Audi Q3 Review & Prices
The Audi Q3 is an upmarket compact SUV that delivers owners loads of high-tech features and lots of cabin space. However, it’s not that enjoyable to drive
What's not so good
Find out more about the Audi Q3
Is the Audi Q3 a good car?
The Audi Q3 is a spacious and stylish family SUV with a great interior and lots of high tech features. It’s an alternative to the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 and sits between the Q2 and Q5 in the enormous range of SUVs available in Audi’s line-up.
That line-up can be a bit like watching Eastenders and trying to work out which Mitchell brother is on the screen – they do all look very similar. That’s good in some cases and bad in others, depending on the price you’re paying. Thankfully, the Q3 is in a sweet spot.
For instance, the Q3’s grille looks like a smaller version of the Q8’s while the exterior design is similar to the Q5’s, but scaled down a bit. This kind of Russian-doll styling is common to a lot of car manufacturers, so we can’t hold it against Audi too much.
All Q3s get a set of digital dials with sat nav functionality and a whole lot more. The infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard is sharp and easy to use, too. The Q3 scores highly for tech, feeling like a more expensive model in that regard.
It’s a similar story when it comes to the seat upholstery and interior materials. The Q3 is well-built, looks smart and has some customisation options including Alcantara trim that looks and feels great.
It has a typically high-up SUV driving position with plenty of adjustment, which means you can get comfortable quite easily. Plus there’s lots of room in the front seats, including plenty of headroom.
There’s no doubt the Audi Q3 has been inspired by the vast Q8 SUV – that giant grille, for example, makes it look just like a toddler that’s trying on its Grandparent’s dentures
In the rear seats the Q3 has more room than you’ll find in many other cars of this size, and you can slide the rear seats forwards and backwards to prioritise passenger legroom or boot space.
Impressively, even with the back seats in their most rearward position, there’s more space in the boot than you get in a BMW X1. With them set forward, the boot is really big and practical. Fold the back seats down and there’s easily enough room to carry a bicycle.
There are plenty of engines to choose from. Petrol options are a 1.5-litre with 150hp and a 2.0-litre with 190hp or 245hp. The’re badged 35 TFSi, 40 TFSi and 45 TFSi, respectively. There’s also a pair of 2.0-litre diesels with 150hp and 200hp, badged 35 TDi and 40 TDi.
For most people, the 35 TFSi or 35 TDi will make the most sense. They serve up more than adequate performance and offer the best value for money.
Only 35 TFSi models are available with a manual gearbox; the rest have a seven-speed automatic. Overall, it’s a decent gearbox but can be a bit slow to respond. Models with more than 190hp have four-wheel-drive (which Audi calls quattro) for extra grip, but it’s not entirely necessary in this type of car and adds to the cost and efficiency.
Though the Audi Q3 is comfortable and composed, it’s more suited to motorways than country roads. It has a slightly stiff edge to the ride in models with larger wheels and sports suspension, but it’s smooth enough at motorway speeds.
Light steering means it’s easy to drive, if not particularly fun – a BMW X1 or Mini Countryman is a better choice for those who love driving. You get plenty of active safety kit as standard, but you’ll have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control.
The Audi Q3 is a great all-around family SUV, with strengths in the key areas buyers of these cars want. It’s spacious and has a great interior with loads of tech, even if it is on the pricey side. Still, you should be able to find a good deal by heading over to our deals page.
How much is the Audi Q3?
The Audi Q3 has a RRP range of £32,225 to £45,980. However, with carwow you can save on average £959. Prices start at £31,443 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £408. The price of a used Audi Q3 on carwow starts at £23,000.
Our 3 most popular versions of the Audi Q3 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|35 TFSI Technik 5dr S Tronic||£32,983||Compare offers|
|35 TFSI Technik 5dr||£31,443||Compare offers|
|35 TFSI Technik 5dr S Tronic [Comfort+Sound Pack]||£34,148||Compare offers|
Alternatives to the Q3 include the BMW X1, DS 7, Jaguar E-Pace, Mercedes GLA, Mini Countryman and Volvo XC40. There’s certainly plenty of posh small SUV choice. You may also want to consider mid-size SUVs from non-premium brands like the Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson.
