The Audi A3 has almost everything I want in a new car. Its TDI engine is both economical (with a 34 mpg combined EPA rating) and responsive, with a decent amount of power and lots of torque. All-wheel drive would be nice, but with how well this car handled on snowy roads I really didn't miss it all that much, plus the added weight of the all-wheel-drive system would likely drag down fuel economy. The car is small but not cramped, and the handy wagon configuration means that you can still haul bulky items in the rear cargo compartment with the second row folded. The interior is nicely laid out and seemingly designed for someone my size. Still, at almost $33,000, this car is hardly inexpensive. And that's without the $6500 it would cost to add a panoramic sunroof, a sport package, MMI navigation, and a premium package. No wonder it's not flying off dealer lots.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor