Review: Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018)
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.
Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018): At A Glance
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.
What does a Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) cost?
Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
The Q3 may be Audi's entry-level SUV, but the interior has the same level of fit-and-finish as the other cars in the range. The sweeping dashboard is neat and the switchgear is top quality. However, it hasn't aged well - such is the pace of modern car design. Compared to newer Audi models, like the A3 and Q2, the Q3 feels old hat.
There are several niggles too. Inside, space for the front passenger is rather tight, even when you allow for the 'compact SUV' tag. And if you have a rear-facing child seat in the back, you'll find legroom in the front seat even more restricted. Elsewhere, the big screen on the dash top is clunky and the air conditioning controls down by the gear lever are fiddly.
On the plus side the quality if very good and there's also a reasonable amount of room in the back. While it's not enough to stretch right out, two adults should find it comfortable enough for fairly long journeys.
With 460 litres of space, the boot's big enough for a bulky pushchair and some shopping. It's high off the ground, which may cause a few issues if you're loading large, bulkier items, but inside the wheel arches aren't intrusive and it makes the most of the available space. You can get an electric tailgate as an option too which we think is a very handy extra.
The driving position is good and the sloping roofline doesn't impact on rear visibility as much as you'd expect it to. The seats (which are cloth as standard) are comfortable and multi adjustable plus the steering wheel adjusts for height and reach too. It means it's easy to find a good driving position
On the equipment list you'll find most of the essentials and there are of course plenty of options to choose, including a self-park function, panoramic sunroof, adaptive suspension, active lane assist and wireless internet connectivity.
Standard equipment from launch (November 2011):
SE has 17-inch alloy wheels, a Concert radio with 6.5-inch flip screen, Audi Music Interface, prep for SD card navigation retro-fit, dual zone climate control, leather multi function steering wheel, light and rain sensors, driver information system, rear parking sensors, front centre armrest, Bluetooth, aluminium window trims and aluminium roof rails.
S Line adds 18-inch alloy wheels, body coloured exterior trim, xenon headlights with LED running lights, leather/cloth upholstery, Dynamic suspension, S line exterior pack, S line sports pack and front sports seats.
Child seats that fit a Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.4 TFSI S tronic to RS 2.5 TFSI Performance
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 24–56 mpg
The Q3 is a bit of a mixed bag from behind the wheel. There are some positives - it handles well in corners with not too much body roll and the ride is good, but that's dependant on what version you go for and what wheels you have fitted.
If you've opted for an S line model it has a 20mm lower ride height. Add in 19-inch wheels and you'll likely find it a little too firm for comfort over speed bumps and rough roads. That said, on the motorway, the Q3 is generally smooth and quiet, whatever model you choose.
The biggest criticism is of the steering. It feels too light and artificial yet the Q3 also has a strangely large turning circle, so it's not that wasy to manouevre in tight spots.
You can firm up the steering somewhat with the sport setting via Audi Drive Select but beware if you've opted for the extra Damper Control as this also makes the suspension even stiffer...
There are plus points though. The raised driving position means visibilty is good and rear parking sensors are standard on all models. The fact it's not much bigger than a normal hatchback means it's not daunting to drive either.
If you're only using your Q3 for short journeys then go for one of the petrols. The 2.0 TFSI is the sporty one but for most people the 1.4 TFSI with 150PS is more than enough. It does lack a little in low down torque, but that's not too much of an issue around town. It's also much smoother and quieter than the diesel. Plus of course it's cheaper.
Surprisingly there's no 1.6 TDI engine in the Q3 range - odd given how economical it is in other Audi models - so that leaves the 2.0 TDI. Most versions are the 150PS which provides more than enough pulling power thanks to 340Nm of torque. The 1.4 TFSI has 250Nm in comparison.
There's a sportier version of the TDI with 184PS which is considerably quicker but also more expensive. Unless you can get a deal or really want your Q3 to be quick, the 150PS version is more than adequate. It's also cheap to run with the most economical versions returning more than 62mpg, according to the official figures at least.
|1.4 TFSI||48–51 mpg||8.9–9.2 s||127–137 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI S tronic||46–49 mpg||8.6–9.2 s||134–145 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 140||54 mpg||9.9 s||137 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 140 quattro||48–50 mpg||8.2–9.9 s||149–156 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 140 quattro S tronic||49 mpg||9.9 s||152 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150||60–63 mpg||9.3–9.6 s||117–124 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150 quattro||52–63 mpg||9.0–9.6 s||117–140 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150 quattro S tronic||51–57 mpg||9.0–9.3 s||131–144 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 177||50–51 mpg||8.1–8.3 s||144–148 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 177 quattro||48–50 mpg||8.1–8.2 s||148–156 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 177 quattro S tronic||48 mpg||8.2 s||156 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 177 S tronic||48–50 mpg||8.1–8.2 s||148–156 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 184 quattro||50–53 mpg||7.6–7.9 s||138–148 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 184 quattro S tronic||50–54 mpg||7.6–7.9 s||136–146 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI 180 quattro S tronic||40–43 mpg||7.3–7.6 s||152–161 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI 211 quattro||37 mpg||6.9 s||179 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI quattro||37–39 mpg||7.8–8.2 s||174–179 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic||37 mpg||6.9–7.8 s||179 g/km|
|RS 2.5 TFSI 310||32 mpg||5.2 s||206 g/km|
|RS 2.5 TFSI 340||33 mpg||4.8 s||203–206 g/km|
|RS 2.5 TFSI Performance||33 mpg||4.4 s||203 g/km|
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.
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.
What have we been asked about the Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018)?
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