Audi Q3 SUV
Price £26,150 - £49,185
- Good to drive
- Upmarket badge
- Strong resale values
- Plain design
- Expensive options
- No real off-road ability
At a glance
“The Audi Q3 is Audi’s answer to the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA – it’s compact, classy and high quality”
The Audi Q3 is the second-smallest member of Audi's wide-ranging ‘Q’ series of premium SUVs. It's more conventionally styled than its smaller Q2 sibling and fits into the range below the Q5, to which it's far closer in style. Its mission is to sway buyers who’d otherwise choose a Mercedes GLA, BMW X1 or Range Rover Evoque, and it's priced at a similar level while not being quite so slickly designed.
It also has to justify its cost against a choice of increasingly capable and less expensive cars of similar size. The latest VW Tiguan is a very attractive car and the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai are both practical and excellent value.
The engine choice consists of 1.4 or 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged petrols or a 2.0-litre diesel, with two power outputs available. It can be ordered with two-wheel drive, but Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system is available if you want the off-road ability to go with those rugged looks. It's worth noting, though, that choosing this does reduce the car's fuel economy, increasing CO2 emissions at the same time.
Audi has also released the extremely quick RS Q3, with a 2.5-litre turbocharged engine pushing out 335bhp. This enables the car to sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 155mph.
And if that still isn’t enough, there's a Performance version, too, boosting power still further to 362bhp, dropping the 0-62mph time to a scarcely believable 4.4 seconds. Both these versions have a rather narrow appeal and represent a significant leap from the more popular models.
Unless you’ve chosen one of the RS models, you’ll find Q3 running costs to be reasonable, especially if you choose a diesel. Over 60mpg is possible from the least powerful 2.0-litre TDI, dropping to around 58mpg if you select the optional Audi S tronic automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel-drive system.
The range follows much the same pattern as other Audi models. Whichever model you choose, though, you can be reassured that every Q3 has a very high-quality interior with everything well-built and feeling solid and to the touch, even if it isn’t the most exciting place to be.
The Q3 family begins with the SE, which is a very well-equipped entry-level model. It has Audi's infotainment system with Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch retractable screen, DAB radio and dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning. Outside, it looks smart with 17-inch alloys and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights. Rear parking sensors are fitted as standard.
The S line model brings sportier external styling, with bigger 18-inch alloys and lowered sports suspension, as well as full LED headlamps. Inside, the seats are trimmed in a sporty leather and cloth combination, sat nav is added to the infotainment system and front parking sensors are added to the rear one. The tailgate is also now power-operated.
Beyond that, the S line plus increases the wheel size to 19 inches, adds dark tinted glass and metallic paint, cruise control and automatic main beams for the headlamps. The parking sensor system is upgraded to give you a visual display on the dashboard and the seat fabric is upgraded to Alcantara suede.
Despite its and bulk and height, the Q3 is quite good fun to drive. It's also comfortable for passengers, with a smooth ride and resistance to lean in corners. It offers enough interior space for most combinations of passengers, all of whom will be well protected in the event of a crash – the Q3 was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, inspiring great confidence.
The Audi Q3 offers decent fuel economy and CO2 emissions in front-wheel-drive form
The Audi Q3 is agile, powerful and fun to drive
The Audi Q3 has a beautiful, spacious interior and comes with plenty of standard equipment
The Audi Q3 has a big boot and plenty of storage space
The Audi Q3’s build quality, reliability and safety are first class