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- Highs Mini-Q8 looks, contemporary tech features, well-honed road manners.
- Lows Rear-seat riders will feel pinched, noticeable turbo lag, less cargo space than key rivals.
- Verdict If you shrunk a Q8 by half, you’d wind up with the Q3—meaning, it offers similar road manners and interior ambiance to its larger Audi stablemates.
The 2023 Audi Q3 looks like a scaled down Q8, and what you see is a good indication of what you get. The littler Q offers all the hallmark traits of its larger Audi siblings—it’s attractive, modern, classy, and well-built—in a compact package. All-wheel drive is standard and every Q3 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder; the base 40 model gets a 184-hp mill while the higher-spec 45 is motivated by 228 horses. Handling is nimble and performance is decent—at least with the more powerful engine. The Q3’s cabin isn’t as spacious or as practical as the BMW X1’s. And compared to the car-like Mercedes-Benz GLA-class, one of the Q3’s other serious rivals, the little Audi looks and feels more like an SUV. And SUV-ness is what you buy an SUV for, right? Like those two competitors, the Q3 offers many contemporary technology features, including a digital gauge display, touchscreen infotainment, and a host of driver-assists. But the best news is that the Q3 feels and drives like you’d expect an Audi to.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
All Q3 models receive standard LED headlamps for the 2023 model year. The optional wireless smartphone charging pad has been redesigned but remains in its usual location on the center console. Three new wheel designs spruce up the Q3’s exterior, and the Black Optic package is now available on the Premium 40 model.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Although it's the most expensive model, the Premium Plus trim still represents the best buy in the Q3 lineup. Its relatively affordable price tag equips it with many desirable features, including a wireless smartphone charging pad, blind-spot monitoring, passive entry with push-button start, and adaptive cruise control. We'd also suggest the aforementioned Technology package, which unlocks the coolest tech features Audi has to offer. We'd also choose the more powerful 45 model.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Q3 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes either 184- or 228-hp; either way it comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. In our time behind the wheel of a Q3 with the more potent of the two engines, we noted that the engine provided ample power, but our test vehicle wasn't as quick as some rivals, and we noticed a delay between our right foot's action and the engine's response (read: turbo lag). Still, its transmission shifted smoothly during normal operation and provided sportier reactions when shifted into S mode. Thankfully, its suspension damped out all but the harshest road imperfections. Direct steering with a light-to-the-touch feel gives the Q3 a sense of agility. The little SUV also moves with the same grace as its larger siblings when pitched down a twisty section of road.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the Q3 40 will deliver up to 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are similar to rivals such as the X1 and Volvo XC40. The Q3 45 is rated for 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, but when we ran one on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route it earned 31 mpg. For more information about the Q3's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Q3's cabin addresses all of our complaints about that of the outgoing model, with a much improved driving position, a user-friendly layout of its controls, and finer materials. Its standout standard features include a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats with eight-way power adjustments and lumbar support for the driver. More luxurious options include ambient interior lighting, a fully digital gauge cluster, and contrasting microsuede on the dashboard and doors. The cabin is also more spacious than the previous model, but its back seat still lacks sufficient legroom to keep adults comfortable on long slogs. We managed to fit six carry-on suitcases in the cargo area and another 12 bags with the rear seats folded. Those are both less than we fit in the X1 but on par with the Jaguar E-Pace.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Audi equips most Q3 models with an 8.8-inch touchscreen MMI infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 10.1-inch touchscreen is also available with the same content. We found the interface to be attractive and mostly easy to operate due to its large icons and haptic feedback. However, its low position on the dashboard can be distracting. Top options include SiriusXM satellite radio, wireless charging, and a 15-speaker, 680-watt Sonos stereo system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Q3 offers a wide range of driver-assistance technology, such as automatic high-beam headlights and automated emergency braking. For more information about the Q3's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2019 Audi Q3
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$44,990 (base price: $35,695)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
121 cu in, 1984 cc
228 hp @ 5000 rpm
258 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.4-in vented disc/12.2-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S005, 255/40R-20 101Y AO
Wheelbase: 105.5 in
Length: 176.6 in
Width: 72.8 in
Height: 64.1 in
Passenger volume: 94 cu ft
Cargo volume: 24 cu ft
Curb weight: 3915 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 7.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 19.3 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 34.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.7 sec @ 91 mph
Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 160 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91 g
Observed: 21 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 22/19/27 mpg