The Audi Q3 is an upmarket compact SUV with plenty of space in its roomy cabin and lots of high-tech features but it isn’t as much fun to drive as some alternatives
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. It’s more than just the family gurn, though – 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 boot space as standard.
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.
There’s no doubt the Audi Q3 has been inspired by the vast Q8 SUV – that giant grille, for example, makes it look just like a toddler that’s trying on its Grandparent’s dentures
If carrying lots of luggage is a regular occurrence for you, you’ll want to pick an Audi Q3 with a more powerful petrol or diesel engine. There are five to choose from, including a sporty 230hp four-cylinder turbocharged petrol. If you spend more time in town, go for a 150hp or 190hp petrol while one of the two 2.0-litre diesels will be a much better bet if you do lots of long motorway journeys.
You can choose between a fairly smooth six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic across the Audi Q3 range, but the latter’s a bit slow to respond when you put your foot down. The more powerful models come with the option of four-wheel drive for extra grip in slippery conditions, and you can get adaptive suspension to make the driving the Audi Q3 feel a tad more sporty.
Even with this suspension fitted, the Audi Q3 is more at home on the motorway than on a twisty mountain road. It cruises along quietly and comfortably, especially if you avoid the sports suspension (that’s standard on S line cars) and stick with smaller alloy wheels.
The Audi Q3’s tall body and light steering mean it’s pretty easy to drive in town, and you can get it with a clever 360-degree camera system that helps make parking pretty stress-free, too. You also get plenty of active safety kit as standard, but you’ll have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control.
The Audi Q3 does look a little more expensive next to an equivalent BMW X1, Mercedes GLA or Volvo XC40 at brochure price, but its long list of standard equipment goes some way to making up for that. All-told, the stylish and spacious Audi Q3 makes an excellent small family SUV.