Audi A3 vs Volkswagen Golf: The Ultimate Comparison

Which of these hatchbacks should you get a leasing for?
13th November 2023

Deciding between the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf can be somewhat confusing. Since both cars are based on the same platform, the differences are hard to discern. If you are standing in front of them, ready to make your decision, which one should you go for? will give you some insight on what is different between these two hatchbacks, so that you can make an educated decision.

Category Audi A3 VW Golf Leasing New from CHF 349/Month from CHF 297/Month Leasing Used from CHF 288/Month from CHF 251/Month
+ All-in-one from CHF 340/Month from 340/Month
General Feeling - Luxurious and sporty - Essential and straightforward
- Bold grille, sharp lighting - Refined, familiar design
- Upmarket tech, digital displays - Simple, functional tech
- Comfortable cabin, ample space - Spacious interior, roomy for passengers
- 380 liters boot space - 380 liters boot space
- Good maneuverability, parking aids - Easy parking, Park Assist available
Equipment - 5-star Euro NCAP rating - 5-star Euro NCAP rating
- Advanced infotainment, Virtual Cockpit - Intuitive infotainment, Digital Driver’s Dials
- Triple-zone climate control - Standard climate control, optional upgrades
Interior - High-quality materials, leather upholstery - Durable materials, ergonomic design
- Modern and intuitive design - Functional and comfortable
- Front sport seats available - Cloth seating standard, leather optional
Driving Experience - Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid - Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid
- Precise steering, balanced chassis - Light steering, comfortable suspension
- Firm suspension, comfortable ride - Stable and planted handling
- Premium car: Higher initial and leasing costs - Budget friendly, lower rates
- Efficient engines, options for hybrid - Efficient engines, options for hybrid
- Premium features justify costs - Lower insurance group, cost-effective

Audi A3 vs. VW Golf: The Main Differences

Price and Prestige:

The Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf set themselves apart right off the bat with their pricing. The A3 starts at just over CHF 38’000 and is the pricier of the pair. Meanwhile, the Golf’s basic trim level is available for under 33’000 Francs.

On, the Audi A3 is available from 290 CHF/Month compared to the 250 Francs monthly for a Golf. However, the difference in price makes sense, as the Audi aims for a more luxurious and sporty feel. The Golf is more about getting the essentials right without extravagance. It's a solid car that doesn't ask you to fork out for a fancy badge.

Design Philosophy:

Audi's A3 is all about making a splash. With its bold grille and sharp lighting, it has a lot of character and communicates that it is here to impress.

The Golf prefers a low-key approach, with a design that's been refined over the years to be familiar yet fresh. It's got some new design tweaks, sure, but it's still the Golf everyone recognizes – just a bit sharper around the edges.

Interior Ambiance:

Inside the A3, it's about feeling like you've stepped up in the world. The dashboard's sleek, the finishes are top-notch, and it's all arranged with a clean, modern aesthetic. The Golf's cabin, by contrast, is about straightforward comfort and durability. It's less about impressing you with looks and more about impressing you with longevity and ease of use.

The A3's tech feels more upmarket, with its fancy digital displays and optional upgrades that can make the dash look like something out of a sci-fi movie. The Golf keeps tech simple and functional. Its screens are clear and the system's easy to use, even if it doesn't feel quite as 'next-gen' as the Audi's.


How Practical is the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf?

Space for Passengers:

When it comes to accommodating passengers, both the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf score highly on practicality. The A3's cabin is designed to maximize comfort, with ample space that allows for a relaxed seating position, even on longer journeys. Adults can sit in the back without the squeeze, thanks to thoughtful design that provides generous headroom and legroom.

The Golf mirrors this approach, with a spacious interior that belies its compact exterior. Both front and rear passengers will find the Golf roomy, with enough space to enjoy journeys of short and medium length.

Boot Space:

The boot space in both the A3 and the Golf are the exact same at 380 litres of capacity. You can fit in several suitcases for airport runs, a full load of shopping bags, or bulky items like a baby stroller and sports equipment. The rear seats in both cars can be folded down to accommodate larger items, making them versatile vehicles for various needs.

Everyday Usability:

For those who need to navigate tight city streets or packed parking lots, both the A3 and the Golf offer good visibility and maneuverability. Their compact dimensions make them easy to park, and various parking aids are available to assist even the most parking-averse drivers. The A3's optional parking system plus and the Golf's available Park Assist can take the stress out of squeezing into tight spots.

