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Skoda, SEAT, VW or Audi? Here's how to choose from Volkswagen's vast range

These four models are all made using Volkswagen’s modular toolkit.
Aug 14th 2017, 2:35 PM 8,033 3

THE VOLKSWAGEN GROUP is one of the largest car makers in the world and owns Audi, SEAT, Skoda, and Volkswagen, to name but a few. As a result, these four companies naturally share a lot of the same components and technologies, most notably the MQB platform.

This modular toolkit forms the core basis for many Volkswagen Group cars and underpins some of the most popular models under the Volkswagen umbrella, including the Audi A3, SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia, and Volkswagen Golf.

But if these models share so much, how on earth should one choose between them? Here’s our guide to picking a car from Volkswagen Group’s Big Four…

1. Audi A3

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If you’re looking for an upmarket posh hatchback, then the Audi A3 is one of the best choices. Not only is it widely considered better looking than the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but it also comes with a good variety of engine options as well as a three-door/five-door hatchback, saloon and convertible version.

The A3′s conservative exterior design is carried through to the interior, with plenty of luxe touches including the smoothly-closing air vents and the infotainment system’s rotary controller. Additionally, the infotainment screen slides back into the dashboard when it is not required, a feature unique to the A3.

Audi A3 are an expensive used car to opt for, but if you’re looking for refinement and style, they can’t be beaten.

Here’s what’s on the market now.

2. SEAT Leon

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Of the four models on the list, the Leon wins in terms of value for money. Not only is it a stylish car, it drives well and offers a choice of smooth-running petrol or economical diesel engines, depending on the distances you’ll be covering.

From a driver’s perspective, the Leon feels well put-together and has a ride quality that isn’t that different to the more popular Volkswagen Golf. It’s the interior where you see some of the more noticeable differences.

The overall design is a bit more basic, and the quality of the upholstery and plastics isn’t as high as those seen on a Volkswagen, but as a cut-price alternative it definitely does the trick.

See cars on the market now.

3. Skoda Octavia

skoda octavia Source: DoneDeal

The Skoda Octavia is the largest car on this list, and the popular standard five-door liftback offers excellent boot space without compromising rear passenger headroom and legroom.

The Octavia is full of smart storage solutions throughout the cabin, like a large glove box and generously sized bins in the doors and centre console. Unless you go for the range-topping model, the finish of the cabin may seem a bit on the basic side, but generally, the build-quality is quite robust.

One caveat: Octavias are a common feature on company car fleets, so don’t be surprised to come across used models with higher-than-average mileages.

See cars on the market now.

4. Volkswagen Golf

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Arguably the best all-rounder on the list, the Golf offers a refined ride and comes in a huge variety of models. These range from a pure electric car with a near-300km driving range to an all-wheel drive hot hatch with over 300hp – all built using the versatile MQB platform.

The Golf’s petrol engine variety is ideal for urban driving, but if you’re drawn towards diesel, I’d suggest opting for the larger 2.0-litre unit rather than the less refined 1.6.

On the inside, the Golf feels very well-made, and if you pay a little extra for the mid/high-level trim line, you’ll get an interior that’s more than up to scratch too.

See cars on the market now.

More: Want a serious performance car on a €15k budget? Here are 3 to check out>

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Dave Humphreys

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