A favourite song from my youth was Donovan’s ‘Mellow Yellow’ ñ remember that? ñ crooning about a cheery colour that appeals to my sunny nature. It was only years later that I learned of the lyrics being rumoured to be about smoking hallucinogenic dried banana skins, but hey, it was the ’60s that we’re talking about. I was reminded of this by the dazzling shade of our lovable A3 long-termer that I have been driving for two months now, in its distinctly mellow shade of bright Imola Yellow.
As it happens, yellow cars have been in the headlines this month. You’ll no doubt have read about the hapless retired dentist and resident of Bibury, a charming Cotswolds village, whose yellow car was vandalised by some less than charming individuals. They apparently deemed it an eyesore in the quaint corner of England. As a result, hundreds of other owners of yellow cars spontaneously converged on Bibury, and drove in convoy through the village in a very conspicuous show of support. Good on them!
Although the Audi has extrovert paintwork, that is the only in-yer-face thing about it. Everything else about the A3 is the very model of civilised restraint. It’s a car that delivers strong performance and mannerly behaviour, without making any kind of fuss about it. It just gets on with the job, and does it very well. Over the past month, the car and I have racked up almost 1,000 miles around the country, and it has been pleasurably efficient throughout. I have been on constant alert for a recurrence of the tyre pressure angst that I wrote about last month, but happily it hasn’t arisen. It has been a reminder, though, that we all probably need to check our tyres more often, to pre-empt any pressure drop that could activate the warning light at some inevitably inconvenient moment.
The A3 has been one of the pioneers of the rimless rear-view mirror that are now becoming a bit of a trend. I applaud this feature. I love its seamlessness, the way it keeps you in touch with what’s behind without the staccato effect of a heavy edge around it. That is one of the elegant details in this car which are pleasing to live with on a daily basis.
There’s one small annoyance that I’d ideally like redesigned. It’s the location of the USB connector, an on-the-move essential for anyone who has a smartphone with dubious battery life. The ideal location for plugging in a charging cable is at the bottom of the dash panel, therefore conveniently ahead of you and easy to reach. The A3, though, is one of those cars that hides its connectivity inside the front centre armrest. If you’re a six-footer, who adopts a driving position well back from the steering wheel, that may well be fine. For the shorties amongst us, though, and that means me, I have to adopt a ‘chicken-wing’ stance as I fumble about semi-backwards to plug in a cable. It’s an irksome little detail in a Mary Poppins of a car, one that is otherwise practically perfect in every way.
Date arrived 20th December 2016
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 46.7mpg (on test)
This little button on the steering wheel, that lets you change the size of the instrument dials on the Virtual Cockpit.
I wish the USB connectors were located ahead of the gear lever, instead of in the compartment under the centre armrest.