Audi Q3 Review (2018-2023)

The Audi Q3 is a compact family SUV that’s practical, comfortable and packed with high-tech features.

Published: 2 February 2023

  • Orange Audi Q3 car review (2018-2023)

Summary

The latest Audi Q3 (sold new since 2018) is a great option if you want a practical mid-size SUV with a premium image and the latest features. It has loads of interior and boot space and it gives you a smooth drive.

You get lots of versions to choose from. Beyond the standard model there’s the coupe-like Sportback version and you have the option of a petrol or diesel engine, manual or automatic gearbox, front- or four-wheel drive.

Pros

  • High-tech interior
  • Lots of boot space
  • Plug-in hybrid option

Cons

  • Higher-spec versions can be costly
  • Some below-par interior trim
  • Plug-in hybrid models have a smaller boot
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Interior

Dashboard & tech

The Q3’s interior is a pleasant place to spend time. The dashboard is dominated by the large central touchscreen infotainment system display. It has a responsive screen, clear graphics and easy-to-navigate menus. You can also use voice commands, while support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is included.

In place of conventional dials behind the steering wheels there’s a large digital display showing all the usual vehicle information and settings, entertainment options and full-screen sat nav maps.

The heating and ventilation are controlled by a row of buttons below the central screen that are really intuitive to use. Otherwise, there are relatively few physical controls in the Q3’s interior.

Comfort

The Q3 is comfortable to travel in. Different trim levels have different front seats, but they all provide high levels of support so you shouldn’t experience any aches or pains as a result of the seating. S Line models are particularly comfortable because their seats have a more body-hugging shape. Some models have leather upholstery and heated front seats for a more luxurious feel.

Those in the back seat get an unusually good deal because each section of the seat reclines individually so they can choose the most comfortable angle for them.

The Q3 sits relatively low to the ground for an SUV, so getting in is just a matter of sliding onto the seat. Most people won’t need to climb up or bend down. Taller passengers should watch their head when getting into the back of Sportback models, which have a slightly lower roofline.

Quality

The Q3’s interior feels well put together, as you’d expect of an Audi, and it should still feel fresh after a few years of use. Overall quality is good when compared with most mid-size SUVs but some of the plastics don’t look or feel as upmarket as those in Audi’s larger models. The trim around the lower parts of the seats and dashboard, for example, has a rather functional appearance.

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Practicality & boot space

Interior space

There’s space in the Q3 for four adults to travel together in comfort, so there should be enough for a typical family of four.

Even if you’re well over six feet, you’re likely to have all the head, leg and shoulder room you need in the front seats. Likewise in the back – adults and children shouldn’t have any complaints about the amount of space. Sportback models have a slightly lower roof, so there’s a little less headroom in the back, although taller passengers can compensate for that to a degree by reclining the seat. 

On top-of-the-range models, the back seats slide backwards and forwards so you can prioritise passenger or boot space. Children will be fine with the seats all the way forwards but adults will have room to lounge if the seats are pushed right back.

There’s lots of storage space dotted around the interior, with large door bins, a good-size glovebox and places for your bits and bobs between the front seats.

Boot space

There’s at least 530 litres of space in the Q3’s boot. That’s big for a mid-size SUV and more than enough to cover most people’s day-to-day needs. The weekly food shopping, a couple of pushchairs, a Labrador, or all the family holiday clobber should fit in without issue. Slide the back seat all the way forwards (on top-of-the-range models) and you’ll have 675 litres of space – more than in many considerably larger SUVs.

Sportback models have 10 litres (a couple of shoeboxes) less boot space. Plug-in hybrid models have a bit less again to make room for the battery.

The boot opening is quite large and the floor is level with the back bumper, which is relatively close to the ground. So heaving stuff into the boot shouldn’t be much of a strain.

Versatility

The back seats fold down in a three-piece 40/20/40 split, which is more flexible than the 60/40 split you get in most cars. Another useful feature is the ability to stow the parcel shelf under the boot floor if you need to carry anything really big.

The Q3 also has a high towing capacity for this type of car – 1,700kg to 2,200kg. So it’s one of the best options if you need to tow a big trailer or a caravan.

