The latest Q3 raises the bar for small SUVs, writes Bernard Potter
Audi's second generation Q3 is about as sleek-looking as
a crossover gets. It has sharper lines and more edge than
its predecessor. An impressive frontage and grille are
flanked by rakish LED headlamps.
Details like silver metallic inlay and aluminium inserts in
door sill trims give the interior a sense of casual luxury.
An ambient lighting package, one of the many optional
extras included in the model under test, enhances the
sense of relaxed elegance in the cabin.
The stylish interior means that the Q3 doesn't have as
many of those little storage nooks and crannies so handy
or so clutter-friendly, depending on your taste as some
of its rivals.
The 1.5L petrol engine, now called the 35TSI under Audi's
new naming system, is an impressive performer but this
is not an SUV that you will look to for feats of strength
and power. It does deliver an enjoyable drive, and is
manoeuvrable and efficient, whether on meandering
country roads or on motorways.
About the only quibble is that the ride is a little firmer on
bumpier surfaces than you would expect for an otherwise
faultlessly comfortable driving experience.
There's an impressive-looking list of standard equipment
that includes roof rails, a rear cross traffic alert system
and an active lane departure warning system.
But to really experience how Audi has raised the bar on
the latest Q3, you have to seek out the optional extras,
such as privacy glass, the Audi six-speaker sound system
and the MMI Navigation Plus tech with a 10-inch display
screen. Of course, those additions also add to the cost
but the overall in-car experience they offer are what sets a
crossover like this apart from the pack.
If you're willing to pay for premium comfort, this Q3
stands out as a small SUV with a big presence.
35TSI 150HP S line S-Tronic
Fuel consumption (combined)
emissions (manufacturer's figures)