The A3 and the Golf also offer keyless entry and push-button start, adding a layer of convenience to your daily routine. This feature is particularly useful when you have your hands full and need to access the vehicle without fumbling for keys.

In summary, both the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf are designed with practicality in mind. They offer the space, comfort, and features that make them ideal for everyday use, whether you're commuting, running errands, or heading out on a road trip. With their thoughtful design and user-friendly features, either car is a smart choice for those who value practicality without compromising on style or driving pleasure.


What is the Equipment of the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf Like?

Safety Standards:

When it comes to safety, both the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf are built to protect. They have both been awarded a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, which is the highest possible score and indicative of their commitment to passenger safety. The Golf has a slight edge with a higher score for child occupant protection, but the A3 is not far behind, making both vehicles a reliable choice for families.

These cars come equipped with an array of safety features, including multiple airbags, electronic stability control, and ISOFIX child seat anchors. Advanced driver-assistance systems are also available, such as autonomous emergency braking that can detect and react to potential collisions without driver input.

Tech Treats:

In terms of technology, the Audi A3 offers an infotainment system that, while criticized for its graphics, provides a comprehensive suite of features. The available Virtual Cockpit is a standout, transforming the driver's dashboard into a customizable digital display that can show navigation maps, driver information, and more. It's a feature that tech aficionados will appreciate for its innovation and ease of use. The standard pop-up screen does feel a bit outdated though.

The Volkswagen Golf's infotainment system is less customisable and futuristic but more intuitive for users who prefer simplicity and effectiveness. The touchscreen interface is user-friendly, and the optional Digital Driver’s Dials add a modern touch, allowing drivers to see important information at a glance. Smartphone integration is standard, ensuring that drivers can connect their devices for music, calls, and navigation with minimal fuss.

Connectivity and Comfort:

Both vehicles offer a high level of connectivity, with Bluetooth, USB ports, and in some cases, wireless charging pads to keep devices powered up on the go. The A3 and the Golf also feature climate control systems to maintain cabin comfort, with the A3 offering a more sophisticated triple-zone system in higher trims, allowing different temperature settings for the driver, front passenger, and rear passengers.

Audio and Navigation:

For audiophiles, both the A3 and the Golf come with sound systems that offer clear and crisp audio quality. Upgrades are available for those who want an even more immersive listening experience, with premium brands like Bang & Olufsen available in the A3.

Navigation systems in both cars are designed to be user-friendly, with the A3's MMI Navigation Plus and the Golf's Discover Navigation system offering detailed maps, live traffic updates, and route guidance.

The A3's system can be controlled via touch or voice command, while the Golf's system is touch-centric but can be enhanced with gesture control in higher trims. In the Golf, a pre-built in sat-nav is an optional extra, but that is not a big issue since the bluetooth connectivity allows you to use Google Maps to navigate.

Lighting and Visibility:

LED lighting is standard on both models, providing excellent visibility and a modern aesthetic. The A3 takes it a step further with the availability of Matrix LED headlights, which adjust the beam pattern to avoid dazzling other road users while maximizing illumination.


What are the interiors of the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf like?

Trim and Texture:

The Audi A3's interior is a testament to Audi's commitment to luxury and attention to detail. The materials used throughout the cabin are of high quality, with soft-touch plastics and, in higher trims, leather upholstery that adds a tactile sense of luxury. The A3's interior design is modern and intuitive, despite the many haptic buttons that are to be found. In terms of seating, the Audi A3 offers supportive and comfortable seats, with the Sport trim featuring front sport seats that provide additional side support.

The Volkswagen Golf's interior, while not as luxurious as the A3's, is still well-crafted and designed with durability in mind. It has functionality in mind rather than style. The Golf uses high-quality materials throughout the cabin, including soft-touch surfaces and comfortable cloth seating as standard, with the option to upgrade to leather for those who prefer it. The design is functional and ergonomic, focusing on the comfort and convenience of the driver and passengers.

Quality and Craftsmanship:

Both the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf exhibit excellent build quality. The A3's fit and finish are impeccable, with precise panel gaps and materials that feel built to last. The Golf also demonstrates Volkswagen's commitment to quality, with a solid and robust interior that can withstand the rigors of daily use.

