The Audi Q3 is a well-built SUV that’s reasonably spacious, has low running costs and is easy to drive, but has a dated interior and infotainment system
The Audi Q3 is a practical SUV that combines fantastic build quality with a good range of efficient engines, affordable running costs and decent performance. It can even out-accelerate most sports cars if you buy the performance RS Q3 model, which is reviewed separately.
Launched in 2011, the Q3 was updated in 2014 with a redesigned front grille as well as new bumpers and tail lights. S line Edition models also got indicators that pulse in the direction the car is turning. As a result, the Q3’s exterior wears its years well – it doesn’t look like an old car unless you park it next to the similarly sized Audi Q2.
You’re unlikely to say the same about the interior, though. Although the dashboard is covered in quality soft-touch plastic and the switches and buttons feel lovely to use, everything looks a bit out of date. The dated-looking infotainment system is controlled via a swivel wheel on the dashboard, rather than getting the easier-to-use MMI system of newer Audi models. You can’t get Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital driver’s display either, even as an option.
The Audi Q3 is a bit of dinosaur but it still looks good and feels well put together
Where the Q3 excels over a traditional hatchback such as the Audi A3 is in terms of practicality. It has a decent sized boot, the raised body makes it easy to get in and out of, and its added height means you don’t have to bend your back to fit a child seat.
The extra height doesn’t affect the way the Q3 drives, although if you’re looking for fun you’re better off with a BMW X1. It does grip well, however, and the light controls and raised driving position make it easy to drive in town. The Q3 was awarded five stars for crash safety by Euro NCAP in 2011, but it would unlikely fare so well under 2017’s tougher testing regime.
You can get the Q3 with a choice of four engines, and they’re all pretty good. If you do most of your driving around town then you should get the nippy 150hp 1.4-litre petrol, and the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel is the model to choose if you’ll be racking up miles on the motorway.
So the Q3 is quite old now, but at its heart it remains a well-built, practical SUV that is cheap to run and easy to drive. Watch our SUV group test video to see how it compares to the Mercedes GLA and BMW X1, and for more detailed and in-depth analysis read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections.