2004 Audi A3 SE 2.0 FSI from UK and Ireland
Solid, refined and handsome - a bit like me
Oil leak on the engine due to a worn out part, repaired by Audi at a cost of £250 in a hurry due to having to sell the car.
The car overheated one morning due to an incorrect ratio of coolant and water in the system, along with the wrong type of coolant. Make sure you use the correct type.
Fairly soon after this, the coolant warning lamp came on again during a journey. Pulled over to check and couldn't see any problem. The car was driving perfectly and I never really got to the bottom of that one.
When I first bought the car, I needed to top the coolant level up every now and then - although this somehow fixed itself over time.
Cruise control would occasionally stop working for no apparent reason (9 out of 10 times it would be fine, though).
Being the SE model, my A3's suspension was not as firm as the Sport models, making it more of a relaxing cruiser - strong, confident power when you needed it, but not what I would call a sporty drive. This was just what I wanted, with its smooth magic carpet ride making it a great car for longer journeys.
I was genuinely impressed with the engine. I was a little apprehensive about getting a 2.0 petrol, but it really was surprisingly economical at around the 40 MPG mark - I never drove it hard, but I also did a lot of short journeys and I reckon I was getting better MPG from the Audi than from my previous 1.6 Focus. It really was so quiet and refined, too. Drive it carefully and you have to listen for the sound of the engine running. The whole car felt of such a high quality.
And the A3 really is a great looking car. It has such an understated, but well-composed and handsome profile from any angle. It think that's why it's aged so well, and is exactly the kind of design I like. I actually prefer the look of the pre-facelift A3s without the 'goatee' front radiator. I also had a full cream leather interior and wood-finish dash - I never saw another A3 in the same spec, so I always felt grateful about that. Rear visibility wasn't particularly good, however, so parking sensors were genuinely helpful.
With the few problems I had, the A3 wasn't perfect - but overall it was still a great car. It was always a pleasure to be in, with its solid composure on the road and well-balanced handling. You do pay more to buy an A3, but as someone who appreciates cars, it felt worth it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 21st April, 2014