- City-sized dimensions
- Turbo four's excellent
- Audi Connect for the in-car wifi win
- Pert handling
- Cabin's tight for four, much less five
- Really a hatchback, in style and cargo space
- Fuel economy is just average
The 2015 Audi Q3 stakes out its claim in compact-crossover territory, with Google Earth to map the way.
The 2015 Audi Q3 is the German automaker's smallest SUV--and it doesn't arrive a moment too soon, what with the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, and Buick Encore already swarming into the small end of the compact-crossover niche.
Audi's typical SUV silhouette scales down for the new 2015 Q3 (and it has an obvious admirer in the new Lincoln MKC). Of course, it's more stubby than the Q5 or Q7, but pleasingly predictable, with LED turn signals and a wraparound tailgate. The interior's a relative of the one installed in the new Audi A3, which is a distant cousin of the new crossover.
In U.S. spec, the 2015 Q3 is outfitted with just one powertrain. A 200-horsepower, turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder twists out 207 pound-feet of torque, and the power's channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is the base configuration, but Audi's ubiquitous all-wheel drive is a $2,100 option. Audi makes its Drive Select an option: it allows drivers to tweak steering, transmission, and throttle settings for more gentle or more vigorous driving feel. In all, the Q3 has the tidy road manners you'd expect for its brand and its size--it has some of the better ride quality of the bigger Q5, compared to its direct German rival.
Audi claims seating for five in the 2015 Q3, though we think it's best for two adults and two or three small, young passengers. Headroom is compromised by the standard sunroof, but Audi's swell (and optional) sport seats supply great comfort and bolstering. Rear-seat knee room and head room are in tight supply for bigger passengers. The cargo area offers luggage capacity of 16.2 cubic feet behind the rear seat; folding down the split rear seatbacks increases this capacity to 48.2 cu ft, fine for a weekend's worth of luggage for two, or a mid-month run to the big-box store.
No crash-test scores are available. The Q3's safety features include available rear side airbags and a Driver Assistance package with parking aids and a rearview camera--it's not standard--as well as blind-spot monitors.
Other standard features include 18-inch wheels (19-inch wheels are offered), a sunroof, xenon headlights, LED interior lighting, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, and leather trim. The basic sound system has satellite and HD radio and Bluetooth streaming, but you'll immediately miss the missing USB port, only offered on Q3s with navigation.
There’s a long list of options with the new Q3. Some highlights are Audi’s MMI navigation plus system with a 7.0-inch display, a powered tailgate, and a Bose sound system with 14 speakers. Audi Connect adds in-car data services (now powered by AT&T as a Mobile Share device on your plan), wireless hotspot functionality, Google Earth mapping, and Google Local Search by voice.
Pricing for the Q3 starts at about $33,500, reaching into the $40,000 range for a well-equipped Prestige-trim vehicle with the rearview camera package.