| Week at the Wheel | Audi Q3 TFSI |
Model tested: Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro SE
Pricing: £24,780 (£30,910 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door compact SUV
Rivals: BMW X1, Ford Kuga, Skoda Yeti
CO2 emissions: 174g/km
Combined economy: 38.7mpg
Top speed: 132mph
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Power: 170hp at 4,300rpm
Torque: 280Nm at 1,700rpm
Inside & Out:
It looks like the Q5, only smaller, which is probably the very idea that Audi had from the start; after all, the Q3's bigger brother isn't exactly unpopular with school-run mothers. The proportions do suffer a little though, with the front-end in particular looking a little pinched, despite the eye-catching lights and deep grille.
The interios fares a little better with inspiration coming from across the rest of the range, and feeling no worse off for it. Everything is impeccably made and from the driver's seat the cabin feels every inch as expensive as the list price would suggest. Don't expect the Q3 to be a cavernous family carrier though; for a growing family Audi's baby off-roader would be a little tight.
Ride & Handling:
Audi may be the daddy of four-wheel drive but only where tarmac and gravel are concerned - the Q3 was not built for the tough rigours of off-road challenges. For most the extra ground clearance and electronic aids will be enough to help with the muddy tracks and snow-covered routes it'll likely see.
It's on the road manners that count in this segment though, and that is where the Q3 scores its best - offering a refined and quiet cabin no matter the speed. The suspension does err on the side of firm (not helped by our test example's 18-inch alloys), but overall there's little to complain about with the ride.
In fact the Audi Q3 even feels nimble on twisty roads and the high-seating position helps with your view forward on hedge-lined lanes. If only the light steering was more communicative the Q3 would be a force to be reckoned with on the open road.
Engine & Transmission:
Audi has a long tradition with turbocharged petrol engines mated to its quattro four-wheel drive system - dating right back to the ür-Quattro of 1980. However, times have changed and the Q3 is no performance flagship, instead meant for tackling grocery shopping and family outings at the weekend.
Which is where a diesel engine would make more sense - both for economy and real-world performance. You have to work the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit hard, despite its headline 280Nm supposedly being available at 1,700rpm. It certainly never feels as quick as the quoted 8.2-second 0-62mph time would suggest. At least the light six-speed manual gearbox makes swapping cogs easy.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money:
The 2.0 TFSI quattro SE model tested here starts at £24,780, but as ever it is easy to get carried away with the options, bumping that price up rather considerably - as evidenced by our car's £6,170 of extras. Still, official combined economy of 38.7mpg is good (though we doubt you'll see that in day-to-day use) and even the CO2
emissions are acceptable - though the diesel models better both of these comfortably. At least buyers can relax safe in the knowledge that the Q3 will retain its value better than many of its rivals.