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Hatchbacks Lexus CT vs Audi A3

In the luxury hatchback market, it’s the German models that tend to come to mind first for many car buyers, but Japan’s answer has long made a compelling case for itself. How does the Lexus CT stack up in comparison to Audi’s unsurprisingly popular A3?

Looks compared

Both of these prestige hatchbacks have large grilles that dominate their front-end designs but Audi’s traditional monopoly has quietly but confidently been surpassed by Lexus, the CT’s more radically-styled spindle grille proving the most evocative, especially when wearing full chrome and mesh treatment. In side profile, the A3 appears the more cohesive car with timeless and restrained lines rather than the CT’s assortment of perhaps juxtaposed angles. The Audi is available in 3-door and 5-door Sportback guises, while the Lexus is always a 5-door. With relatively discrete rears that ooze sophistication, their distinctive European and Japanese approaches are equally desirable and appeal to different taste, while each car is adorned with plenty of exquisite details.

Conclusion: for true individuality it’s got to be the Lexus CT

Interiors compared

Minimalism and an obsessively high level of build quality abound inside the Audi A3 hatchback, with beautifully damped and ergonomically excellent controls at the driver’s disposal. All trims from SE and Sport to Black Edition get Audi’s MMI Radio Plus infotainment system with a 7-inch retractable screen, while dual-zone climate replaces manual air conditioning on Sport trim upwards. It’s well worth upgrading to leather seats, Virtual Cockpit and other premium options if possible. The Audi A3’s relatively linear profile translates into a decent amount of airy and well-lit room front and rear, the Sportback logically proving more spacious and practical than the 3-door, with boot space of 380/1,220 litres.

Japanese ‘Omotenashi’ hospitality and ‘Takumi’ craftsmanship greet Lexus CT occupants and the tall centre console creates an elevated sense of driver engagement. All variants come with dual zone climate while the SE Plus Pack adds Lexus Navigation. Heated front seats and privacy glass are standard on Luxury trim, and F Sport with Premier Pack provides sumptuous leather and Lexus’ revered Mark Levinson sound system. Available solely as a hybrid, the position of the CT’s battery doesn’t impact on boot capacity which is only 5 litres less than the A3 at 375 litres, but the Lexus’ seats-down capacity of 985 litres can’t compete.

Conclusion: the Audi A3’s interior has more practical longevity

Engines compared

As a pioneer of green motoring technology, Lexus’ CT hatchback relies on hybrid and its combination of a 1.8-litre petrol engine, electric motor and battery results in combined DIN-HP power of 136hp, 142Nm torque, a 62mph time of 10.3 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. Hybrid alongside a CVT ‘automatic’ transmission means that the CT accelerates smoothly and quietly, combining pace with grace – and, of course, low emissions of 88g/km CO2.

The A3, meanwhile, is available in fully electric e-tron guise, but the majority of buyers opt for one of Audi’s highly developed combustion fuel engines.

  • Petrol variants span from the impressively economical 1.0 TFSI with a combined efficiency figure of 62.8mpg through to the 2.0 TFSI Quattro with reassuring four-wheel drive and 190bhp of power on tap.
  • The most economical diesel is the 72.4mpg 1.6 TDI, while the 2.0 TDI Quattro offers strong potency with 184bhp available.

Conclusion: the Audi A3 1.0 TFSI is an excellent all-round pick

In numbers…


Jaguar E-Pace

Lexus CT



Power (HP)




Fuel (comb MPG)




Emissions (CO2, g/km)




Top Speed (mph)




0 – 60mph in…. (seconds)




Both of these premium hatchbacks are highly desirable, the Lexus appealing to individuality and drivers wanting to embrace hybrid, while the
Audi has a practical interior and an engine for all lifestyles. Why not test drive each at Inchcape Audi and Inchcape Lexus to see which one wins your heart?