Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) Review

Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) At A Glance


+Stylish. compact SUV in a similar fashion to the Range Rover Evoque. Impressive fuel economy and low CO2. Two and four-wheel drive available.

-Front passenger space tight. Limited range of engines initially. Disconcertingly light steering at low speeds. No 1.6 TDI.

Insurance Groups are between 18–38
On average it achieves 83% of the official MPG figure

The Audi Q3 was one of a generation of compact posh-roaders back in 2011 that also included the BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque when they were all shiny and new. The trick that the Q3 manages to pull off is that it looks like a big, chunky SUV, yet is still roughly the same size as the A3 Sportback - just over four metres long.

So it's kind of a posh crossover that's not actually that big. That means it's easy to drive around town and not tricky to park, although the turning circle is a lot bigger than you'd expect. Yet still has enough room to make it a good family car. So there's decent rear space and enough boot room for a pushchair plus a bit of shopping.

Despite the car's relatively small size, there's a 460-litre load bay and split folding rear seats as standard. In comparison, a standard hatch like the Volkswagen Golf has 380 litres. The other obvious advantage of the Q3 is the raised driving position which means you're less likely to collide with that pesky bollard in the Sainsbury's car park. We've all been there.

It's not all good news though. The Q3 handles reasonably well but the steering is a weak point. It's too light and feels overly artificial. Even when the Q3 was facelifted in 2014 this wasn't improved. The ride is a bit hit and miss too. Go for an S line on big wheels and you'll find it the wrong side of comfortable.

If you're not covering big miles, then the 1.4 TFSI engine is a good one to go for. It has 150PS and while it lacks torque somewhat, it provides smooth progress nontheless. You'll be lucky to get anywhere near the 50mpg claimed economy though.

For big distances, the 2.0 TDI fits the bill in the Q3 - strangely there's no 1.6 TDI available. Go for the 150PS version and the official figures say you 'could' be seeing 62mpg on some models. Real MPG says more like late 40s, but that's not bad for this type of car. 

It may not have the desirability of a Range Rover Evoque, while the latest BMW X1 is nicer inside and better to drive, but the Q3 is still a very good family car and feels like a high quality motor. But compared to the rest of the Audi range, it's starting to feel quite dated already.

Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro 2011 Road Test

Audi RS Q3 2013 Road Test

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI 150 S line Long Term Test

Real MPG average for a Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

24–56 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Cam belt confusion - when should the timing belt be replaced?

"I'm finding it difficult to definitive answers on cam belt changes on both of my cars. Some sources are saying 10 years/100,000 miles for my 2013 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0D. I also own a 2015 Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI. Again, mixed messages six years/60,000 miles. What are your thoughts, please?"
It's important to note that these sources are giving you the suggested belt change intervals. No cam belt is warranted to reach 10 years/100,000 miles. And even if it was, the warranty wouldn't pay for a replacement engine if the water pump or pulley failed (two things that should be replaced at the same time as the cam belt). Most cam belt failures (we hear about) occur after 60,000 miles and/or five years. That's why we suggest getting the belt changed before either of these intervals come into play.
Answered by Dan Powell

Does my cambelt need changing before the service schedule suggests?

"My Audi Q3 diesel is 5 years old and has covered 46,000 miles. The dealer says it needs a new belt and water pump for £1300, but according to my service schedule, it isn’t due yet. I’ve had a mechanic look at the belt and he said it’s in perfect condition and he wouldn’t personally replace it till it’s covered 75,000 miles or 10 years — whichever comes first. The dealer say they prefer to err on the side of caution! What do you recommend? Are they just scaremongering in order to get me to spend my money when it’s not necessary or should I have it done (albeit at a recommended garage, not Audi). Thanks in advance for your advice."
Your local Audi dealer is giving you good advice. The service schedule may claim 220,000k but the cam belt, tensioner, pulley and water pump are not guaranteed to last that distance. This means you will be responsible for the costs of a replacement engine, should the belt fail. Most cam belt failures we hear about occur after five years and/or 60,000 miles. I would recommend getting it changed now. If you do not want to pay dealer prices then use an independent Audi specialist - the costs will be much lower and the quality of the work will be just as good as the Audi centre.
Answered by Dan Powell

Will a car that's been sat around for a while have mechanical issues to be wary of?

"I've been considering a vehicle on sale for some time (over 6 months). It's a 5-year-old Audi Q3 petrol auto, fully fitted with all extras with average mileage. It's been on the forecourt the whole time. What are the risks of decay and internal corrosion of the engine? What components, apart from the battery, should I insist on being tested and rectified should I wish to purchase the car? Thank you."
There are currently a lot of cars out there that haven't been used for a long period of time. If you're buying from a reputable dealer with a warranty, it needn't be an issue. If you're concerned, ask if they'd be happy for you to buy an inspection or health check for the car. An AA or RAC inspection, or a health check at an Audi dealer, will check things like the tyre condition (are they perished?) and the state of the battery.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Should I trade in two cars to buy an electric vehicle?

"I’m recently bereaved and I find I’ve got two cars, a 2017 MINI Clubman and a 2016 Audi Q3. I don’t need both cars and I could buy an all-electric car/SUV with a 250-mile range. I’m prepared to put £10,000 - £15,000 to buy outright. What can you suggest I do?"
If you think your mileage will suit electric motoring, consider trading both in for an electric vehicle. To get the best from an EV, you'll need to be able to charge at home (i.e. have private parking with access to electricity where you can install a home charger). The Volkswagen ID.3 is a really good introduction to EVs, and the standard model starts from around £30k (after the Plug-in Car Grant). This can officially travel up to 250 miles on a charge, while the pricer Tour model can travel up to 336 miles. If you regularly travel 250 miles in one go, though, you might find that a diesel alternative is a better option.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

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