This month's edition of Car has a four way test of cars all based around the Golf platform, Audi A3, VW Golf, Skoda Octavia & Seat Leon. Rather than pick equivalent spec models & compare them on price, they took a fixed budget (£18K), & then selected typical examples of each model according to what that budget will buy you. The Golf & Leon were both mid-spec 2.0TDIs, the A3 a poverty-spec 1.6 petrol, & the Skoda a top-spec 1.9TDI with DSG. As you might guess, the A3 came off the worst of the four on pretty much every criteria except image. Even VAG's own CEO can't understand why anyone would buy an A3, when they can get an equally good car (sometimes a better one) off the same platform, for substantially less money. The magazine made the point that if you're going to buy into the Audi image, it really only works if you're buying further up the model range, where there is less platform sharing, and the models are more bespoke, and less likely to be undercut by similar alternatives from the other VAG brands. So, an A4, A6 or A8 makes sense, but not an A3. For the record, despite being a 1.9TDI 8-valver with 103bhp, the Skoda Octavia won the test. They reckoned its interior build was nearly the equal of the A3, the standard spec way beyond compare, & the DSG a real treat. Food for thought.