So you tested the Audi TT and you really liked it, but it felt a bit conspicuous and you couldn’t justify so obvious a vanity purchase. Try the considerably more conservative looking A3 2.0T. A little bullet, it drives like the TT: It performs like a rock star, but dresses like an accountant. And its $10,000 cheaper.
A station wagon, but still quite light, it features a fuel-injected four-banger, producing 200HP@5100rpm and 207 lbs of torque@1700rpm. It whips through traffic like an eel and loves the tight turns. You can wring more efficiency from that engine with the sport mode transmission, though paddling is less fun than genuine manual shifting.
Flip a switch into sport suspension and it’s like putting your glasses on in the morning: suddenly everything’s clearer. The shocks are firmer – hello! – and you’re drive experience is heightened. Then turn off the stabilization program on an icy or gravel road, and you’re in the front seat on a five-coupon ride at your favourite theme park.
Jewellery and extras: 8.5
Used to be, four-wheel drive wasn’t much use in the city. But this past winter, regardless of which Canadian city you live in, you’d have appreciated being able to move when others were stuck.
Bi-xenon headlights read your movements and shift to where you’re going. Dual zone comfort control means you remain cool while your girlfriend can pretend she’s at the spa. Heated mirrors keep the view clear on cold days. And the very distinctive glass double-sunroof keeps it bright all the time, lightening a driver’s mood – not that you need it.
Fuel efficiency: 7
The aforementioned accountant analogy falls down a bit here: 9.6L/100km in the city and 7.5 on the highway isn’t great. But you’ll find it hard to be light on your foot.
So it’s a station wagon. It could win you brownie points for being practical. But it’s also a very fun ride and your joy becomes palpable. Besides, there’s plenty of room when you collapse the back seats and that double sunroof still works at night.
Base price: $39.950
As tested: $44,450
*Will it get you laid?