With the Q3, Audi entered the rapidly expanding compact SUV market in 2011. It was initially Audi’s entry-level SUV, but this place was taken once the smaller Q2 came along. The German manufacturer made their mark in this sector with typically stylish exterior looks and a high-quality interior, plus all the practicality needed to suit families.
ExteriorThe Q3 straddles the boundary between large hatchback and compact SUV, and as a result it completely avoids the boxy looks that can plague some SUVs. In fact, it’s one of the sleekest looking cars in its class, with that classic Audi front-end. The fact it’s small for an SUV is no bad thing as the Q3’s appeal is in its premium appearance, and it still has a solid presence about it. It’s designed more to look stylish on the roads than to look like an off-roader, and as a result it looks great.
On the inside, the Q3 feels every bit a premium vehicle. The materials are high quality and everything has been fitted together with typical Audi precision. The dashboard is laid out nicely and the buttons are made with soft plastics, while at night LED spotlighting gives the cabin a nice glow. You get a high SUV driving position yet it still feels like you’re sitting in a snug estate – the best of both worlds!
The Q3 offers a driving experience that’s more hatchback than SUV, with good agility and grip. There’s a choice of driving modes, allowing you to adjust the steering weight in favour of comfort or sportiness, but whichever mode you go for the Q3 is easy to drive. It’s nippy enough for darting around town and is nicely refined at motorway speeds, making it ideal for all sorts of family journeys.
Though it may be small for an SUV, the Q3 is spacious enough to be considered a genuine family car. There’s more than enough room for a family, with adequate space in the rear for adults, let alone children. The boot is a decent size too, and you can expand it massively by folding down the rear seats. Safety is excellent too, with the Q3 being awarded five stars by the Euro NCAP.
Four engines are available: 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre TFSI petrols plus two 2.0-litre TDI diesels. The 2.0-litre engines are available with Quattro four-wheel-drive, and both the diesels return good economy rates of over 50mpg.
The Q3 has all the practicality you need for a family car plus premium looks and feel. There’s more than enough room for passengers, cargo and pets yet thanks to its understated yet stylish appearance it really stands out from other family cars. It also combines a hatchback-like driving experience with SUV bonuses like the option of four-wheel-drive and the off-road ability to tackle grassy slopes or snow-covered roads at Christmas.
Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, parking sensors and electric windows in both the front and rear. Features you can add with the various trim levels include sports seats, sat nav and cruise control. Standard safety kit includes stability control and hill hold, while optional extras include Audi side assist and active lane assist.Search Audi Q3