Of those alternatives, only the Ford, Hyundai and Mini cost less than the Audi, and not by much. So the Q3 looks like pretty good value. As ever, though, you need to interrogate the specification and features of each car to make sure you’re comparing like for like.
Performance and drive comfort
The Audi Q3 is a good all-rounder, as capable on a long journey as it is around town, although the auto gearbox could be quicker to respond
The Q3 is a compact size, so it’s no more difficult to drive around town than Audi’s own A3 hatchback, which is only about five inches shorter. In some ways, the Q3 is actually a bit easier to drive around town as being sat higher up than in a hatchback means you have a better view of the road ahead. Visibility is pretty good generally and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard, so parking is no hassle.
There’s a very wide range of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel, so you’ll easily find a driving position that works for you. S Line and Black Edition models have firmer suspension than Technik and Sport models, but they’re all perfectly comfortable and soak up the bumps and holes on rutted roads. If you’re really fussed, you can spec softer suspension on the S Line and Black Edition, or pay a bit more for adaptive suspension that can switch between comfort and sporting settings depending on the driver’s desires.
The plug-in hybrid TFSIe is best for town driving. It can go up to 31 miles on electric power, producing no emissions or noise in the process. If you can’t stretch to that, the 35 TFSI is likely to be an efficient option. The S tronic automatic can feel a bit unresponsive pulling away from stationary, so the light and slick manual might actually be a better bet. It costs less, too.
On the motorway
You’d expect a do-anything family car like the Q3 to feel at home on the motorway, and so it proves. It feels solid as a rock, it’s quiet and comfortable (even with the firmer sports suspension) and all the engines feel more than up to the task of cruising along at 70mph all day. Though the more powerful ones accelerate along a sliproad quicker and feel happier with a full load of passengers and/or luggage.
If you do lots of motorway miles, you’ll probably prefer the efficiency of the diesel engines. The 35 TDI gives better fuel economy, but the 40 TDI feels like it’s making less effort. Still, for occasional long trips, the 30-40-ish-mpg you’ll get from the petrol engines seems acceptable.
On a twisty road
The Q3 is as competent you’d hope on a winding country road. The front wheels turn to exactly where you pointed the steering wheel, the body stays upright rather than rolling when going round corners, and is settled over lumps and bumps in the road. The automatic’s slight delay in responding when you stamp on the throttle to overtake can be irritating, but all the engines have more than enough power to make rapid progress – the most powerful 45 TFSI engine is, of course, the fastest.
Gearbox aside, this is all good stuff. Yet the Q3 lacks the feeling of connection that makes driving on a twisty satisfying. But, more importantly for this kind of car, the Q3 feels safe and stable and is happy to be driven as fast (or slow) as you want to go.
That actually bodes well for the monstrously fast RS Q3, which is well worth checking out if you really enjoy driving. If you can’t stretch to that, check the BMW X1, Ford Kuga and Mini Countryman.
Space and practicality
The Audi Q3 is one of the more practical premium small SUVs, although still limited by its fairly compact dimensions
However tall you are, you should be able to get comfortable in the front of the Q3. There’s generous legroom and there can be stacks of headroom if you lower the height-adjustable seats as far as they’ll go. The seats are rather comfy, too. A little firm, perhaps, but supportive. Spend a long day in them and you should be largely free of aches and pains.
Storage in the front includes vast door bins, a deepish cubby hole under the centre armrest, two cupholders in the centre console and a deep tray in front of the gearstick for your phone, where you’ll also find two USB charging ports. The glovebox is usefully large and there’s a pocket under the passenger seat for the owner’s manual.
