Audi Q3 Review: The Best Starting-Level SUV?
The new Audi Q3 is here. Well, it’s new. This second generation car has replaced the first generation cars we used to sell all those years ago. This car was shown to the world for the first time in 2018. Audi’s Q3 was a best-seller back in the day, which makes me wonder why it took so long to bring this new version of the car here.
Audi tried to make money off the Q2, but it never got the same kind of attention or demand as the Q3. So, here we are with a new Q3 that changes a lot about what we thought we knew about it. It looks and feels new on the outside and inside. A brand-new car in every way. And new vehicles, even ones that aren’t too new, make me happy.
Audi Q3’s design and measurements
Before we talk about how it drives, let’s talk about how it looks since it looks so different from the old Q3. It’s more aggressive, sharper, and up-to-date. The grille and vertical slats on the front make it clear that this is an Audi. The lights, too, have DRLs that look cool. I like that the silver details aren’t chrome.
They have a satiny finish and break up the design nicely without being too flashy. The Q3 doesn’t have the fancy Matrix lights, though. Instead, it has regular LED headlights. I wouldn’t say I like the 18-inch wheels because they are too plain, but I like the body-colored cladding. It still looks good from the back, with sharp taillights, DRL elements, and more satin wrap at the bottom.
That said, it looks angry. Aggressive. Just what people want their SUVs to do. When you look at its stance and proportions, there’s more than a hint of the Q8. Not a bad place to look for ideas, huh? The Q3 is now 96 mm longer, and the wheelbase is 77 mm longer than it used to be. It is also 18mm wider. This doesn’t make much difference from the outside, but it should make the inside a little bigger.
Audi Q3 interior and features
I take my place at the wheel. I get hit in the face with familiarity. The virtual cockpit system, the infotainment screen, and the steering wheel are all like those in other modern Audis. Good thing it doesn’t make the relatively new Q3 feel old. It looks and feels very modern. I like that it doesn’t have a second touchscreen below the first one to control the HVAC. Instead, it has physical dials.
It was probably done to save money, but it also makes sense from an ergonomic point of view. It has many features, like a wireless phone power adapter, a panoramic sunroof, and climate control for two zones. I wish it had ventilated seats and wireless connections for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though.
When you’re used to them, you can’t go back! Can the Q3 live up to its plans to be a luxury car? First, there’s a lot of space and more than enough knee room and headroom. Compared to the old Q3, this one has a longer wheelbase, which makes the back seat more comfortable.
The back seat of the Q3 is interesting because it slides 150mm back and forth on rails. This lets you make more room in the trunk if you need to. The Q3 is a little bit wider than it used to be, but only two people should sit in the back because the AWD system has a transmission tunnel that takes up space for feet. This backseat isn’t very fancy, but it’s big enough to be driven around by a chauffeur without discomfort.
Audi Q3 motor and performance
When you push the starter, the gasoline engine starts up. Under the hood is the same 2-liter TFSI engine in many other Audis and Group cars. That much-loved TDI engine that the Q3 had, well, it’s not coming back. We already knew that since Audi only makes gasoline cars. The TSI engine, on the other hand, feels like an Audi.
It fits perfectly with the Q3’s position as an entry-level luxury car because it is smooth and quiet. When you are gentle with the throttle, it is almost silent. The engine is more than ready to go if you decide to speed up. It moves quickly and has a lot of personalities. This engine has enough power and likes to be pushed to its redline.
The sound of the motor has just the right amount of mischief to keep you entertained without bothering anyone else. Add a quick 7-speed DCT transmission and Quattro, and you have a drivetrain that keeps you moving and makes you want to get going.
Audi Q3 ride quality and handling
Another impressive thing was how good the ride was. Now that it is built on the MQB platform, it has much in common with Audi’s larger SUVs. Regarding ride quality, the Q7 and Q5 are still the best in their classes, and the Q3 is the same.
It drives smoothly on our roads and can handle almost anything that comes it’s way. The ride of the Q3 has been given a level of sophistication that wasn’t there before, making it feel so grown up. But in the same breath, I have to say that the Q3 comes with steel springs and non-dynamic dampers, which is standard.
They can’t be changed like air suspension or dynamic dampers can, so bumps can be felt inside the car, but it’s never uncomfortable. I didn’t expect the handling to blow me away, though. It should be boring, right? It’s tall, mostly FWD, and has no special dampers to make things tighter. If Audi has anything to say about it, they won’t.
The Q3 surprised me with how well it handled corners. The steering felt sharp, well-tuned, and clear. It was a sharp turn. The Q3 felt eager, like a playful puppy dog when tossed around. It kept asking the driver for more and more.
This is a place where you can cut corners. With good Michelin tires, the car turned much better than I thought it would, and it was easy to steer it through corners the way I wanted to. Understeer sets in quite late.
If I hadn’t been sitting so high up, I would have thought I was driving a quick hatchback instead of a crossover because of how it handled corners. And unlike its competitors, the Q3 comes with all-wheel drive as standard, so getting out of corners is easy. In Dynamic mode, this same steering gets bigger, and the drivetrain gets sharper, giving you a small SUV that can get going.
It looks good, feels expensive, is comfortable, and is fun to drive simultaneously. It feels like a good all-arounder, and it isn’t much wrong with it. So, the Q3 isn’t worth the money. But it gives you the same experience as much bigger SUVs in the same range but at a much lower price. You can’t say that about its competitors.