New car test drive

Audi Q3 test drive

The SUV market is one of the most competitive around, and Audi has updated its Q3 to keep up with it rivals

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What is it?

The UK’s car buying community is gobbling up compact SUVs at a fearsome rate, with the likes of the Volvo XC40 and Jaguar E-Pace showing that people really do like a premium badge and a high ride height more than most things.

It’s why this new Q3 is so crucial to Audi, as it’s an offering in a drastically-growing segment that shows no sign of slowing down

This is the first time we’ve got behind the wheel in the UK, and we’re testing it in mid-range S Line trim.

What’s new about the new Audi Q3?

There’s a fair amount going on here. The looks, for one, have been overhauled compared to the older Q3 – gone is the soft, rounded appearance in favour of a more imposing and, well, Audi-ish design.

It’s the same story inside, with Audi applying all of its latest tech in pursuit of a genuinely upmarket cabin.

A variety of new engines are available, and though it’s just petrol offerings to begin with, there will be diesel options arriving shortly. There’s the choice of either two- or four-wheel-drive, as well. It means that, in reality, there should be a powertrain option for everyone.

How does it look?

   

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The design of the new Q3 is far more dramatic than the car it replaces. The front end is in-your-face and hard to miss; it’s closer in line with the likes of the larger Q7 and Q8 models now.

The chrome surrounds to the grille and vents up front give it a classier, more upmarket appearance, while sharper design lines on the flanks make it appear far wider than it actually is. It’s a solid design, and likely one which will find favour with most.

Our test car sits on larger 19-inch wheels and though they do look good, the smaller 18-inch versions don’t dent the car’s overall appearance that much either.

What’s the spec like?

Three trim levels are available with the Q3 from launch; Sport, S Line and range-topping Vorsprung Edition.

Our test car fell into the middle camp, and Audi slates it as the one which most buyers will opt for. It packs 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, along with a full sports exterior styling package, LED headlights and tinted windows.

You also get sports seats, finished in a mixture of cloth and leather upholstery, and a multifunction sports steering wheel too.

As mentioned, the standard infotainment system not only looks good, but is decidedly brilliant to use too. It’s easy to navigate and responsive to commands as well.

We’re glad there’s still a conventional analogue volume dial to use, but it’s been placed in an odd area – you’ll find it on the left-hand side of the dash underneath the heating and ventilation controls, pretty much as far away from the driver as possible.

Continued on next page: Interior, drive and our verdict

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Jack Evans
Jack Evans
Articles by Jack Evans are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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