2016 Audi Q3 Quattro evaluate: Audi’s Q3 is a stable performer dealing with very stiff competitors

Nevertheless, it would not dwell in a vacuum — most drivers do not make purchases with out additionally testing out the competitors, and my analysis of the Q3 got here proper on the heels of an journey within the wonderful and all-new 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i. So on the finish of a really pleasurable week with the Audi, I am unable to assist however take into consideration the entire small ways in which it falls in need of the competitors.

2.0 turbo Quattro

The Audi Q3 shouldn’t be wanting for energy; the two.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that lives beneath its hood makes a acknowledged 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. That is, basically, the identical powertrain that lives beneath the hood of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, however with a tune centered on effectivity, quite than all-out efficiency. Nevertheless, when outfitted with its optionally available Quattro all-wheel drive system and customary six-speed automated transmission, the Q3 is a few 700 kilos heavier than a GTI, which you are feeling as a slight lag when accelerating.

2016 Audi Q3 quattro

Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine boasts 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.

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You additionally really feel the burden when altering route, however solely simply. The Audi feels properly planted when rounding a bend or off-ramp, however there is a particular lack of really feel by means of each the seat and the wheel. Now clearly, I do not count on the Q3 — a compact crossover — to spherical bends like a sports activities automotive, and a little bit of softness to the suspension and top-heaviness to the experience is forgivable.

Our Q3 was outfitted with a Sport package deal that provides bigger wheels, sport styling bits inside and outside and — most apparently — a Drive Mode Choose button that permits the Q3’s pilot to toggle between Dynamic, Sport and Auto drive modes. Sadly, all three of those modes really feel largely an identical. Any modifications to steering really feel or throttle response had been principally undetectable, which is a disgrace. The automated transmission, alternatively, has a Sport program of its personal, which does brighten up the throttle response by holding decrease gears, conserving the engine RPMs ups and sustaining the turbo in a primed state.

Going quick within the Q3 requires changing into extra affected person with the crossover, smoother with the inputs. If I needed a surge of acceleration, I might merely need to hold my foot planted and look forward to the turbo to surge — not leap — into motion. The Q3 likes lengthy, sweeping turns, the place it may possibly settle its mass between transitions and grip. I could not simply chuck the Audi right into a nook like I might the Mazda CX-3 or BMW X1.

Within the Quattro configuration, the EPA reckons on 23 mixed miles per gallon (which breaks out to twenty metropolis and 28 freeway), which is pretty environment friendly, however not what I might name thrifty. The numbers are principally the identical for front-wheel drive Q3s, gaining solely a single freeway mpg.

For comparability sake, Audi’s personal considerably bigger 2016 Q5 2.0T has EPA numbers an identical to the Q3’s. Again on this class, the 2016 BMW X1 can be powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four that makes 28 extra horsepower and 51 extra pound-feet of peak torque, and the Bimmer bests the Audi’s mixed mpg by 4 miles — nonetheless not an enormous quantity, however each benefit counts on this fiercely contested section.

Premium cabin

Inside, the Q3 beneficial properties floor on the BMW and the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 with its wonderful tech, premium design and quiet building. The Audi does a superb job isolating its occupants from street and engine noise and has a comfy, inoffensive design that’s less complicated and extra timeless than what Benz and BMW are doing with their cabins.

2016 Audi Q3 quattro

Audi’s cabin options an understated design and premium building.

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A part of the explanation the Audi’s cabin feels so cozy is that it is plainly smaller than the competitors’s, with a noticeably much less area for cargo and souls than the BMW X1 and Benz GLA250. That is shocking, as a result of the Audi definitely seems to be bigger than the competitors when considered alone; the phantasm is shattered when the fashions are lined up in a parking zone.

Measurement would not matter in terms of tech, and the Audi packs in a superb assortment of ordinary and optionally available gizmos that assist justify its sticker value. Our Q3 Status leads with full LED headlamps — a trademark of Audi design — and winds up with facilities comparable to an influence rear hatch.

Within the driver-aid tech division, the Audi Q3 is rocking an optionally available blind-spot monitoring system and a rear digital camera with park-assist proximity detection, however missing a few of the extra superior options (adaptive cruise management, semi-automatic parking, lane-keep help) discovered elsewhere in Audi’s lineup.

The dashboard tech, usually a excessive level for Audi, is a little bit of a blended bag. What I really like is Audi’s MMI software program and {hardware}; their snappy response to inputs, crisp visuals, and well organized menus. What I do not like is the dashboard-mounted MMI management financial institution, which is each extra awkward to succeed in and extra unfold out and tough to make use of than the console-mounted MMI controller that I’ve grown used to in Audi’s different autos.

I am additionally nonetheless not a fan of Audi’s proprietary MMI connection level, which requires the driving force to swap pigtails to attach USB, Lightning, Apple 30-pin or analog auxiliary connection. For households that use a number of units, a easy USB looks like the most effective answer.

2016 Audi Q3 quattro

The MMI connection is an inconvenience to households that use a number of units. I might favor a plain USB port.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Stiff competitors

The 2016 Aud Q3 begins at $33,700 for the entrance wheel drive Premium Plus mannequin, however bumps as much as $41,825 as examined for our Status Quattro mannequin with its $550 sport package deal, $575 Mythos Black Metallic paint and vacation spot prices.

Within the UK and in Australia, the crossover begins at £25,650 and AU$42,900, respectively, for his or her entry level 1.4-liter turbo engines. A 2.0-liter turbo mannequin in these markets jumps as much as £29,045 and AU$52,300 beginning costs.

In comparison with final yr’s rather more compact BMW X1 and even the present Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Q3 looks like a fairly whole lot. However the competitors is at all times evolving, and I believe a brand new Q3 proprietor can be feeling only a trace of purchaser’s regret when the extra spacious, extra highly effective, extra environment friendly (and, admittedly, dearer) 2016 BMW X1 pulls into their neighbor’s driveway.

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