Mileage: 30 city, 42 highway and 34 combined mpg
Audi calls its front-wheel-drive 2011 A3 a Sportback. This is luxury-speak for hatchback, but it looks suspiciously like a wagon to us. In any event, what's important is its utility and stingy fuel economy.
Under the A3's hood is a 140-horsepower, 2-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder diesel engine. Although the pony count may not be impressive, it generates 236 foot-pounds of torque, which is what gets a vehicle moving from a standstill. Getting to 60 miles per hour from a stop takes 8.9 seconds by Audi's stopwatch.
Standard is Audi's S tronic six-speed, driver-shiftable, automatic transmission.
Five can ride comfortably with almost 20 cubic feet of luggage space behind the 60/40 split rear seat of this diesel car. That grows to 39 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. A station wagon would have more. So, maybe it's not a station wagon after all.
Among the other standard features are full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, six air bags, trip computer and a 10-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary input jack.
Laying out another $2,000 for the Premium Plus package adds such features as Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and redundant audio controls on the steering wheel, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.