Driving Experience

What are the differences in driving Feel of the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf

Engine Offerings and Performance:

The Audi A3 offers a range of engines, starting with the base 1.0-litre TFSI or TDI which, despite being the entry-level option, provides a responsive and zesty driving experience. The engine's turbocharger helps deliver power smoothly across a wide rev range, making the A3 feel lively and capable, whether navigating urban streets or accelerating on motorways. However, it's worth noting that the base engine can be a bit vocal under heavy acceleration, a characteristic that some drivers may find less than ideal.

The Volkswagen Golf's 1.5-litre TSI engine is a marvel of modern engineering, balancing performance with efficiency. It's quieter than the A3's base engine, making for a more refined driving experience. The Golf's power delivery is linear and predictable, which, combined with its well-tuned transmission, offers a drive that's both relaxing and engaging. The engine's ample low-end torque ensures that the Golf has enough grunt for overtaking maneuvers without needing to work the engine hard.

Handling and Dynamics:

When it comes to handling, the Audi A3 showcases its sporty pedigree. The steering is precise and offers good feedback, allowing drivers to feel connected to the road. The car's chassis is balanced and composed, which translates to confident cornering and a reassuring drive. The A3's suspension is firm enough to maintain composure during spirited driving while still providing a comfortable ride over most surfaces.

The Volkswagen Golf also exhibits excellent handling characteristics. The steering is light, which contributes to an effortless driving experience, particularly in urban settings. The Golf's suspension is tuned to offer a good balance between comfort and handling, ensuring that the ride is smooth over bumps and undulations, yet the car remains stable and planted when the road gets twisty.

Both the A3 and the Golf offer front-wheel drive as standard, with the option of all-wheel drive in certain trims for improved traction and stability.

Both cars are available with either manual or automatic gearboxes, which are DSGs in both cars. In the Audi, the focus is once again on sportiness, while the Golf focusses more on comfort and smoothness.

Costs of Ownership

How much does it cost to run a VW Golf or Audi A3

Initial Purchase and Lease Costs:

When considering the costs of ownership, the initial purchase price and leasing options are critical factors. The Audi A3, with its starting price of CHF 38’250, is positioned in the market as a premium compact car. The higher price tag is justified by the brand's luxury status and the vehicle's advanced features. Leasing the A3 can be costlier, with monthly payments starting at CHF 290/Month. This is a reflection of the car's higher market value and the premium segment it occupies.

In contrast, the Volkswagen Golf starts at a more accessible 32’700 Francs, making it a more budget-friendly option for many consumers. The lower monthly lease cost starting at 250 Francs per Month makes the Golf an attractive proposition for those looking to manage their monthly outgoings effectively. The Golf's position in a lower insurance group also contributes to ongoing cost savings, potentially lowering annual insurance premiums compared to the A3.

Running Costs and Maintenance:

Running costs are a significant aspect of car ownership. Both the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf benefit from efficient engine designs that help to keep fuel consumption and, consequently, running costs down. Depending on the trim line, the A3 will use between 3.7 and 6.7l/100km while the Golf 4.4 and 7.1l/100km. Both Models offer hybrid options, which will help with lowering the fuel consumption

Total Cost of Ownership:

When calculating the total cost of ownership, it's essential to consider all factors including insurance, fuel consumption, maintenance, depreciation, and taxation. Both the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf present compelling cases, with the A3 appealing to those who prioritize premium features and brand prestige, and the Golf attracting buyers looking for value and efficiency.

To get an overview of these costs, you can have a look at the All-in-one Premium prices on Here, the costs for servie and maintenance, insurance, tyres, warranty, and taxes are included in the monthly rate. For the Golf and A3, the running costs (without fuel) calculated by will start from around 340 CHF per month additionally to the leasing rate.


Deciding between the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf hinges on what you prioritize in a vehicle. The A3 offers a slice of luxury, with a higher price tag that buys you a premium badge and a more upscale interior. It's designed for those who value a refined driving experience and brand prestige.

The Golf, conversely, is synonymous with practicality and value. It's a solid all-rounder with a reputation for reliability and lower running costs, appealing to those who seek functionality and economic efficiency.

Both models deliver on fuel economy, safety, and comfort, showcasing the strengths of their respective brands. The choice does not rest on which car is better overall, but which car better suits your individual needs and preferences. Whether you lean towards the luxury of the A3 or the sensibility of the Golf, each car stands as a commendable option in the compact hatchback market.

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Touring Club Schweiz
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