- Edgy styling
- Larger boot space over previous generation
- Solidly built
- Options are costly
- Running costs could be higher than expected
The Audi Q3 has been around since 2011, the compact luxury SUV being snapped up by buyers wanting a model that wasn’t as large as the Q5 and Q7. It came into its own as back then the segment wasn’t as populated as it is now.
It’s fair to say that it has proved rather popular, even more so when Audi added their sporty RS badge.
Now it’s in its second generation we spent a week with it to see how it has improved over the previous one.
On The Road
We had the Q3 45 TFSI on test, the 2.0 litre petrol engine producing 230PS with 350Nm of torque giving it a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds and a 144mph top speed.
Mated with Audi’s 7-speed S Tronic gearbox it’s really quite smooth through the gears and there are various drive modes to get the most out of the engine, be it economically or sporty.
The only downside is that running costs could be higher than expected as combined MPG figures are in the early thirties and it emits 171g/km of CO2 so falls just out of band I and into J so will cost £855 for the first year.
There are two further petrol options, a 1.5-litre 35 TFSI with 150PS and a 40 TFSI with 190PS, and two diesel variants, a 2.0-litre 150PS 35 TDI and a 190PS 40 TDI. These come with either a six-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission.
It’s never going to be a car that sets the world alight in terms of the driving experience but it’s a good compact SUV that is fairly agile, it has good levels of grip, and handling, although fairly light is responsive. It’s much more fun though in ‘Dynamic’ mode when you can change the driving characteristics of the Q3.
The S Line does come with a sports suspension which would make the ride quite firm, our test car came with an adaptive suspension with damping control for £750 so it made for a relaxed ride with no harsh feedback from the roads.
Where the previous generation seemed all about smooth, clean lines, this new model has aqcuired more aggressive styling, it’s edgier, there’s a large vented grille with a chrome surround, chrome roof bars and to top it off, our test car was in a vibrant Turbo Blue colour - not only did it stand out on the roads, it was also helpful in finding it in a packed car park.
The Q3 has a fairly well insulated cabin but the four cylinder can be noisy at times when pushing it through the rev range.
In The Car
The test car had seats that had a mix of alcantara and leather, the sporty front seats were really comfortable, especially on a long journey and also electronically adjustable, although that came at an extra cost of £675, with 4-way lumbar support adding a further £255.
There was great all-round visibility and you’re quite high up, this is something that children like as they can see what’s going on out of the windows.
Although this model doesn’t come with Audi’s new double screens, the large MMI touchscreen display is very intuitive and there is also simple climate control switches and dials below it.
It also comes with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit driver’s screen which replaces the analogue dials and if you want to go for a sporty look then an extra £250 will give you a flat-bottomed 3-spoke leather steering wheel...with gear-shift paddles.
What let the previous generation down was its rather unpractical boot space, the slanted design of it meant that you’d really have to plan how to put things in there, otherwise you just wouldn’t be able to close the tailgate. And to be honest you don’t want putting luggage in a car boot to be akin to solving a puzzle.
From 420 litres the boot has increased to 530 which is an improvement, it was a lot easier to fit items in and there were a few storage spaces too which helped.
Boot size increases to 1,525 litres with rear seats folded and it’s space which is a bonus in this car now. There’s good leg room in the rear, ok the middle seat is never really practical but children can get in and out, even into car seats without any problems.
There’s quite a bit of storage dotted about the car, the armrest isn’t huge but it has USB points and the glove box can be cooled, ideal for the upcoming warmer weather when you want to keep drinks and food cold.
This Q3 45 TFSI S line model started at £37,670 but once options were added it had gone up massively to £47,555, you can though pick up the entry level model for £30,805. S Line trim starts at £32,605 while the top spec Vorsprung is from £42,075.
Can you live without all these options on the model? Of course you can, the panoramic roof added £1,150 and a Comfort and Sound Pack was £995.
There’s a lot of plus points about the Audi Q3, the design of this generation is definitely a show stopper and the increased boot space just makes it more appealable, especially to families. And for those wanting it in RS form, don’t worry it’ll appear very soon...
Not suprisingly the Audi Q3 is solidly built, the cabin looks and feels premium and the suede inserts on the dash along with the black gloss plastics certainly add some sophistication to the interior.
Reliability wise the previous generation Q3 hasn’t had any major issues, Audi can have quite high labour costs should anything need doing and overall the manufacturer could do with impressing more with their reliability as they’re being outshone by their rivals.
It’s worth noting that areas like practicality have been taken into consideration so that the new generation has a lot more space now.
The Audi Q3 took the full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings with 95% for adult occupant protection and 86% for a child.
Like Volvo, safety is a big area that Audi have invested in with new technologies and it’s no surprise that the Q3 does come loaded with these including rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.
Options wise you can add a rear-view camera which will cost an extra £395 and park assist for £450.