Unlike its neighbors, Audi believes that if you are calling a vehicle an SUV, it should do justice to that tag. It doesn’t matter if the model sits at the beginning of the range and is as convenient to drive in the city as some of the premium hatchbacks. Without beating around the bush, let us tell you more about the company’s youngest SUV, the Q3
The Audi Q3 is not a crossover but a proper SUV that comes with the brand’s popular off-road tech, the Quattro. It also comes with a drive select mode system which can alter the characteristics of the suspension depending on the driving style. As expected from an Audi, there is a long list of features that comes in this baby SUV as well. Perhaps, a combination of all of these and more made the Q3 the best selling SUV in its segment in India. Here is our new Audi Q3 review.
Audi has replicated the lines and cues from its bigger SUVs like the Q5 and the Q7 on the Q3. It is considerably compact in terms of dimensions but make no mistake of confusing it for a crossover. Among the new additions, there is a new radiator grille with a chrome finish and Xenon plus headlights with LED DRLs. Underneath the bumper; you will see aluminium finished bash plates which give the front a distinct look.
Audi had also introduced three new colour shades namely Floret Silver, Monsoon Grey and Mythos Black Our test car came in Floret Silver which looks smart however we would have preferred the feisty red. The silhouette doesn’t get any significant updates other than new 17-inch Trias alloy wheels which come smeared with Pirelli Scorpion 235 / 55 R17 tyres. The rear gets a new clear lens lights and chrome treated exhaust pipes.
The interior of the new Audi Q3 are similar to that of the previous model. While it might not be the best in terms of luxurious appeal that the Merc has, the Q3 scores really high in terms of a spacious cabin. Considering its tall headroom, the cabin space is apt for even taller passengers.
The dashboard is treated in dual tone beige and ebony colours which looks premium. The four spoke steering wheel comes with multiple buttons to control the central infotainment system. The New Audi Q3 gets a 5.8-inch retractable MMI interface screen. In addition, it also comes equipped with a 10-speaker stereo, USB, Aux-In and Bluetooth connectivity options. The features list also includes a panoramic sunroof which makes the cabin brighter giving a sense of spacious cabin. What I liked in particular about the new Q3 is the seating. Unlike the GLA, there is actually a lot of space with impressive kneeroom and shoulder room for four average sized adults to seat comfortably on both rows
The Audi Q3 is offered with a 2.0-litre TDI motor that puts out 177PS and 380Nm. This motor is paired to a 7-speed S-tronic transmission. To top it up, the Q3 also gets a drive selector which has indeed increased its capabilities and potential. This feature is also seen on range topping SUVs like the Q5 and the Q7.
The motor feels smooth and refined at lower speeds. Considering the face that the torque spread is wide and is also available at as low as 1,750rpm, driving it in city in bumper to bumper traffic conditions is not a task at all. Also the meaty torque ouput makes sure you are not belting the motor to make it climb higher revs. At mid range as well as in peak limits, the 2.0-litre motor continues to perform impressively.
The motor is aided swiftly with the 7-speed S-tronic transmission. This unit does a commendable job in all Audis, even in the range starter sedan, the A3. The shift quality is smooth and comes in handy during overtaking when you want to suddenly slip into a higher gear. Gently dab on the paddle shifter and you will see the tacho needle surge generating enough momentum for the motor to pull any manoeuvre without any stress.
Even when the Q3 is straddling between the tarmac and off it, the ride quality doesn’t feel compromised. With the right level of dampening, the uneven undulations felt in the ride are ironed out with the forgiving suspension. You can play around with the suspension setting with the help of the drive selector. In case you are on highways and want the settings to be crisp and agile, just toggle the lever to dynamic mode and the Q3 acts much in control.
Should you buy it?
If you are in the market looking for a ‘bigger’ solution to your compact needs and at the same time are looking at a value for money proposition, the Q3 is the perfect SUV for you. The answer to “Is the Q3 better than the GLA?” depends on multiple aspects. In terms of styling, the GLA is a crossover while the Q3 is a proper full-spec SUV. In terms of space, the Q3 scores more. Also when it comes to impressive ride quality and better drive feel, the Q3 scores more points than the GLA.