2015 Audi A3 to Quebec City with a fully loaded trunk. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
Odometer at pick-up: 1,139 km
Odometer current: 7,209 km (6,069 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 8.7 L/100 km
Fuel costs: $765.54
It’s been an eventful finish to the end of summer, and the A3 has been put to good use. The highlight of this month and summer was the Yarkony family road trip; our destination: Quebec City, with a layover in Montreal.
Now, packing our two kids in the A3 just seemed to easy, and we had a layover and family reunion in Montreal that prompted the dates and destination, so we figured we’d add to the fun and invited my mom to join us on the second leg up to Quebec City. Unfortunately for my wife, that meant squeezing between the kids’ seats, so we opted for a lighter booster seat for our five-year-old to make space. Hip space was fine, but shoulder space was tight even for my petite wife. So for that leg and the return, dropping my mom off in Prince Edward County on the way back to Toronto meant we were fully loaded with three adults, two lightweight kids and car seats, and a trunk bursting with necessities (or so my wife tells me).
As far as the driving experience went, you almost couldn’t tell how loaded up we were. The 2.0L turbo-four and its claimed 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque were unfazed, and my poor mother was treated to my highly trained right foot launching the A3 up some of Quebec City’s steeper streets. I doubt we could have actually matched the estimate 6.2-second sprint to 100 km/h, but picking up speed for highway merging or moving around in traffic was never in doubt. Granted, it takes its time getting underway, the delayed hook-up in first gear of the twin-clutch S tronic seeming more noticeable as the months go by.
If there is one thing in the powertrain that needs addressing, it is that first gear and low-speed reversing, where the delay between action and reaction seems neither equal nor opposite – at first nothing, and then vroom, making squeezing the A3 in with other cars in my short-ish driveway a chore and sometime requiring a spotter depending on the value of the other merchandise as the front radar parking assist leaves a lot of room even in its ‘red’ zone. My second request for the transmission: either an in-between mode between normal Drive and Sport, which at a certain point should just shift up from fourth gear (through fifth and sixth), but just stays locked in fourth seemingly forever even when settled in at a constant highway speed, always expecting some hard braking for that next corner. A little bit more adaptability in street driving would be welcome.
Normal Drive mode is fine for relaxed highway driving, uneventful commuting, sightseeing, or taking a night-time cruise through the lower city to appreciate the view of the lit-up Chateau Frontenac, and Sport is at its finest navigating city traffic when you are more eager to arrive at a lunch stop or pushing on in twistier sections.
2015 Audi A3 in Quebec City. Click image to enlarge
In Quebec City’s old city, the Audi’s small dimensions, light steering and turning radius made it easy to navigate the warren of alleys and tight confines. However, visibility is an issue, with a narrow windshield and large rearview mirror, thick pillars, I often find myself craning my neck to ensure there are no pedestrians or vehicles in some unusual blind spots.