Audi Q3 Review logo

Audi Q3 Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Desirable yet practical small SUV”

Best bits

  • Very practical premium SUV with a clever sliding rear bench
  • Interior is modern and loaded with technology
  • The peak of automotive fashion

Not so great

  • High-spec models are expensive
  • Not the most rewarding SUV to drive
  • 2.0-litre petrols are very thirsty

Read by

Audi Q3 Exterior Front

Overall verdict

Audi Q3 Interior

On the inside

Audi Q3 Driving Front

Driving

Audi Q3 Centre Console

How much does it cost to run

Audi Q3 Boot

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Audi Q3 is an ultra desirable small SUV. It’s not cheap - especially high-spec models - but it’s clear where your money goes, with a feel-good interior and lots of standard equipment. Buying a used example will save you money, though, and the most affordable engines and trim levels are actually the most desirable."

Audi Q3 Exterior Front

Like just about any Audi, the Q3 isn’t exciting to drive but it’s extremely refined, no matter which engine you choose. The ride is on the firm side, particularly with the bigger wheels - although the adaptive suspension fitted as standard on top-spec models does help.


The last-generation Audi Q3 was one of the original small premium SUVs, yet it was disappointing in so many ways. The interior was cramped, it was dull to drive, and cheaper alternatives did the job better. However, buyers loved the idea of an upmarket crossover in a small package (and the image that brought), leading to it flying out of showrooms despite it being, objectively, not as good as the A3 hatchback on which it was based.


Fortunately, the latest 2018 model is better in pretty much every way. It’s more practical, the interior feels like a scaled-down version of the Q7, and it’s much better to drive (if not quite as enjoyable as a BMW X1).


You’ll pay more for a Q3 over a mainstream alternative like the Volkswagen Tiguan, but you can counter some of that expense by looking for a nearly-new example. Audi dealers have as-new Q3s in stock with as little as 100 miles on the clock and £5000 off list price (provided you’re not fussed about having the latest number plate).


And any ideas about saving money by buying a mainstream competitor will vanish as soon as you sit in the Q3’s interior and marvel at its premium materials and generous standard equipment levels. It might not quite be as quirky and interesting as the Volvo XC40, but its simplistic design isn’t going to offend anyone.


It’s a practical choice, too, with plenty of room in the cabin and a useful 530 litres of boot space. The rear bench can slide backwards and forwards, which makes the Q3 more versatile than a lot of SUVs of this size, and it can even adjust for angle - making the Q3 surprisingly comfortable for rear-seat passengers.


Unless you cover mega miles, we’d look for one with the entry-level 1.5-litre petrol engine (badged the 35 TFSI). With 150PS, this has a decent amount of power and is very efficient day-to-day. Opt for one with the automatic gearbox and the 1.5 uses a mild-hybrid system, but the S tronic transmission is a little slow to respond and frustrating to use, so we’d recommend one with the six-speed manual gearbox.


The latest Audi Q3 is finally up to the standards we’d expect from Audi. It’s not the cheapest option, nor the most comfortable or the best to drive - but it’s an ultra convincing all-round package with decent standard equipment levels which makes it a compelling choice on the used market.


If you're looking for the high performance version, you need our Audi RS Q3 review.


Is the Audi Q3 right for you?

If you want a practical SUV that’ll be cheap to run and doubles up as a feel-good status symbol, the Audi Q3 should be on your shortlist. Its big boot and clever sliding rear bench means it’s practical enough to use as a family car, yet its classy image (and that desirable four-ringed badge) will appeal to a younger audience.


There’s a strong engine line-up which should meet a wide variety of requirements. The Q3 is comfortable enough for long-distance drivers, while compact enough to make negotiating city centre streets a breeze. Optional Quattro four-wheel-drive means the Q3 should appeal to country-dwellers as well as urbanites, too. If you want something a bit more svelte, there's the Audi Q3 Sportback.

What’s the best Audi Q3 model/engine to choose

Unless you have a strong requirement for a diesel engine or four-wheel-drive, the turbocharged 1.5 petrol (badged the 35 TFSI) is the one to go for. With 150PS, it's powerful enough for most drivers, and officially it’ll return up to 42.2mpg depending on factors like wheel size. It’s peppier than you’d expect for a 1.5 and makes the bigger 2.0-litre seem redundant.


While it might be tempting to stretch to high-spec Edition 1 or Vorsprung models, the entry-level Sport is well equipped and comes with 18-inch wheels as standard, providing a more comfortable ride. The S line adds some nice aesthetic touches and interior ambient lighting, but sports suspension and bigger wheels don’t do the ride quality any favours.


What other cars are similar to the Audi Q3?

Other premium manufacturers provide plenty of competition for the Audi Q3. The BMW X1 lags behind in terms of practicality but is more entertaining to drive, while the Volvo XC40 has a superbly Scandinavian interior. The Mercedes-Benz GLA is looking pretty dated compared to the latest Q3 (and it was never that good when it was new), so you can give that a swerve. You could also consider the Lexus NX, particularly if you value reliability and a petrol-electric hybrid engine appeals.

Learn more

Audi Q3 Interior

On the inside

Audi Q3 Driving Front

Driving

Audi Q3 Centre Console

How much does it cost to run

Audi Q3 Boot

Prices, versions and specification