The Audi A3 may be the more expensive brother to the hugely popular VW Golf, but it still found itself as one of the 20 bestselling new cars in the UK last year. And the reason for this is simple. While the A3 may not be cheap to buy, it offers even more feel good factor than its slightly straight-laced sibling and feels like a big car in a small car shell.

Step into the cabin and you’re greeted with a slick, simple dashboard that feels substantial and easy to use. The engines are shared with the Golf too, but this is no bad thing, with all offering a strong blend of power and economy.

Provided you’re happy to pay a premium over the VW Golf, there are a number of appealing versions to choose from – whether you’re after an affordable model for the lowest price, or are happy to splash out on a range-topping diesel, Audi has a model to suit your needs.

The smart choice for those on a budget – 1.2 TFSI 110 SE 3-dr

There is no budget A3 option, with even this entry-level car weighing in at £18,575. However, opting for this most affordable A3 shouldn’t leave you feeling hard done by. With a turbocharged 1.2-litre engine under the bonnet this lightweight A3 scampers to 62mph in a nippy 9.9 seconds.

Fuel bills are similarly reasonable, thanks to an official fuel consumption figure of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions low enough to warrant £30 annual car tax bills. SE trim should provide all the core equipment you could want with air conditioning, a digital radio, Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels and a media system with a 5.8-inch screen all included as standard.

The smart choice for value for money – 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport 5-dr

Opting for the 1.4 TFSI Sport 5-dr may set you back a substantial £22,745, but with five doors, added equipment over SE cars, improved performance and impressive economy, this A3 makes a strong claim for your money. Despite being able to sprint to 62mph in a speedy 8.1 seconds, claimed economy stands at 60.1mpg, while car tax will set you back a mere £20 per year.

Sport trim includes all the same kit as the car above but adds dual-zone climate control, lowered sports suspension, body-hugging front sports seats and selectable driving modes, which can prioritise comfort or sharp handling, along with 17-inch alloy wheels.

The smart choice for technophiles – 2.0 TDI 184 quattro S line 5-dr

If money is less of a concern, though, going for the 2.0 TDI 184 quattro S line gives you the best of all worlds. This four-wheel drive model can launch to 62mph in a rapid 6.8 seconds, while still being capable of 60.1mpg. Low CO2 emissions mean that car tax weighs in at a reasonable £110 per year.

This sporty model builds on the standard equipment of the Sport model, adding 18-inch alloy wheels, cloth and leather sports seats, sports suspension, additional storage cubbies and powerful xenon headlights to the A3’s kit list.