Capable, small and sensible SUV for the upwardly mobile
- Affordable entry to Q models
- Available with two- or four-wheel drive
- Stylish interior and exterior
- Fails to match rivals for driver engagement
- Options can make it pricey
- Interior space is a little tight
With the success of the Q7 and Q5 models, it was almost inevitable that Audi would end up introducing a smaller entry-level to the Q range. Add to this the growing demand in small off-roaders and the Audi Q3 4x4 was bound to happen at some point.
However, while this might be the angle from the marketing department, the fact that the manufacturer had no direct rival to the BMW X1 must have also played a major part in the cars arrival.
It’s a much better looking model compared with its closest competitor, and the prestige that comes with the name means the Audi Q3 has been a substantial sales success. So much so, that Audi has now bolstered the range with the addition of the smaller Q2.
An interior masterclass
There’s the choice of two- or four-wheel drive as well as diesel engines directed at affordable running costs and performance focused petrol versions. Like many models from the range it still loses out to the BMW when it comes to driver engagement.
However, there’s no arguing over the premium experience and the Audi Q3 is a very nice place to spend lots of time in.
If comfort and quality takes precedent over performance and involvement then this is your best choice, but if you crave more driving experience then you might want to take a look at the ‘other’ German powerhouse.
Audi Q3: available in two- or four-wheel drive form
Depending on which engine you choose in the Audi Q3, you have a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. Most models come with Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel drive, but if you plump for the popular 140hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor.
You can also order the Q3 with front-wheel drive and this is the only model in the line-up to break through the 50mpg mark with economy of 54.3mpg.
It’s also the one with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions, registering 137g/km. The front drive 2.0 TDI only comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and it’s the slowest car in the Q3 range, but it’s still decent to drive and will appeal to company drivers.
Audi Q3: hampered by pricey options
Audi is not known for giving away its accessories and extras at bargain bucket prices and the Q3 is no exception to this rule.
While the Q3 is reasonably equipped as standard, most buyers will add some flourishes to their car, which means they will be dipping into their savings for most of the more desirable additional extras such as larger alloy wheels, leather upholstery, improved stereo and panoramic sunroof.
Facelift for 2015
There was a mild facelift in 2015 which ushered in revised versions of all engines, with CO2 dropping slightly and fuel economy improving. Audi also gave each trim more equipment and a new 3D-look grille surround to supplement the redesigned front and rear bumpers.
The Parkers Verdict
The Audi Q3 is getting on a bit now, but it still looks fresh and modern, and sells in large numbers. The 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp is still the default engine choice, which is good because it's economical punchy and reasonably refined.
It's also good to drive and spend time in. It's not as high-riding as the Q5, and feels very car-like as a consequence. Inside, it's tight in the rear, but up-front, it's roomy and has a great seating position. A sound choice, with strong residuals, and a premium image.
To find out which version will suit best, read on for the full Audi Q3 4x4 review.
What owners say about this car
It is the right size car for 2 people. Did a trip to Europe and found the Sat-Nav to be... Read owner review
Carries enough passengers or can carry different size loads including furniture. Read owner review
Its size when parking in town and in multi story carparks. Its small turning circle. Read owner review