Plug-in cars promise great efficiency, but is Audi’s new A3 e-tron hybrid a better bet than range-extending i3 and Outlander?
Eco-friendly plug-in models are slowly gaining in popularity, so it’s no real surprise that after decades of experimentation Audi has finally decided to jump on the petrol-electric bandwagon.
The new A3 e-tron is based on the classy A3 Sportback, and packages together a 1.4-litre petrol turbo and 75kW motor, while a compact lithium-ion battery pack sits under the back seat. Its raw statistics certainly look compelling, with a 31-mile claimed electric range, CO2 emissions of 37g/km and 176.6mpg economy.
Just as importantly, Audi says these figures don’t come at the expense of the standard Sportback’s space, refinement and upmarket appeal.
However, there are many different ways to package the perfect plug-in, as our other contenders here prove. Mitsubishi’s rugged Outlander PHEV claims to deliver all the practicality of the standard model, but – with a 30-mile electric range – city car-humbling costs.
Completing our trio is BMW’s daring i3 Range Extender, which sets the class standard for efficiency, design and driving dynamics.
Read more: AutoExpress