The Car Connection Audi Q3 Overview
The Audi Q3 is a five-passenger, compact luxury crossover SUV. It's the entry-level model in the Germany automaker's utility-vehicle lineup, which now includes the Q3, Q5, and Q7.
The Q3 is a part of a family of vehicles built from a common platform that includes the current Volkswagen Tiguan as well as the Audi A3.
Rivals for the Q3 include the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Infiniti QX30 AWD, the BMW X1, and the Buick Encore.
For 2017, the Q3 adds a new entry-level model, the Q3 Premium, but remains functionally unchanged.
MORE: See our 2017 Audi Q3 review
The Q3 resembles its kin—it's very much a scaled-down Q5. The hatchback has slightly more rake to it, however, giving the Q3 an even tidier appearance on the road. LED headlamps and an interior like the one on the new A3 makes the Q3 handsome in a way some of its competitors aren't. The wraparound tailgate caps a stubby tall-wagon shape that's much smaller than the Q5's, more city-sized than family-sized—unless the family is a small one.
Unlike other markets, the Q3 is offered here in the States in just one powertrain configuration. The 2.0 TFSI is a turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder producing 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission only. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option.
Audi sells a high-performance RS Q3 elsewhere, which is powered by a 310-hp turbocharged, 2.5-liter inline-5, but Audi hasn't indicated that it will bring that speedster to the U.S. any time soon.
Audi’s Drive Select system is an option. It allows the driver to adjust the handling and throttle response through three preset and one configurable mode. The Q3 rides on standard 18-inch wheels and tires, though 19-inchers are offered.
The Q3 is a five-passenger vehicle, but its small size means a tight fit for three in the rear seat. Q3s equipped with the optional Sport package boast seats with additional bolstering and thigh-cushion extensions. With the rear seats in place, there is 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the seats down, and it expands to 48.2 cubic feet.
Among its many safety features, the Q3 offers front thorax side and head curtain airbags. Front and rear parking systems became standard for model year 2016.
Standard features include speed-dependent electric power steering, electronic stability control with off-road and hill descent settings, 18-inch wheels (19-inch wheels are optional), a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, LED interior lighting, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, and leather trim.
There’s a long list of options too. Some highlights are Audi’s MMI navigation plus system with a 7.0-inch display, Audi connect wi-fi, a power hatch, and a Bose sound system with 14 speakers. Audi Connect adds in-car data services (now powered by AT&T and eligible as a Mobile Share device if you have an existing plan), Google Earth mapping, and Google Local Search by voice.
The Q3 was updated lightly for the 2016 model year. Audi applied new front and rear styling as well as upgraded interior materials and infotainment systems.