The Car Connection Audi Q3 Overview
The Audi Q3 is one member of the automaker's three-part crossover-SUV family. The Q3 is the smallest in the range, which also includes the Q5 and the Q7. More are likely to come, including the Q8.
The five-passenger Q3 offers a single turbocharged engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the choice of front- or all-wheel drive. It's based on the same running gear as the Audi A3.
Rivals for the Q3 include the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Infiniti QX30, the BMW X1, and the Buick Encore.
MORE: See our 2018 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 in the 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, though it'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 safety features, the Q3 offers front thorax side and head curtain airbags. Front and rear parking systems became standard for model year 2016. Blind-spot monitors are available, but forward collision warnings aren't.
Standard features include electronic stability control with off-road and hill descent settings, 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, LED interior lighting, and 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating.
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 (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.
For 2017, the Q3 added a new entry-level model, the Q3 Premium, but the Q3 remained functionally unchanged.
Changes for 2018 center around equipment. The base Premium model gets the S line front bumper and side sills, as well as heated seats, and it is offered with a new Convenience package. The Premium Plus now has blind spot monitors, and it's Sport plus package gets revised equipment.