In Depth

Audi Q3 SUV: Reviews, prices and specs

Everything you need to know about the luxury marque's new SUV

Audi Q3's time as the smallest SUV the company sells is nearly up. First deliveries of the firm's smaller and cheaper Q2 will take place this month, leaving the Q3 to occupy the middle ground in the Q line-up of SUVs and crossovers. 

Added to that, the Q3 will inherit the tag of being the oldest car in the range when the new Q5 arrives next year. It was introduced in 2011, before receiving a facelift last year, and is still a "practical, well-built and desirable" choice if you're in the market for a premium small SUV, says Auto Express. 

Is it the best choice though? Rivals include the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1, Volkswagen Tiguan and the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The Q2 could take some sales away too.

Given it has been on the market for a number of years now, the Q3 range is a pretty broad one. Most models are front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive versions using Quattro systems are available further up the range. A selection of everyday diesel and petrol powertrains come alongside performance-orientated S and RS models as well. 

Here are all the details on the Q3, as well as what the experts make of it.

Design

Audi's facelifted Q3 uses the brand's latest SUV face with large, distinctive, angular grille and headlight arrangement up front. On S-Line cars, the headlights are full LED affairs, while SE models get xenon lights as standard. 

In terms of profile, the Q3 is a round car. Familiar face aside, it’s not a smaller version of the Q5 and Q7; nor is it a larger Q2 - Audi's latest crossover gets its very own unique design. Think more pumped-up A3. 

As standard you'll get 17ins alloy wheels, although S-Line cars get 18ins rims and there's optional 19ins alloys if you'd like to bling out your car. 

Interior and technology

Audi's reputation for quality interior is upheld by the Q3's cabin, with excellent design and build quality featuring high-quality, soft-to-the-touch materials.            

However, it's a cabin that's starting to show its age slightly compared to the newer cockpits you'll find in the rest of Audi's SUV range. Key technology options such as the Virtual Cockpit aren't available and although there's a standard 6.5ins infotainment display, it's not as slick to operate as those on newer models. 

What Car? says it's still a great set-up, though, and that overall, you'll find it hard to be put-off by the cabin, which remains an impressive and comfortable place to sit. The site does say visibility is slightly compromised by the small rear window and thick C-pillars, however. 

Practicality

CarWow says the Q3 is "decently spacious" and even tall adults will be comfy in the front. There's room for two people in the back, but the middle seat is somewhat compromised by the raised transmission tunnel, making transporting five a bit of a squeeze. The Q3's rear doors are quite small too, says the site. 

Alongside the various storage bins dotted around the cabin, the Q3 sports a decently proportioned 420-litre boot. It's nothing special compared to other crossovers of its size, but certainly stands out as a much more practical option than the A3 hatchback. Fold all of the rear seats flat and you get a 1,365-litre cargo bay. 

Engines and drivetrain

There are five engines to consider – two diesels and three petrol. 

The diesel options make the most sense and are the most popular choices. Both are 2.0-litre engines, offered in different states of tune and drivetrains. The standard has 148bhp and is the cheapest Q3 to run, with claimed fuel economy of 60.1mpg and 122g/km CO2, meaning a £110 annual tax bill. 

Opting for the other diesel bags you 181bhp and Quattro all-wheel drive, but it'll cost more to run. Audi says it'll manage 53.3mpg on a combined run and its higher CO2 emissions will set you back £145 a year in tax.

The entry-level Q3 is petrol-powered, using a 1.4-litre TFSI engine CarBuyer says is "smooth and powerful" and even delivers economy figures not far off the mark of the diesels. It's "definitely worth a test drive", adds the site. 

Above it sits a 2.0-litre petrol with four-wheel drive and two performance models sharing Audi's 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine. The RS Q3 and RS Q3 Performance models have 335bhp and 362bhp respectively, the Performance version able to sprint to 62mph from a standing start in just 4.4secs. 

Prices

The Q3 starts from £26,150 and for that you'll be getting the 1.4-litre TFSI car with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive in entry-level SE trim. 

The starting diesel car is positioned just above it, kicking off at £27,690. This uses the 148bhp TDI engine, which also makes up the cheapest all-wheel drive option – equipping the Quattro drivetrain takes the price up to £29,120. 

At the very top of the range, the RS Q3 models command eye-watering prices. The standard version comes in at £46,120, while the more Potent Performance RS will set you back at least £49,185. 

Reviews

Although Auto Express thinks the Q3 is a worthy entry in the small SUV sector, it feels the current model is showing its age in some places – especially the interior.  

Compared to the fresh cabins found on other Q models using Audi's latest design ethos, the Q3 "doesn't quite feel up to the minute", says the mag, but nevertheless it's still a quality place to sit. 

However, it adds that a new Q3 with Audi's latest interior could be around the corner. 

What Car? says the Q3 is excellent to drive, with plenty of grips in tight turns, and "deserves to be near the top of your small SUV shopping list". Body roll isn't too much of an issue, argues the magazine, and the SE trim is an extremely smooth car on the road too. 

The Daily Telegraph sees things differently, though, and argues the Q3 is beginning to feel its age. In terms of ride quality. It "never feels entirely settled", says the newspaper, but it's an easy car to drive and live with day to day.

Again, the Q3's previous generation cabin comes in for some criticism, with the critic saying the car doesn't feel quite as upmarket as it should. It's a "decent enough family SUV, but it lacks charm", the paper concludes. 

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