Getting a puncture is generally pretty annoying. But it’s even more irritating when you can’t see what’s caused it. Even Kwikfit couldn’t find why the Audi A3’s rear nearside tyre had lost pressure. But as I had some miles to cover that weekend, and the tyre wouldn’t stay inflated, I wasn’t in a position to wait for a detailed investigation. A new tyre was sourced quickly, fitted and I was on my way with the old carcass in the boot while I figure out how to work out why it went down.The puncture did enable me to discover three things. The Tyre Pressure Monitoring System fitted to the A3 does actually work and informed me something was awry before the tyre became dangerously flat. The A3’s jack and space saver spare were easy and efficient to use in my hour of need. And after ringing my local independent tyre fitter, Blackcircles.com and Kwikfit, the latter proved the cheapest more than £20 less than my local garage.
Puncture aside, the A3 is proving the perfect travelling companion. It might not have the extra room, or doors, of the Sportback but there haven’t been many complaints from the 12-year-old daughter who invariably ends up in the back. The boot has proved more than adequate too, long enough for a Christmas tree, and commodious enough for old carpet and underlay from two medium sized rooms in one go.
The A3’s 2.0 turbo diesel pulls strongly and according to the onboard computer appears to be returning economy in the late 40s. Even though I’ve engaged the Efficiency Programme which gives me ‘helpful’ (read slightly patronising) advice such as ‘Use Start/Stop’, economy remains disappointingly shy of the claimed 68.9mpg.
The winter’s extreme rain enabled me to put the automatic wipers to the test more than I would have liked and they’re the best I’ve come across so far. Unlike examples from other makers which either don’t come on as soon as you want and then remain wiping manically when the rain has stopped, the A3’s system appears to judge conditions as I would.
The winter tyres have proved themselves too. In the various cold spells, while everyone around me slithered and skidded to a stop, PJJ’s progress was serene. Even up the relatively steep hill to my house the traction control light resolutely refused to illuminate. Only being brutishly heavy footed – in the name of research obviously – caused it to wink and the front wheels to scrabble on the snow. It somehow made the extra expense of replacing the punctured winter tyre worthwhile.