SUV Evaluate: 2017 Audi Q3 Quattro Technik


Now that BMW has deserted its pretense of being the last word driving machine, Audi is beginning to look significantly better compared

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Sedans are useless, shunned, say the analysts, for the compact crossovers that at the moment are the buyer’s darling. Whether or not or not it’s Toyota or BMW, GM or Mercedes-Benz, sedan gross sales are struggling and jacked-up station wagons ascendant. Mazda Canada was as soon as nearly completely depending on the Mazda3 to fulfill its Japanese company masters; now, the Mazda CX-5 crossover outsells the sedan/hatchback in a number of markets. The RAV4 is turning into crucial car Toyota makes; ditto, the CR-V for Honda and the Sportage for Kia.

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The newest conquest on this burgeoning market is the luxurious model of those diminutive faux-by-faux (it shouldn’t be misplaced on anybody, I hope, that the section that started off because the down-and-dirty fisherman’s good friend has now devolved into look-a-likes based mostly on subcompact wagons lined, with leather-based that wouldn’t survive even a single journey into the wild). Luxurious automakers are usually not actually apprehensive that their flagship sedans now not have the presence amongst motoring’s elite; greater than filling the hole are the small SUVs they’re promoting to a proletariat very happy to have the better utility of an SUV at a finances that may get them the hood decoration they so relish. No, a compact sport-brute can’t match a flagship sedan within the pound-for-pound revenue sweepstakes, however promoting a boatload of them — 4,400 of them, as Mercedes-Benz Canada did (with the GLA) final yr — positive makes up in quantity what’s misplaced at school.

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Such is the hurry to money in on this market that there’s one thing of a rush to market. Certainly, Infiniti was so keen that it signed a cope with Mercedes to borrow its GLA {hardware}. Audi, as a substitute of ready for an all-new sport-brute earlier than launching in Canada, introduced its Q3 to market final yr after which barely months after it landed, provided up a mid-model refresh with a significant facelift. Thus armed does Audi go into battle in opposition to the BMW X1, GLA, Infiniti QX30 and even Lexus’s new NX.

And the Q3 greater than holds its personal. Oh, there are some tribulations. The Q3’s 2.0-litre inline-four, for example, just isn’t Audi’s newest TFSI motor — the newer A4 allroad Quattro model boasts 252 horsepower in contrast with the Q3’s 200 hp — however it’s greater than easy sufficient, torquey down low and will get honest fuel mileage.

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2017 Audi Q3
2017 Audi Q3

My long-term tester averaged 10.1 L/100 km of mixed freeway/city driving versus a ranking of 10.3, one of many few occasions a sport-utility — even a small one — has truly bettered its rated gasoline economic system. Certainly, the powertrain’s largest downside isn’t the motor however the transmission which, on the Q3, is an automated with however six speeds, eight seemingly the minimal as of late to be labeled as avant-garde, and 9 or 10 now required to be thought-about really class main.

As for the way a lot impact a brand new transmission might need, I think {that a} easy transmission improve would see the Q3’s gasoline economic system, each actual and rated, enhance. I’m undecided it could make a lot distinction to the Q3’s comportment, because the six-speed shifts easily and the engine is rarely uncivil; an eight-speed’s means to cut back the cruising revs by just a few hundred rpm wouldn’t essentially enhance issues a lot. Certainly, the Q3’s drivetrain could also be a bit dated; that doesn’t imply it feels unsophisticated.

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The identical carbon courting is seen within the Q3’s inside. It’s an older design, with extra buttonry than present Audi designs and not one of the TFT-screened Digital Cockpit design seen on extra not too long ago launched merchandise from Ingolstadt. However, let’s be clear; the Q3 nonetheless has all of Audi’s inside goodness — superior match, end and supplies — however it’s a goodness, just like the powertrain, that’s a bit dated. Nonetheless, all that’s required is current and accounted for: heated seats, an simply navigated, er, navigation system and a very good — although not fairly as glorious because the Bang & Olufsen — Bose audio system. Certainly, the a part of the inside I disliked probably the most — and it’s turning into frequent in an increasing number of Audis — was not for lack of modernity, however the truth that the MMI display is mounted upright atop the dashboard reasonably than in it. Or, as was the Audi norm, coming out of the dashboard when the engine is began. Mercedes began this pattern of fixed-atop-the-dashboard LCD screens; I want Audi hadn’t copied them. All that mentioned, the MMI is a doddle to make use of even when having its principal controller situated on the dashboard, reasonably than within the centre console as newer Audis do, isn’t fairly as handy. Rounding off the inside goodness, the entrance seats are pleasantly agency, headroom is plentiful (although legroom within the rear is tight) and Q3 homeowners will get pleasure from a cargo capability — 48.2 cubic ft with each rear seats folded flat — the envy of its friends.

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Although the Q3 is offered in front-wheel-drive format (although FWD accounts for however a small portion of Q3 gross sales), Audi’s forte is all-wheel drive and the Q3 isn’t any exception. Although it makes use of the older model of Quattro — newer variations are fully pc managed — the Q3 is a mannequin of tractive means. The east coast’s latest ice storm — extreme sufficient to all however shut Toronto’s Pearson airport — didn’t problem it. Whereas lesser vehicles didn’t dare the roads, the Q3 sailed on undaunted. Although mechanical AWD methods are prone to go the best way of the dodo hen — not with the ability to fully disengage when unneeded provides friction to the driveline in contrast with the fully disconnectable selection — there’s nothing inferior about their means to achieve traction on slippery roads.

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That sense of safety is bolstered by the Q3’s glorious dealing with. Now that BMW has deserted its pretense of being the last word driving machine, Audi is beginning to look significantly better compared. Actually, the Q3 pretty hugs the highway, icy or not. Certainly, on dry pavement — sure, I discovered some in the course of an Ontario winter — the little sport-cute steers with a precision that was the only real purview of BMWs; exacting, well-weighted and with loads of suggestions. That mentioned, the penalty is one thing of a tough journey, even when the suspension is about to its Consolation setting. That mentioned, the stiffness is probably the results of my tester being outfitted with Audi’s elective sportier S-line’s suspension.

In the long run, avant-garde or not, there’s nothing improper with the Audi, not less than in contrast with its competitors. Which may be as a result of the entire section is a bit flawed, however the Q3 is nonetheless a pleasure to drive. If this luxurious subcompact ute factor has legs — and their recognition exhibits no signal of abating — I count on the following technology of premium sport-cutes to be much more developed. For the Q3, when the second technology does arrive on our shores, we’ll see Audi’s newest Extremely quattro system, extra horsepower, higher gasoline economic system and an much more trendy inside. I doubt, nonetheless, they’ll enhance on its high quality.

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