Our D3 Inscription test car occupies an equally strong position. Add its equipment tally to the equivalent A3 Sportback (Bluetooth, climate control, cruise control, keyless go, leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels and active bi-xenon headlights) and the price will exceed £29k. The difference that makes to the 40 per cent income tax fleet user is worth just under £200 a year.
Economy is competitive, albeit not outstanding in the case of the D3. Our test car averaged 45.9mpg over our test, and its touring economy result (51.7mpg) was acceptable. It’s good enough, just, to prevent you from questioning the wisdom of putting a five-cylinder engine in a car like this.
The D4 model, which has a slug more power, matches the D3's official figure of 65.7mpg and 114g/km, but choosing the Geartronic automatic version of either model causes those numbers to look far less favourable.
More fiscally sensible is the D2, which is the only diesel to pack a more conventional four-cylinder configuration. Its 1560cc unit returns an official figure of 78.5mpg on the combined cycle, and emissions of 94g/km.