Space in the back seats
A couple of six-foot tall adults can sit in the back of the Q3 comfortably enough for a few hours, so there’s more than enough leg and headroom for even rapidly growing kids. On higher-spec models, the back seat slides backwards and forwards, you can give passengers as much – or little – legroom as they need. It’s a bit of a squeeze for three adults to fit in the back, but kids should be fine.
There are three sets of ISOFIX mounts – two in the back and another on the front passenger seat. Installing a child seat in the back is a faff. They aren’t especially easy to locate and there isn’t much room to work in without the sliding back seat.
The Q3 is absolutely fine if you have bigger kids, but alternatives like the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson and Ford Kuga are ultimately more family friendly, and more accommodating for adults in the back.
The Q3 has the biggest boot of any premium compact SUV, with up to 675 litres of space if you slide the rear seat as forwards as it’ll go. In cars without the sliding back seat, there’s still a class-leading 530-litre capacity. That’s enough to swallow what most families will need to take on a week-long holiday. There’s some extra storage under the boot floor, plus more at the sides. The back seats fold down in three parts if you need to do a heavy-duty flat-pack furniture shopping trip, or something similar.
Be aware that plug-in hybrid models have a significantly smaller boot. The batteries, which are mounted under the boot floor, take up a lot of space.
Interior style, infotainment and accessories
The interior is sensibly laid out, but quality and style aren’t up with Audi’s best efforts
There are other Audis that have a more stylish interior than the Q3 has, but it’s clearly laid out so you can easily find whatever knobs and buttons you’re looking for. Though some of the buttons lower down are slightly obscured by the gear lever.
Quality is a bit of a letdown, too. Most of the things you touch regularly have a suitably premium feel, but there are too many surfaces made from cheaper, scratchy plastics. Alternatives like the Mercedes GLA and Volvo XC40 have interiors that feel a bit more special.
The Q3’s 10.1-inch touchscreen display and the infotainment system it controls work well. The screen looks crisp and responds promptly, and navigation through the menus is straightforward. Or you can use voice commands. Features include sat-nav with 3D mapping, DAB radio, Bluetooth and various apps. Alternatively, connect your phone and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Other standard features include a digital driver’s display that can show full screen sat nav maps, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a host of other stuff. It’s worth noting that all the trim levels have broadly the same features. They’re differentiated by their exterior and interior styling details, including wheels and seats.
MPG, emissions and tax
Pick any engine for the Q3 and you’ll get competitive fuel economy from it, according to the official figures. Looking at the petrol engines, the 35 TFSI can do 44mpg, the 40 TFSI can do 34mpg and the 45 TFSI can do 32mpg. Turning the diesels, the 35 TDI can do 56mpg and the 40 TDI can do 42mpg.
The 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid is the economy king, doing a claimed 176mpg thanks to its battery power. In the real world, you’re unlikely to get anywhere near that, but if you keep the batteries topped up to maximise use of the 31-mile electric range, you should see economy at least similar to the 35 TDI. Recharging only takes a couple of hours at home using a 7kW wallbox charger.
Petrol and diesel models produce CO2 emissions between 131g/km and 198g/km. Annual vehicle excise duty costs £165 once the car turns a year old. If you spend more than £40,000 on a Q3, you’ll also have to pay an extra £520 per year in VED from the car’s first to sixth birthdays.
Company car drivers will be most interested in the plug-in hybrid. Its 37g/km CO2 emissions translate to low benefit-in-kind rates.
Safety and security
Car safety experts Euro NCAP awarded the Q3 a full five-star rating. It scored 95% for protecting adults in a crash, and scored very highly in every other area Euro NCAP assesses.
There’s loads of safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and a speed limiter.
Reliability and problems
Audi has a fine reputation for building high quality cars, established over many decades. The Q3 continues that tradition, picking up top-50 placings in several owner satisfaction surveys. There have been a few recalls that affected very small numbers of cars in the UK, but you don’t have to worry about them when buying new.
You get a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as standard, which is the basic minimum, with other manufacturers offering higher mileage or more years.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.