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Simple cockpit
From the inside, the A3 looks positively austere compared to the Lexus, even if you opt for the computer interface, not shown here. There's no question. You're in a German car, not a jet fighter.

Performance is where this car really stands out. The Audi A3 TDI isn't just OK to drive, it's a blast! Once the engine gets nicely warmed up -- response is sluggish when the engine is really cold -- all that low-end torque results in a rush of power and really impressive passing performance, especially since this car this so small and light. Steering feel is also nice, if a bit light, making the A3 TDI nearly as much fun to drive as a sports car.

NEXT: Wide-open space

Last updated March 25 2010: 10:44 AM ET
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