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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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Audi Q3 test drive 1
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What’s the Audi Q3 like inside?

2019 Audi Q3 test drive review - dashboard

Audi has worked hard to lift the overall perception of quality inside the Q3, and save for a few scratchy plastics lower down the cabin, it’s been wholeheartedly successful.

The dashboard has been trimmed in soft-touch plastics, and when coupled with plenty of brushed aluminium effect trim pieces makes for a decidedly premium-feeling place to be. It’s really very good.

A new widescreen infotainment system dominates the centre of the cabin, which when placed alongside Audi’s virtual cockpit gives the whole area a very high-tech appearance. Thankfully it all works brilliantly in addition to looking good.

There’s plenty of space in the back too, while the 530 litres of standard boot space is respectable. This can be extended by moving the rear seats forward (they can be pushed forward on rails), or by folding them down completely – boosting capacity up to 1,525 litres.

What’s under the bonnet?

Here, we’ve got a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet, driving 150 horses to the front wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox. There’s 250Nm of torque, too, and Audi claims that it helps to push the Q3 to 60mph in nine seconds and onwards to a top speed of 128mph.

   

In S-Line trim, the Q3 rides on 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, and that means it’ll return 48.7mpg combined, along with emissions of 133g/km of CO2. Drop an inch of wheel size, and economy figures remain unchanged, though emissions fall slightly to 131g/km. These are reasonable enough figures, and pretty much on par for the segment.

Our car also rode on standard steel springs, though these can be updated to adaptive versions as an optional extra, albeit one with a £750 premium. It’s worthwhile if you’re after the best ride quality possible, mind.

What’s the Audi Q3 like to drive?

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Let’s start with the fundamentals. The engine, which as we’ve mentioned produces 150hp, feels just about powerful enough for the job in hand – but on occasions, it feels just a touch breathless, particularly when overtaking or pulling on to a motorway.

Once you’re up to speed it’s smooth and refined, it’s just that initial take-off which can be a little troublesome. Likewise with the gearbox, which shifts sweetly when up and running, can be hesitant when pulling away from a dead stop – this is particularly noticeable on roundabouts.

Around town, the ride is a little susceptible to road imperfections, on occasions jiggling over larger bumps in the road when travelling at slower speeds. However, these iron out once you’re moving a little quicker.

Verdict

As we mentioned, the new Q3 falls into a heavily congested segment, one which its predecessor had nailed. This updated version, however, is likely to do just as well.

Slightly underpowered engine aside, this latest Q3 feels a resoundingly good product both inside and out. We’d opt for the slightly punchier petrol engine (or one of the diesels if you’re planning on travelling longer distances). With that bit of extra response under your right foot, you’ll find yourself in a car which is almost scarily well-rounded.

Similar cars

BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40

Key specifications

Model as tested: Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Line
Price (on-road): £37,565
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
0-60mph: 9.0 seconds
Fuel economy (combined): 47.9 mpg
CO2 emissions: 134 g/km (NEDC)*
*road tax is still determined by NEDC CO2 ratings until 2020

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

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