SUV Overview: 2016 Audi Q3


Audi’s luxurious compact crossover takes the ache out of getting misplaced in Ontario cottage nation

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I’d be hard-pressed to think about a extra appropriate automobile than this one for circumnavigating the prosperous Muskoka space of Ontario, en path to a good friend’s rustic hideaway.

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Audi‘s Q3 has sufficient panache to sail rightfully by these unique rock-cut roadways, but with a profile low sufficient to take action with out attracting consideration. The smallest of Audi’s sport-utility lineup, the Q3 is the German automaker’s entry into the fast-growing, premium compact crossover phase. It’s a market that’s proven explosive progress previously couple of years. The place Canadians as soon as demanded giant SUVs, they’re slowly coming round to Europe’s lengthy acceptance that good issues can certainly are available in smaller packages. And who amongst us actually wants a hulking crossover? These wishing for a bit extra headroom and utility now not must upsize to a bigger automobile – the compact crossover presents each.

The Q3 solely arrived right here in North America a scant yr in the past, and already it has undergone a refresh for 2016. The modifications embody a sharper “singleframe” grille connecting the xenon headlamps, new LEDs, new sequential taillights and a brand new diffuser-style rear fascia that helps intensify the width of the Q3’s haunches. Whereas it has a barely extra targeted define, the impact continues to be subdued reasonably than flashy.

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Inside, the cabin displays the everyday Audi atmosphere – which often favours black, and plenty of it. After all, Audi being one of many benchmarks for inside craftsmanship, all supplies used are of top of the range and present nice consideration to element and craftsmanship. For a visit to cottage nation and all that entails, black and charcoal carpeting wasn’t precisely ideally suited. However given the everyday uptown vary of most of its demographic, the Q3’s subdued cockpit was eminently appropriate and really properly appointed.

My tester, in top-of-the-line Technik trim, had the ramped-up lashings of athleticism offered by the non-obligatory Sport Bundle – a formidable guidelines of options similar to MMI infotainment system with voice management, rearview digital camera, energy liftgate, facet help, panoramic sunroof and 12-way adjustable energy seats with four-way energy lumbar and warmth. My tester featured the S Line sport suspension with Audi Drive Choose, which has three settings: Consolation, Auto and Dynamic. Though it’s obtainable with front-wheel drive, most Q3 clients will go for Audi’s a lot lauded Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

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Suffice it to say this specific Q3 had luxurious sufficient to endure a four-hour highway journey that had unexpectedly develop into seven, all whereas accompanied by a vocally protesting Siamese cat. I assume I forgot to say that this spontaneously accepted invitation was graciously prolonged by good friend and Driving.ca colleague Lorraine Sommerfeld – offered I introduced the cat. Type of a de facto “Travelling with Cats” sequel to her hilariously aborted try and introduce cottage life to new kittens. After 20 minutes of swiftly flung clothes, rapidly gathered cat accoutrements and one startled (and suspicious) cat, “Weenie” and I have been on our method.

2016 Audi Q3
2016 Audi Q3

The Q3’s extra compact measurement could have earned it some criticism for its meagre cargo capability, however I had no downside manoeuvering an outsized kitty-crate onto the again seats with out resorting to folding them down. If I had, the rear house would have expanded to 1,365 litres from 460, and will most likely have swallowed a big canine, too – a reality I didn’t actually need to dwell upon.

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Rear cargo loading is made simple at this trim stage, with the addition of a key fob–operated energy liftgate.

Choosing the extra picturesque route alongside the shore of Lake Couchiching, reasonably than the crazed vacation chaos of the 400 freeway, we had a reasonably peaceable first leg as soon as I found the Bose sound system’s lively cat-noise cancellation frequency.

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The Q3 feels extra wagon than crossover in character, with little or no lean or roll. Like most Audis, there’s a excessive stage of sound deadening, with a soothing sense of calm within the quiet cabin. This was largely additionally due to the truth that the cat had lastly gone to sleep after deciding that his finest Linda Blair impression (fortunately, minus the puke) was touchdown upon unappreciative ears.

As we received deeper into the Canadian defend, with its rugged rock formations and towering stands of windswept, Group-of-Seven pine, I left the week’s stress additional behind. Serpentine loops of forested highway beckoned and we swung backward and forward in hypnotic rhythm. With “Dynamic Mode” engaged, the Q3 turns into firmer and extra responsive, however with out the razor-sharp frenetic vitality of the extra extremely tuned RS-badged autos in Audi’s lineup. For this journey’s objective, it was simply the proper stability. There’s just one engine alternative obtainable to us right here in North America, and whereas the 200 horsepower output could not impress lovers, its available torque (207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,700 rpm) makes the Q3 really feel sooner than it truly is.

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Driving briskly sends the Q3’s gas consumption up accordingly, however for many of the drive it hovered across the 8.9 L/100 km mark – not dangerous for an all-wheel-drive automobile.

2016 Audi Q3
2016 Audi Q3

With minimal gentle air pollution to mar the deepening twilight, the celebs overhead have been pinpricks of crystalline readability. At times, the deep blackness was interrupted by a shimmering strip of lake glimpsed by the timber, however in any other case, the one view was the gray strip of highway unfurling forward.

Now, my pricey good friend Lorraine’s cottage is the quintessential author’s hideout – in the event you don’t know the place it’s, there’s completely no likelihood you’ll ever discover it. I needed to recalculate my route after an sudden detour, however regardless of the utter blackness of our environment, I had confidence within the Q3’s navigation system to maintain me pointed in the proper course. Veering off onto smaller routes would most likely show disastrous, as a lot of them simply don’t exist on satellite tv for pc mapping.

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We have been making good time, regardless of the lakeside detour and a few pit stops. Finally an indication appeared, 5 km forward was a village way-stop after which there was a protracted, winding unmarked highway resulting in our vacation spot.

2016 Audi Q3
2016 Audi Q3

Alas, two kilometres later we confronted a highway block. The bridge was out – a non-negotiable deadlock.

There was nothing to do however backtrack. Utilizing the Q3’s navigation system, it was clear to see that the rugged pre-Cambrian rock partitions with thick forest on one facet, and a big physique of water on the opposite, supplied no alternate route. I needed to go across the lake, utilizing roads that may’t be programmed into the system.

I’ve by no means been so grateful for the superb attain of fine LED headlamps and all-wheel-drive composure on roads that give option to hard-scrabble with out warning. After greater than an hour by the forested labyrinth, we rolled down a slender highway – extra like a dust path – right into a small clearing and glimpsed welcoming gentle by the timber.

Regardless of our lengthy journey, we arrived in a single piece with spirits intact. And we even managed to maintain the Q3’s inside blessedly free from any noxious feline eruptions, give or take a little bit of cat hair.

2016 Audi Q3
2016 Audi Q3

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