Generally luxurious isn’t about having essentially the most extravagant or distinctive function however as an alternative is established by delivering the identical facilities, high quality and expertise as bigger, dearer fashions in a model’s lineup. That’s what the redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 subcompact luxurious SUV does, placing Audi’s smallest SUV in place to tackle class newcomers just like the Volvo XC40 and Lexus UX. At Audi’s invitation we traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to see what the brand new Q3 is prefer to drive. (Per our ethics coverage, Automobiles.com pays for its personal airfare and lodging at such automaker-sponsored occasions.)
Associated: Right here’s Every thing We Know Concerning the New Audi Q3
Bigger than its predecessor in all key measurements, the Q3 comes customary with all-wheel drive and a 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that works with an eight-speed automated transmission. It went on sale earlier this month with a beginning value of $35,695, together with a $995 vacation spot cost. I examined a Q3 S Line Premium Plus mannequin with an as-tested value of $43,295.
Highly effective Sufficient
The Q3’s drivetrain makes respectable energy that’s ok to forestall the SUV from feeling sluggish, however it’s not sturdy sufficient to make the Q3 really feel fast. The T5 model of the XC40 and the BMW X2, by comparability, ship gutsier acceleration whereas the UX 200 feels the slowest of the group.
Serving to the Q3 significantly is its responsive automated transmission; the gearbox willingly kicks down below half and full throttle to benefit from the engine’s energy, and the transmission makes clean, predictable shifts.
Audi Drive Choose is customary and consists of 5 selectable driving modes: Consolation, Auto, Dynamic, Particular person and Off-Street. The Consolation setting doesn’t assist the drivetrain’s trigger; gasoline pedal response is lazy, which makes the modestly powered four-cylinder appear much more torpid. Choosing the Sport setting, nevertheless, heightens gasoline pedal response with out making it really feel too jumpy.
The EPA charges the Q3 at 19/27/22 mpg metropolis/freeway/mixed, which trails comparable variations of the BMW X1 (25 mpg mixed) and XC40 (26 mpg mixed). The UX 200, which comes solely with front-wheel drive, is method in entrance with a score of 33 mpg mixed. The Q3 does take common gasoline, which is one thing of an equalizer in line with the EPA’s fuel-cost estimates (the X1 and XC40 use premium).
Many small SUVs aren’t that pleasing to drive on the freeway, however the Q3 doesn’t fall into that camp. It’s steady and poised with the confidence-inspiring really feel of a bigger automobile. Gentle-effort steering is direct and exact, which provides to the Q3’s freeway manners. Get above 65 mph, nevertheless, and wind and street noise intrude.
All Q3s have a set suspension, however the SUV comes with a alternative of wheels: customary 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, accessible 19-inch wheels with all-seasons or 20-inch wheels with summer season tires. Our Q3 had the 19-inch wheels, and the largely clean roads and highways in and round Nashville didn’t do quite a bit to check the setup’s trip consolation. Nonetheless, the few stretches of tough pavement we did encounter produced a agency, bumpy trip.
The Q3 didn’t a lot look after the winding nation roads that made up most of our route. Tossing it right into a nook induced average physique roll, however worse than that exposed the SUV’s nose-heavy really feel. In contrast to the X2, the Q3 doesn’t urge you to drive quicker. Choosing Sport mode tightens the steering a bit, which improves cornering really feel, however it doesn’t change the sense that the Q3 is extra at residence cruising on the freeway than tackling backroads.
The Q3’s cabin doesn’t break any new floor from a design or expertise standpoint, however it’s profitable as a result of it feels simply as good because the interiors of Audi’s compact Q5 and three-row Q7 SUVs. There are a couple of areas which have barely lower-grade trim, just like the slab of plastic the place the middle console meets the dashboard, however the supplies and controls in any other case feel and look as good as what’s within the Q3’s bigger siblings.
The defining parts of the Q3’s cabin are its digital instrument cluster and heart touchscreen, each of that are customary. A $2,000 Navigation Bundle upsizes each screens and provides Audi’s Digital Cockpit expertise. Digital Cockpit helps you to customise the looks of the cluster and brings Google Maps satellite tv for pc imagery to the instrument panel. Different customary options embody Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, dual-zone automated air-con, a panoramic moonroof and an influence liftgate.
Heated leather-based entrance bucket seats are additionally customary, they usually have been snug for a day of driving. The aspect bolsters of the common seats don’t do a lot to carry you in place in corners, however the Q3 S Line’s accessible Sport Inside Bundle consists of sport seats with extra substantial aspect bolsters.
The Q3’s backseat is extra snug than you may count on. The 40/20/40-split bench seat slides ahead and backward, and the backrest reclines. Headroom is nice, and the panoramic moonroof helps the house really feel airier.
Within the Market
Luxurious manufacturers have lengthy used compact sedans to courtroom new patrons, however in a market revolving increasingly more round SUVs, it’s fashions just like the Q3 that’ll more and more turn into shoppers’ introduction to luxurious manufacturers. For Audi, the brand new Q3 makes first impression general, and it ought to enchantment to each first-time luxurious patrons and customers desirous to downsize from a bigger luxurious automobile.
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