This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The New 2015 Audi A3 Is Designed For Success

Speaking of electric, there will be a plug-in hybrid version of this car in early 2015. The body of that car will be a hatchback, sort of like the outgoing A3, which is based on the VW Golf. I don't think it looks as good as the sedan but it may have better headroom in the back seat. The 2015 VW Golf certainly has much better rear seat headroom than the A3 sedan.

The plug-in hybrid A3 will follow the recipe of most European plug-in hybrids that will be arriving in the next year and two. It has a small battery and weak electric motor as opposed to the Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac ELR and BMW i3 with range-extender. This means that you can only go 13 to 22 miles on EV power, and the gasoline engine will engage if you apply anywhere near full throttle.

I will likely be driving the plug-in hybrid version of the A3 some time in the second half of 2014, given that it will be in U.S. dealerships in the earliest part of 2015. It will most closely be a competitor to the two Ford (F) plug-in hybrid models (Fusion and C-Max), Honda (HMC) Accord and the next-generation Toyota (TM) Prius plug-in.

The gasoline A3 is rated at 33 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 mpg combined. That is 10 mpg less than the combined mpg of the Chevrolet Volt in charge-sustaining mode.

Speaking of the Chevrolet Volt, it was the car I drove both directly before and after the 2015 Audi A3. Even though the Volt is an almost 3.5 years older design than the A3, the powerful electric motor makes for a superior driving experience.

For the two people sitting in the front, the comfort is similar between the A3 and Volt. In the back seat, the Volt is more comfortable for two tall people (up to 6 feet tall), but the Audi's critical advantage is that it seats three people instead of two.

The 2015 Audi A3 looks better than the Volt, inside and out. It also handles a little better, probably reflecting more sporty tires. A relatively loaded Volt at $39,000 is priced similarly to the base 2015 Audi A3 after federal and state tax incentives.

The 2015 Audi A3 holds up very well against the equivalent entry-level offerings from Mercedes and BMW. However, if you don't need some of the enhanced equipment levels or the superior design beauty, you might get an even better value in the 2015 VW Golf, which also has much more headroom in the back seat. The 2015 VW Golf should be available no later than autumn 2014.

As you might have figured out by now, I think the strongest competitor to the 2015 Audi A3 is the Chevrolet Volt, which despite being almost 3.5 years old in the tooth remains the powertrain champ of our time. The electric drivetrain is powerful and ultra-smooth, and if you don't need to fit a third person in the rear seat -- the Volt's achilles heel -- it is the better choice.

The 2015 Audi A3 is likely going to be very successful, and for good reason. It's supremely beautiful, inside and out. As long as you can live with the very poor rear seat headroom, it is a class leader among the entry-level luxury sedans. I can't wait to drive the plug-in electric version!

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,021.74 +39.15 0.23%
S&P 500 1,984.33 +5.42 0.27%
NASDAQ 4,470.8440 +25.9350 0.58%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs