The saying “ good things come in small packages” was originally meant to allow women to understand that priceless jewelry would be delivered in small packages but were some of the greatest gifts they would ever receive. The same holds true for the all new Audi Q3 which is the smallest among the Q line of SUV’s and enters the automotive world in the luxury compact SUV segment. Now owners can have a great luxury SUV in a size that is easy to drive, park and makes quick work of weaving in and out of traffic.
While the Q3 doesn’t have the fuel efficiency of the BMW X1, it offers a fresh new look at the compact luxury SUV market. Built to compete with the X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Q3 offers a low price option in a luxury world where the prices are usually out of realm of regular budgets. The price of the Q3 shows up at a level that is not much more than a loaded Honda CR-V. For this price not only will an owner get a great luxury SUV full of awesome equipment but be able to enjoy the dynamic and sophisticated ride quality and design of an Audi vehicle.
The drive in the Q3 shows up with a solid split between a stiff riding vehicle and one that supplies ample comfort from any seat in the vehicle. The Q3 carries in a finely tuned suspension that confidently handles any and all road defects along with offering the ability to take on canyon runs at higher speeds and not experience any body sway. The steering is weighted so well passengers barely feel the turning and the responsiveness allows drivers to be fully confident the Q3 will turn well when needed. As a luxury vehicle, a quiet cabin is fully expected and received, making it easy for owners to enjoy the commute in serene silence or take part in their own version of a karaoke bar right inside this SUV.
Of course, no Audi would be complete without touting the signature Quattro All- Wheel Drive system which has been known to be one of the very best on the market. Only Subaru is better known for their all-wheel drive and the one that is offered on just about every Audi in the lineup offers much better driving control on slippery road, in snow, or even for a vehicle that might take to some light trails in the future.
As a smaller SUV, Audi chose to put only one engine in the compartment of the Q3. The engine chosen does a marvelous job of taking care of this little luxury SUV and allows owners to enjoy at least reasonable fuel efficiency. The engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine which puts out 200 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. The only transmission used is a dynamic six-speed automatic that helps bring the fuel mileage in at 20 city/29 hwy mpg for the front-wheel drive version and 20 city/28 hwy mpg for the model powered by the Quattro All-Wheel Drive system.
With seating for up to five in the Q3, the SUV offers a cabin that appears more spacious on the inside than from the outside. As generally the rule with Audi, the interior is somewhat understated, but comfortable and covered in soft and supple materials that offer supportive seating and a gently caress. The controls are all easy to use, although placed a little out of the ordinary, and offer plenty of great features for all inside the Q3 to take full advantage of on any ride making the journey as important as the destination.
On the outside, the Q3 offer the modern look of rounded lines from front to back and has a rather squat stance that borders on the stout and athletic. The curve from the hood to the roof is gentle and easy as is the curve across the back hatch that finished in beautifully sculpted rear taillights and a smooth finish at the rear bumper. The front fascia of the Q3 shows off a menacing look of a chrome plated grill that is flanked by two narrow headlights in a very angry and determined looking fashion. The wheels are set in a star pattern that is both enticing and alluring whether the vehicle is parked or driving down the road.
The Q3 shows up with a very nice list of standard features which are a placed nicely on the only two trims that are available. The base trim is called the Premium Plus and features leather upholstery, 12-way heated and power front seats, a 60/40 folding rear bench with a pass through armrest, dual zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, push button starting, bright xenon headlights a ten-speaker audio system with HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, an iPod integration and an SD card slot.
The optional features which can be found on the Q3 show up starting with the highly touted Quattro All-Wheel Drive system, the Driver Assistance Package which includes blind spot monitoring and a rearview camera. The higher trim of the Q3 is the Prestige model and this model adds a power tailgate, a navigation system with voice control, a 14-speaker Bose premium audio system, and the Sport Package which adds front sport seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and the Audi drive select to adjust the handling and responsiveness of the vehicle.
As one of the most reasonably priced luxury vehicles on the market the Audi Q3 shows up with a base price of $33,425 for the Premium Plus model in FWD. The Prestige starts its pricing at $37,325, which is still a very reasonable price point. The AWD will add an additional $2,100 to the price of either model and a fully loaded Prestige model will ask for a price that reaches just over the $40,000 mark. The Audi Q3 is a fantastic compact luxury SUV that is certainly a great thing that has come in a small package for owners to love.