Motoring Awards: Driving Experience


Do you enjoy driving your new car? Canstar Blue has rated manufacturers based on driving experience.

How satisfied were customers with the Experience of Driving their car?

5 Stars

4 Stars

3 Stars

Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order. Canstar Blue research finalised in October 2016, published in December 2016.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2017 award for cars driving experience

Most Satisfied Customers | Audi

When it comes to enjoying your ride, it seems you get what you pay for. Aussie motorists who own a new Audi report the highest levels of driving satisfaction, scoring the make five stars.


Audi rated highest for driving experience

With its Olympic-like logo of four rings, Audi is an iconic sports-luxury car manufacturer. It was the only marque in this year’s customer ratings to achieve five stars for driving experience and in doing so, beats out other luxury European car makers including Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and BMW, who each earned four stars apiece.

Evidently, Aussie Audi owners are happy to pay top dollar for the extra satisfaction that comes with a great driving experience – be it hitting the open highway or that twisty and challenging mountain road. For reference, Audi owners rated the brand three stars on value for money, which is a telling result.

Australian drivers as a whole are more willing to spend extra on a luxury car than ever before. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mercedes-Benz, for example, sold more than Ford in 2015. Ford sold a touch under 20,000 units, while Mercedes-Benz sold nearly 23,000. Audi did even better, surpassing the 23,000 sales mark. This was also at a time when Australians set a record for buying new cars, buying over 1.15 million of them. So these figures, in combination with our research results, paint a vivid picture.

So, just what Audi models are Aussies getting excited about? Let’s take a look.

The models in Audi’s line-up

Audi has a wide range of models, ranging from the humble around-town commuters from about $50,000, all the way up to its supercars costing nearly $400,000. Audi is a great luxury European manufacturer that we suspect a lot of people could be excited by, especially if you want better driving dynamics.

Audi A4

The stalwart A4 represents Audi’s market share in the small-midsized sedan world. For the basic model – the 1.4L turbo petrol – you can drive away in one for about $55,000. It’s a moderately humble beast with a small displacement but the turbo means you have peak torque nearly straight away so tooting around town is easy. The next step up – and it’s a huge one – is the 2.0L turbo petrol. It can make 0-100km/h in less than six seconds, but still retains moderate fuel economy at 6.3L/100km combined. This model can be had for a touch under $69,000 drive away.

If you’re more of a diesel fan, depending on the trim level, you can drive away in one from around $65,000. You’ll get a whopping 400Nm torque from 1750RPM, meaning you have that ‘push’ feeling on tap nearly straight away. All models with a 7-speed automatic and can be fit out with a range of extra creature comforts. The A4 represents a great midsized sedan, with killer looks, performance and economy all in one.

Audi S3

If you’re after a hot hatch, then look no further than the S3. It’s powered by a 2.0L turbo petrol engine, which offers amazing amounts of power and torque and can go from 0-100km/h in about five seconds. With the S3, you don’t have a choice of motor – just the 2.0L turbo petrol – but you will get a choice in transmission unseen in the A4. You’ll either get a 6-speed sports auto or a 6-speed manual. Despite its hot hatch nature, it can still return figures of about 7L/100km combined driving. Depending on trim level, you can drive away in one anywhere from about $62,000 to just over $70,000.

Audi Q3

Audi isn’t just about ‘boy racer’ cars – it’s got the family in mind too with its range of SUVs. As you’d expect, the Q3 is the smallest and most budget-oriented of the SUV line-up behind the Q5 and Q7. The Q3 represents reasonably budget-oriented European SUV motoring. You have a choice of two engines – a 2.0L turbo diesel and 1.4L turbo petrol. Both use a 7-speed sports auto.

The main benefit with running turbos is you get a lot more instantaneous torque, aiding in the driving experience around town and when you need to overtake. You’ll get 340Nm from 1750RPM with the diesel, and 250Nm at 1500RPM in the petrol but the petrol is also marginally lighter. The diesel will use a combined 5.1L/100km and the petrol will use 5.9L combined. Is that 800mL less fuel consumption worth the extra sticker price for the diesel? With the petrol model, you can expect to pay about $49,000 drive away, whereas you’ll pay nearly $50,000 for the diesel model. Either way, you’ll be afforded a solid value European SUV.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the above models represent some of the more popular models in Audi’s line-up, and evidently a lot of Aussies are satisfied with the driving experience of one of Germany’s leading car manufacturers. All in all, Audi was the star performer for driving experience in our customer satisfaction ratings. It beat out main rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz and was mostly in another league compared to Asian and American marques. From the freeway to the winding mountain roads, Audi will likely offer you a satisfying driving experience.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 9,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have bought a new car from a dealership in the last three years – in this case, 2,534 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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