The Audi Q3’s interior feels high quality and has an easy to use layout but its small infotainment screen and button-heavy design looks dated compared to newer alternatives
There are a few parts of the interior that give away the Q3’s age. The infotainment screen is small, not particularly sharp and the way you can flip it down out of sight into the dashboard was a cool idea… in 2011. You control the infotainment system itself using a small swivel wheel which helps keep your eyes on the road – but it’s not as easy to use as the modern MMI system in newer Audis.
What you can’t grumble about is the quality of the Q3’s construction. The steering wheel is nice to hold, the majority of the dashboard is built from squidgy plastics, the buttons and controls work with an oily smooth action, and storage cubbies have damped lids that don’t have the fragile feel you’ll find in cheaper SUVs.
Sport models are the cheapest Q3s in the range, but you still get a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, aluminium sill covers in the door openings, silver-coloured trim pieces and cloth upholstery that’s dark enough to hide stains.
If you want your Q3 to feel more upmarket then go for an S Line Edition model. They come with half-leather seats with S line logos embossed into the seats, and brushed aluminium trim pieces. Black Edition models sit at the top of the range, so you get sporty Alcantara leather trim that feels nice but will be a pain to keep clean. The steering wheel is a sportier, flat-bottomed affair and you also get LED ambient lighting and shiny black trim pieces.
Like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, it looks like Audi has forgotten all about the Q3’s dated cabin in its rush to take the rest of the range to Flash Interior City
You only get one infotainment screen to choose from and it’s fitted as standard to all Q3s. A swivel wheel on the dashboard means you can operate it fairly easily on the move and the menu layout is clear and easy to understand.
That’s pretty much where the good news ends, though. The infotainment’s 6.5-inch screen is small by modern standards – even a basic VW Golf has an eight-inch display – the graphics aren’t as high-definition as the latest systems and you can’t get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You won’t even find a proper USB port – instead Audi provides a cable that adapts your smartphone for the car’s old fashioned Audi-specific socket.
You won’t find fancy options in the Q3 such as the Virtual Cockpit and head-up displays you get in larger Audis. What you can have is the £120 Driver Information System which is just a colour display between the main instruments that gives driving info such as fuel economy.
It’s better to save your money, though, and if you’re into your music, put it towards the £690 Bose surround-sound system. It has 14 speakers – including a subwoofer in the boot – and a total output of 465W. It’s not the last word in musical clarity but it packs a punch that the basic system cannot hope to match.