Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) Review

Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) At A Glance

3/5

+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 82% 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)

RealMPG

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

82%

Real MPG

24–56 mpg

MPGs submitted

362

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

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
Cam belt change on Audi Q3 - do I need to replace the water pump at the same time?
"I've just had the cam belt changed on my (2015) Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic. Should the water pump have been replaced at the same time? My local garage has told me that this Audi model uses an electrical water pump and it doesn’t need changed."
I think the garage is wrong on this occasion. According to Audi, the pump on this model is electronically regulated (a sleeve over the pump's impellor activated by a solenoid) for targeted temperature regulation. However, the basic principle of the pump remains the same as traditionally used - driven by the cam belt - which means it should be replaced at the same time as the belt and tensioner.
Answered by Dan Powell
Does my car need a new timing belt after five years?
"My local Audi dealership wants to change my Q3 timing belt at five years. It has only done 29k miles. Surely the belt is dependent on miles rather than time. I was thinking of about 40k miles? Do you agree?"
VWG is imposing variously a five-year rule on some timing belts and a four-year rule on the belts in 1.0 TSI and 1.4 TSI petrol engines. We say timing belt engines need a replacement timing belt, tensioner, waterpump and aux belt every five years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first unless manufacturers stipulate an earlier change, which they may do in contravention of whatever was originally written in the service book.
Answered by Honest John
What is causing wheel judder on my car when pulling out of junctions?
"I own an Audi Q3 and there is slight wheel spin causing judder when setting off or turning out of junctions - but not all the time. Is it something to do with quattro 4 wheel drive or S tronic Gearbox?"
It might be caused by a disparity between the tyres of more than 3mm. The quattro system interprets this as slippage and compensates. However, if the S tronic transmission and the Haldex clutch of the quattro system have not been serviced with an oil change, that is probably the reason and they need a service.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018) cost?

Buy new from £25,421 (list price from £29,920)