The Audi Q3 is a stylish small SUV with lots of room inside and plenty of desirable high-tech features that help it stand out from the likes of the BMW X1 and the Mercedes GLA.
On the outside, you’ll spot a few features borrowed from the Audi Q3’s bigger SUV brothers. The vast octagonal grille looks like a scaled-down version of what you get in the huge Q8, for example. You’ll spot a good few similarities with the Q8 when you take a look inside the Audi Q3’s interior, too.
The sweeping black dashboard with its integrated touchscreen looks like it could have come from more expensive models in Audi’s range, and even entry-level Q3s get a digital driver’s display instead of conventional dials as standard.
All the materials and switches you’ll touch regularly feel solid, too, and you can even get the Audi Q3’s dashboard trimmed in plush suede-like Alcantara in a range of colours. Mood lighting comes as standard, and mid-range cars come with leather upholstery.
There’s plenty of space inside, too. You’ll have more than enough head- and legroom in the front seats if you’re tall and there’s enough adjustment to help you easily find a comfortable driving position.
There’s significantly more space in the Audi Q3’s back seats than you get in the rather cramped Mercedes GLA, and you can slide the rear seats forwards and backwards to prioritise either passenger legroom or bootspace.
Speaking of which, the Audi Q3’s boot is significantly more spacious than in most alternatives. Even with the back seats in their most rearward position, there’s more space for luggage than you get in the BMW X1. Fold the back seats down and the Audi Q3’s boot is flat, easy to load and big enough to carry a bike.
The Audi Q3’s interior looks very similar to what you find in the range-topping Q8 SUV. There’s a large ring of metal-effect plastic on the dashboard that’s supposed to mimic the shape of the Audi Q3’s grille and a vast slab of glossy black plastic that sits flush with the central touchscreen.
You also get a second digital display in front the steering in place of conventional dials but, unlike in the Q8, the Q3 comes with intuitive physical knobs and dials for the climate control instead of a third (and rather fiddly) touchscreen.
As standard, the Audi Q3 comes with a fairly staid selection of black, grey and silver interior trims – all of which feel suitably soft and sturdy. Under the cool hook-shaped door handles you’ll find a few hard brittle surfaces, but these are tucked down far enough that you won’t notice unless you reach down to adjust your seat. On the subject of seats, pick a sporty S-Line model and you get upgraded front seats with more supportive padding and electric adjustment.
You can spruce up the Audi Q3’s interior with 30-colour mood lighting or upgrade the dashboard trims with some embossed aluminium or unvarnished wood. Go for a top-spec Edition One model and you can also get the dashboard, doors and seat edges trimmed in suede-like Alcantara in a range of colours.
The Audi Q3’s tall body and boxy styling mean there’s plenty of space inside. You’ll have more than enough room to get comfortable in the front if you’re very tall, and there’s ample adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to help you easily find your ideal driving position.
Manual seat adjustment comes as standard, but you can upgrade to a mid-range S Line model to get electrically adjustable seats with added lumbar support to help prevent annoying backache on long drives.
Space in the back seats is very good, too. The Q3’s tall body and fairly large rear door openings mean you don’t have to stoop or step down to climb in and even six-foot-tall adults have enough leg and headroom to sit behind an equally sizeable driver.
There’s plenty of space under the front seats for your rear passengers’ feet, but a sizeable lump in the floor means someone sitting in the middle will feel slightly more cramped than those in the outer two seats. Shoulder space is still pretty good though, so you can carry three adults side-by-side for reasonably long journeys without them having too much to complain about.
You can also slide the rear seats forwards and backwards by up to 15cm to give your passengers a smidge more legroom or expand the boot if the back seats aren’t being used. With the rear seats moved as far forward as they go, there’s only enough legroom for kids or small adults to sit in the back, though.
Fitting a large child seat is much easier with the seats slid backwards. There’s plenty of space to lift the seat through the Audi Q3’s rear doors and the Isofix anchor points are simple to locate, too.
The Audi Q3’s front door bins are wide enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle each and there are two large cupholders in the centre console that’ll think nothing of swallowing a giant service station coffee. The glovebox is reasonably deep – but nothing to write home about – and there’s space for a few drinks cans or a couple of phones under the central armrest in the front.
In the back, you get another folding armrest between the rear seats with two built-in cupholders and space for a 1.0-litre bottle in each rear door bin. Beside each outer rear seat, there’s a handy storage tray that’s big enough to tuck plenty of assorted family bits and bobs neatly out of sight.
Performance and Economy
You can get the Audi Q3 with three petrol and two diesel engines and with either a manual or an automatic gearbox. Most come with front-wheel drive as standard, but you can pay extra to get more powerful models fitted with quattro four-wheel drive instead.
If you don’t do many miles a year, you’ll want to choose the 35 model with a 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine. It’s slightly slower than the cheapest diesel models (accelerating from 0-62mph takes a pretty leisurely 9.3 seconds) but it’s smoother and will prove cheaper to run if you do lots of short journeys around town.
There’s a more powerful 40 model with a 190hp 2.0-litre petrol engine – that’s worth considering if you do a mix of inner-city and countryside driving – and a sportier 230hp model in 45 trim. The latter’s more expensive to buy and can’t match the fuel economy of the diesel versions on motorway journeys. It will accelerate from 0-62mph in a reasonably brisk 6.3 seconds, however.
If you’re a high-mileage driver, one of the two diesels will be much more suitable. Your choice consists of two 2.0-litre four-cylinder units producing 150hp and 190hp. The former – called the 35 – is pretty sluggish, but suits those looking for an economical motorway cruiser. The 190hp version is faster and returns similar fuel economy, but it costs more to buy.
Comfort and Handling
You sit higher up in the Audi Q3 than in a conventional family car, so you get a good view out over traffic. The pillars between the windscreen and the front doors aren’t particularly large, but it’s still a touch tricky to spot smaller cars approaching at junctions.
Rear visibility is pretty good, though, and you can get parking sensors and a 360-degree surround-view system to help make the Audi Q3 easy to park. In all but dynamic mode, the steering’s nice and light, too, so your arms won’t start to ache when you’re manoeuvring the Audi Q3 through tight city streets.
Speaking of which, the Q3’s standard suspension does a decent job ironing out the sort of bumps you’ll find in town. Models with the lowered sports suspension and larger alloy wheels feel significantly firmer, though.
You can pay extra to get the Audi Q3 with adaptive suspension that lets you choose between softer, comfort-focussed setups and stiffer, more sporty settings. Even in the firmest Dynamic mode, however, the Q3 is no sports car. It doesn’t lean too much in tight corners, but the sluggish automatic gearbox and light steering contribute to it feeling less athletic than a BMW X1.
Head out onto a motorway, though, and the Audi Q3 shows itself to be a comfortable and relaxing cruiser. You won’t hear a great deal of wind or tyre noise at speed, but you do have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control that’ll help maintain a safe distance between you and other cars.
Other features you’ll want to consider forking out for include rear cross-traffic assist – that’ll help stop you reversing out of parking spaces into the path of other cars – and traffic jam assist that’ll accelerate and brake for you in heavy traffic.
Thankfully, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist and blind-spot detection all come as standard. These should help the Audi Q3 score highly when it’s crash-tested by Euro NCAP.
Source : carwow