The Audi Q3 is completely new for 2015. This five-passenger compact SUV offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. It is the freshest and most affordable of the utility vehicles currently offered by this premium German brand.
Consumer demand for small, luxury crossover vehicles continues to grow. Audi has met that need with its newest model, the 2015 Q3. Priced from $32,500, the Audi Q3 provides an affordable price point for one of the fastest growing luxury marques in the world.
Audi supplies a coherent styling connection between its Q3, Q5 and Q7 crossovers, its primary utility vehicle models. The front and rear fascias of the Q3 contribute such Audi traits as its recognizable waterfall grille, signature headlamps and its unique daytime running light design.
This model features high arched wheel wells, body side sculpting and a sloping roofline. To the rear is a clamshell liftgate marked by sleek tail lamps and LED turn signals.
Combination rear bumper reflectors and backup lights are located just above the paired exhaust tips.
The Audi Q3 offers room for five people. It is best enjoyed by four individuals with the rear middle seat position folded down for optimum space and comfort. The front seat parallels the comfort level of other smaller Audis, providing good support, ample bolstering and relaxation. For the driver, very good head, shoulder, thigh and leg room are offered.
As is typical of other Audi models, the Q3’s cabin is clean, uncluttered and sensibly apportioned.
LED interior lighting is included and every Q3 comes with keyless ignition, automatic wipers, leather seating surfaces, a 12-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a tilt and telescopic steering column with a three-spoke wheel, dual-zone climate control, power windows and door locks, and cruise control. This model is equipped with eight drink or cup holders.
The Q3’s instrument panel offers analog gauges that adjoin a digital driver’s information readout. Audi has arranged the center stack with the navigation screen on top, followed by climate control vents, its audio system display, switches to operate the traction control and hill descent, climate control and a placeholder for a smartphone. Between the seats is the transmission stick, a pair of cup holders, the electronic parking brake switch and a 12-volt power outlet. The front armrest does double duty as a small, covered storage compartment.
Rear seating room for three adults is a stretch in the Q3. Buyers with children will find enough room for a pair of child or booster seats. Fold down the middle position and two cup holders are revealed. Behind the rear seat is 16.7 cubic feet of storage space. Fold down the rear seat and the storage room nearly triples to 48.2 cubic feet.
All Audi Q3 models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This motor makes 200 horsepower, and is conjoined to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Select the standard front-wheel drive model and the Q3 is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Opt for the quattro all-wheel drive edition and this vehicle is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The Audi Q3 has a 16.9-gallon fuel tank and runs on premium grade gasoline.
On the road, the Q3 performs admirably, offering sufficient power off the start and excellent boost when more force is needed. Slight turbo lag is detected, but quickly disappears as more energy is delivered. The test model, equipped with quattro all-wheel drive, handled well on twisting roads, particularly so on elevated terrain. This model offers outstanding grip, providing the confidence drivers demand on more challenging arteries.
Drivers can turn off the traction control to enjoy a more spirited driving experience. That option offers a clear demonstration of Audi’s advanced all-wheel drive system as power is distributed to the wheels that need it most. Take note of the superior handling, agility and very good surface feedback as you maneuver this small crossover.
The Audi Q3 comes equipped with a premium 10-speaker sound system, a CD player, a music interface, Bluetooth connectivity and an SD card slot. Unfortunately, like other Audi models, it does not come with a true USB port. However, if you possess an iPhone you can connect with one of the provided cables.
Audi also makes available an advanced voice-controlled navigation system, which is a $1,900 upgrade. This system comes with HD Radio, a CD/DVD player and a color information display.
Where other Audis place the display inside the dash where it emerges when the ignition is activated, this one is fixed in place. The display is easy to read with its black background and attractive orange lettering.
The Audi Q3 is new model, hence it is not yet rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Based on the crash test ratings of the larger Q5 and Q7 models, the Audi Q3 would most likely fare well in safety testing. Neither of the other two tested models has achieved IIHS Top Safety Pick ratings, but each one received a score of Good in most tests. Good is the highest score offered by the IIHS.
Customers seeking optimum protection can opt for Audi Side Assist, a blind spot warning system that aids in lane changing safety. Rear side-impact airbags and a rearview monitor are also available.
Every 2015 Audi Q3 is equipped with front, front thorax side, and side curtain air bags. Electronic stability control with an off-road mode and traction control are standard. Audi also includes brake assist, an anti-lock brake system, brake-pressure distribution and brake assist.
With a starting price of $32,500, Audi places the Q3 at the bottom end of the pricing spectrum for this segment. Therefore, this crossover should be attainable for prospective shoppers, including the people that want to advance to standard brands.
Audi offers two other trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige, the latter priced from $36,400. Choose quattro all-wheel drive and you will add $2,100 to the base price. Available options include a sport package ($550), which brings in Audi select drive, sport seats and a multifunction, leather-wrap steering wheel with paddle shifters.
Special metallic paint can add another $550 to your price. Fully equipped, a 2015 Audi Q3 should carry a sticker price of about $40,000.
The Audi Q3 advances a common theme with this automaker: to build the kind of luxury models that customers want. Its affordable price point, well-designed interior, superior craftsmanship and overall value make this model worth considering. The Q3, along with the A3 sedan, provide an intelligent entry point to the brand.