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2017 Audi Q3 Overview
It can fit into small parking spaces and can fit more gear, groceries or passengers than the average sedan. Of course, this can be said of most compact crossovers, but the 2017 Audi Q3 does it with handsome yet understated styling, advanced technology, and noteworthy performance.
The Q3 underwent some significant changes for 2016 - the headlights, grille, side sills, wheels, and rear lights were all redesigned, giving the crossover a crisper, more athletic look. There was also some new technology added, like front and rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera, as well as new interior and exterior color options.
For 2017, Audi has re-worked the Q3’s trim lineup. Last year there were just two choices - Premium Plus (which served as the base trim) and the Prestige. This year the Q3 comes in three trims - Premium (base), Premium Plus, and Prestige - giving consumers a bit more flexibility in terms of features and pricing.
Notable standard features for the Premium trim include a panoramic sunroof, 12-way power front seats, and LED taillights and daytime running lights. The Premium Plus adds a power liftgate and heated and power-folding side mirrors. The high-end Prestige trim comes standard with an upgraded audio system (465-watt Bose Surround Sound with 14 speakers), navigation, blind-spot monitors, and Audi’s Mulit-Media Interface (MMI), which includes 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, social-media integration, Google Earth imagery for the navigation maps, and real-time weather, traffic, news, and fuel prices.
No matter which trim you choose, it will be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injected inline 4-cylinder (I4) that produces 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque and is mated to smooth 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is available, but chances are most will opt to spend the extra money for Audi’s highly-regarded quattro all-wheel drive (AWD), especially after comparing the fuel-efficiency numbers - 20 mpg city/29 highway/23 combined with FWD and 20/28/23 on trims with AWD.
The turbocharged I4 provides plenty of power and the Q3 handles well, but there’s no doubt it's tuned for comfort as opposed to sporty driving. The optional drive select system - which allows the driver to move between Comfort, Dynamic, and Auto drive modes - can change that handling feel. The Q3 is well-balanced and stable, but it doesn’t want to be pushed through corners like the BMW X1 or Mercedes-Benz GLA250, two of its main compact-crossover competitors.
But the Q3 pushes ahead of those two rival German crossovers with its cabin. The straightforward design provides a sense of calm that's enhanced by a remarkable degree of separation from road and engine noise. Large gauges and an easy-to-read 7-inch display screen that folds out from the dash also add to the relaxing feel.
The only potential downside to the Q3's interior is its size. There’s 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 48.2 cubic feet with the rear seats (which can be split) folded flat. And though the rear seats can fit three adults, it'll likely be a tight squeeze. Two adults or three kids is probably more like it. Of course, limited interior space is part of the package when it comes to any compact crossover.
There are plenty of impressive, and standard, safety features for the Q3 - electronic stability control, traction control, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, hill-descent assist, a tire-pressure monitoring system, an electromechanical parking brake, driver and front-passenger airbags, front-thorax side airbags, and side-head curtain airbags. The 2017 Q3 received all Good marks (the best possible score) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its crash testing, though it did not receive Top Safety Pick+ recognition because it doesn’t offer forward-collision prevention features.
After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.
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