2009 Detroit auto show

2009 Detroit auto show

The second new diesel from Audi this year, the 2010 A3 TDI offers hatchback practicality and clean-diesel frugality in a relatively affordable package. Starting from $29,950 before an $825 delivery fee, the hatch technically just squeaks under the $30,000 mark.

But you get a good deal of value for that $30,000. The standard A3 quattro is nothing to sneeze at, with an excellent Audi interior, fun and sporty handling and more practicality than the average compact sedan.
Throw in the A3 2.0 TDI's 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway efficiency rating and you've got a car that's just as efficient and just as nice to drive as the Lexus HS 250h hybrid. Not to mention it's several orders of magnitude more attractive, and several thousand dollars less expensive.

The A3 TDI follows on the heels of the Q7 TDI, which both Motor Authority and TheCarConnection has had the chance to drive recently. The smooth power delivery, effortless acceleration and generally transparent demeanor of the Audi diesel means there's no reason to reject a modern oil-burner in favor of a less efficient gasoline engine unless you just crave high-revving power.

Rated at 140 horsepower and 236 pount-feet of torque, the A3 TDI is sure to offer a similar experience behind the wheel, pulling strongly from low revs and on to its 130 mph top speed.