Audi Q3

The Essentials

  • Price from £25,065
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 54.3mpg
  • What is it? Better looking than a BMW X1, subtler than a Range Rover Evoque, the Q3 is the understated 'premium' SUV

Great

  • Luxurious cabin oozes quality and is well equipped, too
  • Great to drive, even with the lower-powered engine
  • Key safety kit all present and correct

Gripes

  • Formulaic Audi styling is just a bit bland
  • Rear seats don't fold completely flat
  • More Audi models may equal less demand at resale time
  • Drive

    Comfortable over the bumps, composed around corners, quiet on the motorway and a choice of efficient engines - what's not to like?

  • Inside

    Almost faultless. It's comfortable, offers a great view out and features easy-to-use controls

  • Safety

    Full marks on both fronts, stability control is standard along with ISOFIX child seat mounting points for three seats

  • Reliability

    We can't fault the Q3's quality feel, but Audi hasn't shone in recent reliability surveys

  • Space

    Comfortable for adults in the back, and just a little more boot space than in a family hatchback, however the rear seats don't fold flat

  • Standard and extras

    Standard SE trim has all the goodies, from the snazzy MMI pop-up infotainment system to rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and alloy wheels

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Q3 is velvety-smooth to drive and soaks up bumps neatly. It's cool as a cucumber around corners with masses of grip and a comfortable rather than firm ride. The lower-powered versions of the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox and are quite feisty enough to whisk you about effortlessly. The bigger engines offer a seven-speed gearbox, which has the added attraction of paddles on the steering wheel to change gear 'F1 style' with paddles. However, it's the cheaper versions of the Q3 that makes the most sense.

  • What's it like inside?

    The raised driving position is useful in traffic and you'll find it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. Audi's sleek and stylish dash design is angled towards the driver and all the soft plastics add to the cabin's classy feel. The infotainment system controls are easy to navigate and appear on a pop-up screen.
    Those chunky(ish) looks conceal what is essentially a small family hatchback, so there's room for four adults inside, but a central rear passenger draws the short straw with their legs astride a wide tunnel.
    The boot is bigger than that in a BMW X1 (but that's still not much bigger than a VW Golf's) and it has a usefully low lip. However, the rear seats don't fold completely flat, which is disappointing.
    Standard SE-trim models are fitted with dual-zone climate control, Audi's snazzy dial-operated MMI infotainment system, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and rear parking sensors.

  • How reliable is it?

    The Q3 is too new to feature in any ownership satisfaction surveys, but the slightly larger Q5 was recently awarded an average score for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
    Safety equipment is generous, as stability control, six airbags and ISOFIX child seat mounting points for three seats are all standard. In Euro NCAP crash tests the Q3 scored an impressive 94% for adult protection and a respectable 85% for child protection. The Range Rover Evoque, one of the Q3's main rivals, scored a less impressive 86% for adults and 75% for children.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Q3 is one the best small SUVs - especially in two-wheel-drive form. It's great to drive, classy inside and surprisingly affordable to buy and run. However, a Mazda CX-5 is a much more practical family car.