I have just spent the day at Autostadt in Wolfsburg Germany. I visited all the various pavilions for each of the VAG manufacturers. The Audi pavilion had a single S-Line version of the new A3 which I sat in and tried most of the controls. Externally it looks fine but I don't like the interior at all. After the Audi pavilion I went to the VW pavilion and they had two new Golf VII's and a new Golf VII GTI. Again I sat in and tried all the controls of both a manual and a DSG Golf and I must say I much prefer the interior and control layout of the Golf. The interior finish of the Golf was just as good as the A3 and the switches etc were in my opinion better. The screen unit in the dash was very simple and easy to use with the buttons around the outside and the fact that the screen was a touch screen which every mode it was in. The switch for the new electronic handbrake was bigger in the Golf. The arrangement of the switches around the DSG lever worked well and the lever itself had a similar button on the front end as the existing A3. Both Golf models had adaptive cruise control and I understand this will be standard on all Golfs from the SE spec upwards. The finish of the centre console in one car was a glossy black which I was not keen on but the other one had a nice dull aluminium finish on both the console and the door trims. One of the Golfs had a sunroof which was glass and slid back over the normal roof rather than taking up valuable height in the cabin.
In the Skoda pavilion I had a look at the current Octavia Estate. My interest in this is because I now have to use a mobility scooter for going any distance and the space in the back of the Octavia would have accommodated it with ease. It just about fits in my A3 but any cases have to go inside. I'm sure with the Octavia Estate both would have gone in the luggage area.
From my personal point of view I will be very interested to see the new Skoda Octavia due out in 2013 and also the new Estate version of the Golf VII, again due out next year.
My next car choice is certainly not going to be as straight-forward as in the past and I don't think it will be my 9th A3.