- 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 brand'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 American Q3s, a 200-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 powers the front or all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic. That all-wheel-drive system is an option, for $2,100. Drive Select is an option as well. With it, drivers can toggle into Sport mode to keen up the Q3's reflexes, its steering feel, its shift points, and its throttle modulation. 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 larger 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 tech includes available rear side airbags and a package that includes parking sensors and a rearview camera--it's not standard--as well as blind-spot monitors.
Among the standard features, Audi also includes a sunroof, 18-inch wheels, LED cockpit lighting, 12-way front seats with power adjustment and heating, and leather. The stock audio setup comes with HD and satellite radio as well as Bluetooth audio, but a USB port only comes with the optional nav system.
On the long list of options are the navigation system, Bose audio with 14 speakers, and a power tailgate. Audi Connect factors in AT&T data piped into the car, Google Earth mapping, local search, and in-car wireless connectivity.
The Q3 starts at about $33,500, though prices easily stretch into the $40,000 range for a well-equipped Prestige-trim vehicle with the rearview camera.