A big test came for the Sportback with the challenge to fit in two sizeable neighbours, particularly in respect of accommodating the 6ft 5ins long-legged male in question.
Would the front passenger seat slide back far enough for a man who finds it virtually impossible to even get behind the wheel of many normal cars? Yes, in the sense that he squeezed in with probably two inches or so between his knees and the dashboard, and a couple of inches spare headroom, and there was actually room behind him for another fairly small adult. I don’t think he would want to tour Europe in the car, but it was adequately comfortable for a 30 mile return journey, with a leg stretch at the halfway point. Full marks to the Sportback – and how well it rode with its considerable load, and an extra 4 to 5psi in each tyre that I thought was a wise move – I must remember to let them back down after I’ve completed the airport collection of aforesaid neighbours, although it hasn’t made the driver only ride feel significantly harsher. Subsequent to that, my lanky male neighbour lowered the seat to its minimum height on the second journey, freeing up another two inches of knee-room. Smart move!
The continued dirty weather and necessity for frequent car washing has confirmed my previous thoughts that the Audi A3 is an easy car to wash quickly, and a decent result with a pressure washer or hose can be achieved in maybe twenty minutes or so. I’m not quite so keen on washing the 17-inch wheels with their five-spoke alloys, but that’s a problem that generally comes with the alloy wheels deal, and a certain amount of hand brushing always seems necessary to get a good result. I’m expecting to switch back to summer tyres quite shortly, after an almost disappointingly mild winter, when the merits of the Dunlop winter tyres were hardly tested at all. It would have been nice to have had one or two experiences of snow and ice, although I’m not sure that you really know how good winter tyres are in winter conditions unless you’ve just stepped out of a car without them. Or maybe it really is that obvious a difference. But I have certainly found no significant shortcomings in the tyres when the days have been warm recently, and I guess that the only downside of keeping them on through the summer would probably be a relatively high wear rate, a slightly increased noise level, and possibly soggy handling and loss of braking power if it became really warm. Oh – and I guess that maybe I am possibly going to enjoy better fuel economy when I switch to summer tyres? I’m already noticing better fuel economy and quicker warm-up, as the mornings get less chilly (and maybe as the engine continues to loosen up?) and I’ve clocked a few longer runs at over 60mpg, without too much effort. Pity that I wasted some fuel recently by trying too hard to really brim the tank! My wife wasn’t too happy at having to wash a pair of diesel-splashed chinos either!
|Whats Hot:||The engine is warm, and consequently the heater output, after quite short a distance, now that the weather has started brightening up.|
|Whats Not:||The anti-misfuelling arrangements make brimming the tank quite difficult, and trickling in the last few litres can (and did) lead to a sudden overflow.|
|Date arrived:||4th November 2013|
|Mileage to date:||3,485 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||74.3mpg (official combined)
55.9mpg (on test)