11 Feb Audi Q3 compact crossover good or bad ?
Compact, brash and the usual “big” Audi grill defines the new Q3 as a serious high end compact SUV challenger against likes of the BMW X1, the Subaru Forester, Toyota’s RAV4 and the new Ranger Rover Evoque – all of them are worthy contenders.
Does it have an edge? Well, based on recent reviews, I’d say yes. The bigger models in Audi’s Q range have all proved themselves and this little nipper does not let the Q family down. There is a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines and those with smaller budgets might for once find the principle of less means more will play out in their favour.
It is considerably lighter than the Quattro 4×4 versions, the entry-level front-wheel drive 2.0-litre TDi version is more agile and handles better.
For those that are into “fuel economy” it claims 45-mpg in the combined cycle. The four-cylinder engines combine direct fuel injection with turbo-charging, an energy recovery system and a stop-start function.
The three Quattro versions mate their smooth-running engines to slick seven-speed S-tronic gearboxes. It doesn’t take up a lot of road space but the Q3’s relatively tall stance means a lot can be packed into the interior. There’s leg, shoulder and head room even in the rear. Luggage capacity is generous too, making the car ideally suited to long motorway hauls and family motoring holidays – the only thing is the rear bench does not fold completely flat and the boot lip is rather high.
Driver comfort is enhanced by a steering wheel that adjusts both up and down and fore and aft, while there are ample storage cubbies for the usual clutter. It was voted “Best Class” in the ‘Small Off-Road 4×4’ category by the readers of Off Road magazine recently. Unlike some rivals, Audi offers comprehensive equipment as standard, including an electro-mechanical parking brake and hill hold assist, the Chorus audio system, air-conditioning and a range of restraint systems. Also available is a choice of optional extras garnered directly from the marque’s luxury models. These include an adaptive lighting set-up for the xenon plus headlights, a panoramic glass roof, an LED interior lighting packages and power-adjustable front seats. Built at Audi-Volkswagen group’s facility in Spain, the Q3 fully meets the company’s usual German design and build quality standards. Prices rage from £24,560 upwards