2015 Audi Q3 Review


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2015 Audi Q3 Overview

The new 2015 Audi A3 slots below the popular Q5 from Audi and enters a market segment just now evolving. Premium automakers hope the next hot new segment will be subcompact crossovers. The compact crossover market, which encompasses vehicles like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Acura RDX and new Lexus NX 200t is robust. It remains to be seen if vehicles smaller than this will work for those who seek some utility, a higher ride height and personal luxury. Audi has just given those considering a BMW X1 a choice.

Size-wise the Q3 is not as large as a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, but rather more like the compact Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. At 72 inches wide and 172 inches long, the Q3 is a vehicle that shares much with the Volkswagen Tiguan. The Q3 is as much “high-hatchback” as it is compact crossover. Up front, the Q3 will be right-sized for the driver and front passenger. It's in the back seat and rear cargo area that those shopping for a Q3 need to make a judgment call on size.

Like the Q5 and Q7, the Q3's styling is classy-conservative. Some might say this is the Ann Taylor of automotive skins. Inside, Audi’s typical excellent built quality and Spartan-in-a-good-way dash couple with rich-to-the-touch and rich-to-the-eye materials. This is Audi’s signature look, now mimicked by Mazda and others. The infotainment screen rises from the top center of the dash. It's a look some like and others don’t.

Notable features in the 2015 Audi Q3 include the Audi side-assist blind-spot system, parking system plus with a rear-view camera, and a 465-watt, 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound system. Heated windshield washer nozzles, aluminum roof rails, and front and rear fog lights are also standard.

The 2015 Audi Q3 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and an automatic Tiptronic 6-speed transmission. Audi’s turbo 4-cylinder will move this small crossover around town with enthusiasm. Its 200 hp may not sound like much for those accustomed to the drivetrain options in larger crossovers, but Audi has learned to mimic the low-rev, high torque feeling many diesel lovers speak so highly of in its gasoline engines. There is no optional powerhouse engine, nor diesel, nor hybrid at this time, though we would not be surprised to see these appear later in the Q3’s lifecycle if the model proves popular. Audi’s trademark Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is optional.

Fuel economy in this subcompact crossover Audi Q3 is below average for the class. In front-wheel-drive form the Audi Q3 earns an EPA estimated 20 mpg city/29 highway/23 combined. Quattro AWD equipped models score 20/28/23. Like all Audis, the 2015 Q3 uses premium fuel.

Audi’s new 2015 Q3 comes in two trims, Premium Plus and Prestige. A basic Premium Plus with front-wheel drive and no options starts at $32,500. At this price leather seats are included, but not a leather steering wheel. The panoramic sunroof is standard. Option packages include the MMI Navigation Plus package for $1,900 and a $550 Sport package that puts leather on the steering wheel and changes the seating design to Sport. Opting for Quattro AWD adds $2,100.

The 2015 Audi Q3 Prestige with front-wheel drive starts at $36,400. At this price point, the MMI Navigation system is included, but those that want the leather sport steering wheel still need to add $550. Add the Sport package to a Quattro AWD-equipped Prestige and the total without destination or dealer documentation fees is $39,050. This is approximately the starting point for a Q5.

The 2015 Audi Q3 has not yet been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, the similar 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan has been, and it received the highest possible score of Top Safety Pick+. We expect the Audi Q3 will score identically, but it's worth checking before buying to see if the vehicle has been tested.

The 2015 Audi Q3 extends Audi’s crossover line to those that want personal luxury in a smaller-than-compact crossover. This does not mean the driver and front passenger will feel the pinch. The reduction is size over the more mainstream Audi Q5 is primarily behind the front seats. Audi’s legendary but optional all-wheel drive, class-leading looks and interior design, and of course its small-but-high-torque engine are all there in this new offering from a proven leader.


John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. In the early 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric race car from scratch. In addition to his work at CarGurus, John covers automotive news at Torque News and GM-trucks.com and is a contributor to CarTalk and BestRide. Aside from all things automotive, John loves fishing and hockey, preferably in the company of his two boys.

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