2017 Audi Q3 review

Audi Q3
The Q3 is Audi's smallest utility vehicle.

The 2017 Audi Q3 is the company’s entry level utility vehicle, bringing the company’s design prowess to the small luxury segment. 

The growing interest in has spread to the luxury segment. Consumers looking to move up to a luxury vehicle from a car or down to a smaller vehicle from a luxury car, are turning in big numbers to small luxury UVs. Audi was among the first to recognize this opportunity. It brought the Q3 to the European market in 2011 as a 2012 model.

Three years later, in response to burgeoning interest, Audi shipped the Q3 across the Atlantic. It fit in beneath the mid-size Q5 and the big Q7. The Q3 became the entry point for Audi utility vehicles and a strong alternate to competition from Mercedes (GLA) and BMW (1-Series).

The Q3 shares much of its underpinnings with the VW Tiguan. It is available in three trim lines, starting at $34,600 for the front-wheel-drive Komfort model ($37,100 with Quattro). The Progressiv and Technik models come with Audi’s Quattro full-time all-wheel-drive system. .All Q3s coming to North America have the VW group’s excellent turbocharged 2.0-litre, gasoline-fed, four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic.

There are almost a dozen engine/transmission combinations available globally

Much the stuff under the skin, and hood may be shared with Volkswagen.Nothing you see or touch is! This is a clearly a luxury vehicle, from the exterior style to the interior fitments, feel and appearance.

The baby Audi crossover looks a lot like its larger brethren. If a Q5 was left in the dryer too long. The sharp styling, resulting from a mild makeover last year, includes new front and rear lights and a new grill with larger air inlets. The overall appearance is distinctly upscale thanks to the subtle use of contrasting shades, finishes.

No bling here – just class. 

The LED headlights, standard on the Technik trim-level test vehicle were nothing less than magnificent! They cast a uniform, clear, white light well past the area lit by lesser systems. They also have a clean cut-off to prevent glare for oncoming drivers. If you drive at night very often, do yourself a favour, and check out LED headlights. They are becoming available on more new vehicles.

We have come to expect exceptional interiors from Audi. This one does nothing to dispel those expectations. Modern and extremely well-executed, it fares well against the efforts of some of the world’s most respected brands. The overall impression is that of a sporty vehicle with clean, crisp lines and top quality materials expertly applied.  The driver faces a pair of analogue instruments showing engine and road speed, flanking a configurable digital display. The center stack containing infotainment and ventilation controls, is angled slightly toward the driver.

The console-mounted control for the MMI (Multi Media Information) system used on other Audis, is positioned here, high in the center stack. It has the same single big knob and four flanking buttons for control. I found it awkward to use because of the stretch necessary to reach the controls. Other Audis allow you to rest your hand on the console for more accurate use on bumpy roads.

The Q3 is a compact vehicle, shorter than a Corolla or Civic for example, so don’t expect a big back seat.

Front seat occupants get the first class treatment. Those in the second row will find it somewhat cramped, including little ones in forward facing car seats. The cargo area is mid-class in size, first class in finish. The sloping rear deck lid cuts into cargo space, but access is excellent thanks to a big door and easily folded rear seats.

The same goes for the front seats. Thanks to the vehicle’s height you get into, not down into the Q3. Visibility is excellent in all directions.

The Q3 does not disappoint on the road. Ride quality is excellent over all but rough surfaces. Here the sport suspension, and low-profile 20-inch tires transmit road blemishes pretty clearly. When the road develops the bends, that same suspension pays off. If ride quality is your primary consideration, opt for a trim level without the sport suspension and gonzo rolling stock.

VW’s TFSI four-cylinder engine is one of the best in the world. I and other members of the International Engine of the Year jury have said so with our ballots. In this application it offers only mid-pack performance and fuel economy. The engine is smooth, quiet and refined, but here is has to cope with plenty of weight. The automatic transmission has only six gears in an age where 8 – 10 are more common.

The smallest Audi Q3 has all the qualities expected of the brand – style, quality and engineering. The craftsmanship and low noise levels make the cabin a great place to spend time – and long distances.

The specs

Model: 2017 Audi Q3 Quattro Technik

Engine: turbocharged, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, 200 horsepower, 207 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel

Transmission: six-speed automatic

NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 11.9 / 8.4

Length: 4,385 mm

Width: 1,831 mm

Wheelbase: 2,603 mm

Weight: 1,660 kg

Price: $44,200 base, $49,985 with options plus freight

Competition: BMW X1, Buick Encore, Infiniti QX30, Lexus NX, and Mercedes GLA.

Options on test vehicle:

Misano red pearl paint, $890; Tire pressure monitoring, $350; 20-inch alloy wheels, $800; Black Optics, $500; sport package, $1,050 (unique steering wheel, Audi drive select, sport suspension, sport seats).

Standard equipment:

panoramic sunroof, keyless start, navigation, voice-controlled infotaiment system with 17-cm colour screen, LED headlights, 14-speaker Bose audio system, heated folding mirrors, S line exterior trim, leather upholstery, heated power seats, dual zone climate control, power tailgate, blind spot monitoring, park system with reverse camera, cruise control.

About Richard 166 Articles
At the age of five I was already obsessed with all things automotive being able to identify the make and model of car by just the sound of its engine going down the street in front of our house in the small town on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Although I have been covering and writing about the automotive scene for more than 40 years and the light still grows brightly.