own rights.
As a segment that’s entry into the luxury sphere, all need to maintain the integrity of the badge they wear on the front. Both the BMW and Mercedes-Benz do achieve that, with up-market interiors and tech that just wasn’t found in this segment a few years ago.
However, the Audi goes ahead and over delivers. It strides ahead in terms of the most important aspect, which is the drive. You’ll find the essential Audi DNA of sure-footedness and enjoyable dynamics which are worth paying more for, compared to mainstream alternatives.
It’s also won in terms of value for money and cost of entry. The Audi A3 closes the gap between luxury and mainstream and does so without sacrificing equipment, quality and the main reason why the segment is growing – prestige.
Read the full comparison at Drive.com.au