Long-term review: Audi Q3

Russell Campbell
February 07, 2019

The new Audi Q3 was just pipped to victory by the Volvo XC40 in our group test, but can it win us over in everyday use? Only one way to find out…

Okay, so our Audi Q3 might not have beaten the Volvo Xc40 in carwow’s group test but there’s still a lot to like about it. For one, it’s a smart-looking machine, particularly in our car’s specification. It’s an S line so gets lowered suspension, huge 19-inch alloy wheels and a sporty body kit. That Turbo Blue paint also turns heads.

As an S line, carwow’s Q3 looks nicer inside than a basic model thanks to its illuminated door trims, dark headlining and metal pedals. Our car has also been optioned with desirable kit such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel (£250), selectable multi-coloured ambient lighting (£100) and an upgraded Virtual Cockpit display (£250). The latter means the digital instrument binnacle increases from 10.25 to 12.3 inches in size.

Other options include the £250 Storage Pack – it adds extra interior cubbies, a 12v power socket and additional boot lighting – electrically adjustable front seats (£675) that are heated (£300) and heated wing mirrors that fold away when you lock the car (£225). Lumbar support (£255), auto park (£300) and an uprated Audi Sound System (£275) complete the list. That little lot means our Q3 would set you back  £37,565 – a lot for what is a 150hp SUV with two-wheel drive.

That said, it does look and (for the most part) feel like an expensive car. The huge central infotainment has pretty graphics and crystal clear clarity and, nine times out of ten, its voice activation system does exactly what is asked of it. Just as well, because writing letters into the central screen with your left hand – if you’re right-handed – can be an infuriating process.

But perhaps not quite as annoying as the numerous squeaks that have been cropping up around the cabin from behind the dashboard and somewhere near the rear seat. They’ll be fixed by a visit to the dealer, which we’ll report on soon.

What won’t be fixed by a visit to Audi are the hard interior plastics that you find on parts of the interior like the doors, and that the combination of the seven-speed auto and 150hp petrol engine can feel a little bit laggy when you’re nipping about town.

And if that all sounds hard on the Q3 then it isn’t meant to. It has already shown itself to be extremely practical on an obligatory trip to the dump Reuse and Recycle Centre – its flat floor and lack of a load lip making it easy to fill the back with junk. It’s also a nice car to drive – once you get up to speed – with positive steering and a body that doesn’t lean too much in bends, we’re also quite keen on the pure white light of the LED headlights.

All of which means the Q3 hasn’t proven itself to be our knight in shining armour just yet, but it’s certainly no rogue either – can it push itself further into our affections over the coming months? You’ll have to wait to find out…