2018 Audi Q3 Review

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2018 Audi Q3 Overview

Audi’s crossover lineup offers enough variety to suit the needs of any buyer—the Q7 is ideal for those who need lots of space for passengers and cargo, while the recently redesigned Q5 is a compelling compact luxury crossover option. For buyers looking for something small that still packs plenty of luxury features, Audi’s subcompact Q3 is the perfect choice.

For 2018, Audi has made some changes to the Q3’s lineup and feature set. The high-end Prestige trim has been dropped, and some of its standard features like blind-spot monitoring and LED headlights have moved down to the Premium Plus trim. The base Premium trim, meanwhile, receives heated seats and a revised front bumper.

Audi hasn’t messed with the Q3’s exterior since it was last refreshed in 2016. It’s a sharp looker, with an imposing hexagonal grille, a sharply raked roofline and tailgate, and distinctive xenon headlights. Those who want their Q3 stand out even more can opt for the Sport Plus package, which adds a blacked-out grille, an aggressive body kit, and 19-inch wheels with a matte finish. Be aware, however, that the Sport Plus package is only available at the Premium Plus trim level.

While the Q3 was first introduced to U.S. markets in 2015, Audi has been selling it elsewhere since the 2011 model year. This means that for a relatively new model, the Q3 is already lagging behind in terms of features, and it lacks many of the improvements Audi has implemented in its more recent models. Its interior, for example, features luxurious materials and an impressive build quality, but the layout feels awkward and outdated. The climate controls are mounted too low in the center stack for easy access, and the Q3 is not equipped with Audi’s latest MMI system. This means no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, and you’ll be stuck using Audi’s proprietary interface for USB devices. At least the older MMI system is easy enough to understand, despite the control knob’s awkward location on the center stack. Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus is available as an option on both trims.

Interior space in the Q3 is surprisingly tight for the class. Those sitting in the front are treated to roomy seats that are quite supportive on long trips. The rear seat, however, provides minimal legroom, especially in comparison to competitors like the BMW X1. Cargo space measures 16.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 50.3 cubic feet with the seats folded, placing the Q3 between the Lexus NX and BMW X1 in terms of available room.

On the performance front, the Q3 comes with just one powertrain option—a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 200 hp 207 lb-ft of torque. This is matched with a 6-speed automatic and the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. With a 0-to-60 time of 8.2 seconds, the Q3 is a bit of a slowpoke compared to others in its segment, many of whom can hit 60 mph a good 1 or 2 seconds quicker. On the plus side, the engine is very refined, with little noise and few vibrations entering the cabin. Fuel-economy figures are slightly disappointing for the class, at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, and 23 combined with either drivetrain.

The Q3’s suspension is precisely tuned to deliver a comfortable and enjoyable ride. Even on the optional 19-inch wheels, it does an excellent job of smoothing out bumps. On corners, however, it exhibits a fair amount of body roll when pushed, and the steering is somewhat disappointing due to its lack of feel. You might think the available Sport package would fix this, but it doesn’t include any changes to the suspension or steering. On the plus side, the Q3’s light steering and small dimensions make it quite maneuverable in tight spaces.

As for safety equipment, the Q3 comes fully loaded—all models receive stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, a reversing camera with parking sensors, hill-descent assist, and tire-pressure monitoring. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has thus far been the only group to test the Q3, where the 2017 model earned a Good rating in all categories.

The 2018 Audi Q3 begins at $32,900 for the base FWD Premium trim and climbs to $37,900 for the Premium Plus trim with quattro.

Updated

Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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