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Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class video group test

If you want a small family car that feels like a luxury car then you will need something German, but which should you choose – the new Mercedes A-Class, the BMW 1 Series or the Audi A3 Sportback?

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Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class prices

The Audi A3 Sportback starts at just under £22,000, meanwhile the five-door BMW 1 Series starts at around £23,000 and the new A-Class starts at just under £26,000 but remember you can save thousands of pounds on all these cars by logging in to carwow and comparing offers from official dealers.

Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class styling

The BMW 1 Series design can be polarising but the one on test here does look good as it is the M Sport Shadow Edition. You’ve got the aggressive bumpers, the black grille, performance brakes with blue callipers and black exhaust pipes.

The Mercedes A-Class is in AMG Line trim, which features larger wheels and lower suspension. Hatchbacks tend the look like boxes on wheels but the new A-Class has sleek headlamps and a gorgeous grille with that big Mercedes badge bang in the middle.

The Audi A3 is a sensible-yet-stylish hatchback. Our test car comes with lovely roof rails which makes the five-door hatchback look a bit like one of those ‘lifestyle’ estate cars. The top-of-the-range S Line is the best looking A3.

Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class interior

One thing BMW does really well is build solid interiors. So everything in the BMW 1 Series is really well screwed together, although there are some cheap plastics. The dashboard is starting to feel its age, however, looking a bit bland when you compare it with the other two.

Like the BMW, the Audi A3 has been around for quite a while now, yet its interior still looks fresh and everything has a lovely feel to it. It’s smart, easy to use and clinical – everything you would expect of an Audi.

The inside of the Mercedes A-Class isn’t perfect – there are some nasty bits of plastic and the indicator stalks feel cheap. Other than that though, you’ll love this car’s interior. The air-vents are like turbines and the you get the same steering wheel in this, Mercedes’ cheapest, car as you do in the S-Class.

The best thing about the Mercedes A-Class interior is the infotainment display. As standard you get two screens and it’s lovely, easy to use and makes the system in the Audi look old-fashioned.

Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class practicality

Space in the back of the 1 Series and A-Class is fine, but the back seat of the Audi is the place to be – you just seem to get a little bit more space and be a little bit more comfortable than in the other two cars.

The A-Class is the best car to fit Isofix child seats as the fixing points are uncovered. In all three, though, you’ll have to move the front passenger seat forward to fit a child seat in the back. The A3 Sportback has the largest and most practical boot, however.

Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class driving

The BMW 1 Series is the only car in its class to come with rear-wheel drive – the same as you get in an F1 car – so it’s no surprise it’s the most fun to drive.

The A3 Sportback is a comfortable car to drive and has a great range of powerful, efficient engines, but it doesn’t have much of a fun factor of the BMW.

The Mercedes A-Class fits somewhere between the Audi and BMW. It’s a little more sporty than the Audi, but not as much as the BMW. It’s more comfortable and quieter than the BMW, however, but not as quiet as the Audi.

Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class verdict

These cars are so closely matched. If you want a car that’s fun to drive, the BMW 1 Series is the one to have. The Audi A3 Sportback is the most practical, but the car with the biggest wow factor is the Mercedes A-Class. It blows the other two away in terms of technology and interior design and that’s why the it wins this test.

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