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New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none

Published:06 February 2019

New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • At a glance
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By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

► New Audi Q3 SUV driven
► Comfy, practical and robust...
► But there's not much imagination here 

Take one look at the Q3 and you’ll see Audi has decided to stick with its hand rather than gamble - its design won’t exactly upset the crossover status quo. It's a light update: so expect more angles than before, wheelarch bulges that are a nod to the original Quattro, a front grille big enough to swallow a house, scrolling LED lights front and rear, optional (and very cool) wheels from an RS6 Performance… we could go on.

This conservative approach makes sense though. More than 1.1 million Q3s have been sold so far since 2011; for perspective, Audi has only managed to flog around 600,000 TT coupes and roadsters since 1998. Why change a successful formula? 

Still, there are some tasty colours to brighten it up a bit – Turbo Blue and Pulse Orange (pictured) are particular favourites, although we’re pretty convinced few will choose the latter. Shame.

Is the new Audi Q3’s interior any different?

Modern Audi interiors are the same: almost all of them share a common parts bin – albeit a plentiful and well-made one – with some of the cars in Audi’s portfolio featuring different methods of how those bits are arranged. It’s a bit like Ready Steady Cook – remember that TV show? Chefs would be given the same ingredients but asked to put their own spin on it.

Audi Q3 interior UK

Virtual Cockpit is standard regardless of trim, one main touchscreen is also present (so half the A6, A7, A8 etc minus the haptic feedback), and you'll find lower switchgear from the new A1 and the climate control unit from the A3. Nothing ground-breaking, but it’s all inset in a well-built and roomy cockpit. Little details like a slim Alcantara finish that runs across the top of the dash are a cool addition, as are the rev and speedometers on the optional larger Virtual Cockpit that are little more than a graph line that rises and falls, like the dials on a Lamborghini Reventon.

It’s generously-equipped, too; entry-level Sport cars come with LED headlights, MMI Nav Pro, Virtual Cockpit and lane departure as standard. Step up to familiar S line and top-of-the-shelf Vorsprung spec for more kit.

Audi's new model numbers decoded

You mentioned it’s roomy inside?

Yup. The cabin in general is really airy, and the rear space has big windows, decent headroom and a slideable rear bench for if you want to prioritise rear passenger space or more room for your things in the boot.

With the seats slid all the way back, there’s 530 litres of boot volume (110 litres larger than the first Q3) and with the rear bench slid forward there’s up to 675 litres on offer – even more than the standard load bay of an A6 Avant.

Audi Q3 boot UK

What’s more, Audi’s designers are at pains to point out the built-in boot parcel shelf storage. Believe it or not, very few cars have this feature, and we can’t argue that not having to either a) leave the parcel shelf on the back seats or b) leave it at home and inevitably forget to put it back.

Is the engine and specs range confusing?

‘Fraid so. There are five engine choices spanning the three trim levels (with certain configurations being limited to certain specs), with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic gearbox and either front- or quattro all-wheel drive available. And worse, they're all in Audi's terrible new model code. It's so bad in fact, that we've written a guide to decipher it here. Here’s a quick run-down:

35 TFSI
1.5-litre 4cyl turbo with cylinder on-demand
148bhp
Front-wheel drive only, manual or S tronic

40 TFSI
2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
187bhp
Quattro only, S tronic only

45 TFSI
2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
227bhp
Quattro only, S tronic only

35 TDI
2.0-litre turbodiesel
147bhp
Front-wheel drive only, manual or S tronic

40 TDI
2.0-litre turbodiesel
187bhp
Quattro only, S tronic only

Audi believes UK buyers will go for the 35 TFSI engine more than any of the others. It’s smooth and incredibly quiet on the move and the cylinder de-activation tech will be a boon for urban drivers but you’ll be left wondering what thinners Audi’s engineers were huffing when they said it could get to 62mph in a wildly optimistic 9.2 seconds; it is SLOW.

Audi Q3 Uk rear tracking

We also tried the 45 TFSI, which certainly felt pokier and started up with a similar parp to a Golf GTI but it still wasn’t exactly earth-shattering. During our first drive, there was also a 40 TDI engine there, which had quite a slim torque band you have to regularly exploit. And it ain’t half gargly – even at motorway speeds, which will be a little irritating. Sixth gear in the manual felt a little short, so even at 70-ish miles per hour, there was a consistent grumble.

The good news is that all of the above engines are available in the UK, albeit mated to some slightly confusing gearbox and drive options. Some are dual-clutch only, some are all-wheel drive only... if we explained them all, we'd be here all week.

What about handling?

Very little interesting to write home about. The good bits included one of the least intrusive dual-clutch ‘boxes we’ve ever witnessed (although that doesn't exactly mean engaging), well-spaced pedals on the manual versions, a smooth manual shifter and a better-than-you-think ride even on larger wheels.

Audi Q3 badge

Optional adaptive dampers help, but only a tiny bit (and therefore not quite enough to really warrant paying extra for). The rest is just completely inoffensive; the steering’s a reminder of Audis of old; it feels super vague at times and requires more turn than necessary at lower speeds and the driving position is a little off for taller drivers, even with the multi-way electric seat option.

Audi Q3 (2019): verdict

If practicality and desirability are at the top of your agenda, the new Q3 will carry all of yout stuff/family/friends and look good in a modern yet reserved way while doing it.

The engine range ticks all the boxes. It drives pleasantly. It looks inoffensive and slots neatly into the updated, ever-growing Audi range.

Simply put the Audi Q3 is expertly meaured SUV from a company that already sells them by the shedload.  Few premium crossover buyers will care that it brings little to the party when it ticks off many of the basics with ease, but when rivals like the jazzy BMW X2 and even the now-dead first-generation Range Rover Evoque are so much better to drive and the Volvo XC40 does such a better job of being alternatively cool and supremely comfortable, the Q3 by comparison is just so… vanilla. 

Check out our Audi reviews

Specs

Price when new: £34,150
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1498cc 16v turbo 4cyl, 148bhp @ 5000rpm, 184lb ft @ 1500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
Performance: 9.2sec 0-62mph, 129mph, 49mpg (est), 135g/km (est)
Weight / material: 1570kg
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4484/1856/1576mm

Rivals

Other Models

Audi Q3 Cars for Sale

View all Audi Q3 Cars for Sale

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  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none
  • New Audi Q3 (2019) review: master of none

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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