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Driving

Driving experience

Some mid-size SUVs are more fun to drive, but the Q3 is great at easing away the stresses and strains of a journey. Its compact size and light steering combine to make it feel quite nimble around town and it’s easy to park thanks to the clear view you have from the driver’s seat.

Get out of town onto faster country roads and motorways and you’ll notice how secure and stable the Q3 feels. The steering is accurate, the body stays upright in corners and you don’t get bounced around too much by bumps and holes in the road. The ride in S Line models can be a bit jittery because they have bigger (19-inch) wheels. With smaller wheels, the Q3 gives you a smooth and comfortable ride. 

While the Q3 is available with four-wheel drive, which Audi calls Quattro, it’s not a proper off-roader in the Land Rover mould. However, it will happily tackle rough or muddy farm tracks.

Performance

No Q3 could be called slow. Even the least-powerful models can accelerate reasonably rapidly, so you can get a shift on when you need to. Overtaking on a country road or joining a motorway, for instance.

More-powerful models are correspondingly faster and cope more easily with a full load of passengers and luggage. The 45 TFSI model can be thrillingly fast, accelerating even faster than many hot hatchbacks.

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Running costs

Fuel economy & CO2 emissions

The Q3 gives you good fuel economy for a mid-size SUV. According to official figures, petrol models can give 32mpg to 44mpg and diesel models can give 42mpg to 56mpg.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are 145g/km to 198g/km for petrol models and 133g/km to 176g/km for diesels. Some Q3 models cost more than £40,000 when new and so incur an extra annual charge of £520 when they are between two and six years old.

If you really want to lower your running costs, check out the plug-in hybrid. According to official figures, it will give you an average of 176mpg, with CO2 emissions of 36g/km. That translates to much lower tax bills, although the fuel economy you get in real-world driving will depend on how often you charge it. The official maximum electric-only range is 31 miles.

Value for money

This is a premium-brand car, so you’ll pay more for a Q3 than for a similar SUV made by brands such as Peugeot or Vauxhall. Because the Q3 comes with a lot of features as standard and should hold its value well, it’s decent value overall.

Reliability & Warranty

Audi has a reputation for building high-quality cars, although the brand doesn’t always score that highly in independent customer satisfaction surveys. In the latest J.D. Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study, for example, Audi finished 22nd out of 24 brands.

Should any significant problems crop up, there’s Audi’s three-year or 60,000-mile (whichever comes first) warranty to fall back on. The earliest examples of this generation of Q3, sold in 2018, will be out of warranty by now, but there are lots of used ones that are less than three years old.

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Safety

Safety features

Safety organisation Euro NCAP awarded a full five-star safety rating to the Q3 in 2018, giving it a score of 95% for protecting adult occupants in the event of a crash. Standard driver safety features include automatic emergency braking, blindspot monitoring and lane-departure warning.

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Trims & Engines

Trim levels

There are lots of trim levels for the Q3. The ‘core’ ones are Technik, Sport, S Line and Black Edition. With broadly the same standard features, they’re marked out from each other by different exterior and interior styling details. S Line has deeper bumpers, bigger wheels and sports seats; on the Black Edition, many elements of the bodywork are finished in gloss black.

Other trim levels include Edition 1 and Vorsprung. These top-of-the-range, limited-run models have their own packages of features and styling details.

Features fitted as standard on  all trim levels include sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and LED headlights.

Engines

The Q3 is available with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid power. Each engine has a number that indicates how much power it has. The petrol engines are called ‘TFSI’ – the 35 TFSI has 148bhp, the 40 TFSI has 197bhp and the 45 TFSI has 242bhp. The plug-in hybrid is called the 45 TFSI e and combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a total of 242bhp. 

The two diesel options are the 35 TDI (with 148bhp) and the 40 TDI (with 197bhp). The more-powerful engine could be a better option if you regularly load up your car with lots of people and stuff.

While the 35 TFSI engine is available with a manual or automatic gearbox, the rest are automatic as standard. The 40 TFSI, 45 TFSI and 40 TDI engines also have four-wheel drive.

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