Audi Q3 Estate Leasing

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Audi Q3

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Whatcar? Review

For

All engines in the Audi Q3 range provide smooth, strong performance. The ride is comfortable and the handling secure, while the cabin is smartly trimmed and feels like it's built to last. Running costs make encouraging reading, too.

Against

Some extras are on the pricey side and the large number of models in the Audi line up has had a negative effect on the Q3's resale values.

Summary

Underneath that rather mundane styling lies a decent car. All engines in the Audi Q3 range are strong and refined, the ride is comfortable and the upmarket cabin is hard to fault.

Performance

Petrol power consists of a turbocharged 1.4-litre (front-wheel drive only), a pair of turbocharged 2.0-litre units (four-wheel drive) and the 2.5-litre five-cylinder in the impressively rapid RS Q3. The 1.4 is strong and super-smooth, so we'd choose it over the more powerful but less efficient 2.0-litre engines. Of the two diesels (both of which are available with front- or four-wheel drive), the lower-powered unit is the best; it's pretty punchy and you rarely have to work it hard.

Ride & Handling

The gentle nature of the Q3’s suspension is certainly welcome in town, although things become a little less settled as speed increases. There’s plenty of grip and cornering body lean is pretty well controlled. Although the steering winds on and off smoothly there’s not a great deal of feel to help you plot an accurate course through bends.

Refinement

There’s more rattle from the diesel engines at tickover and under hard acceleration than the petrols, but it’s hardly irritating, and all the engines settle well on the motorway. You can hear the tyres growling a little, but wind noise rarely exceeds a murmur. The manual gearshift has a well-weighted, precise quality, while shifts from the S tronic gearbox are quick and smooth.

Buying & Owning

The Q3 is the most affordable way into an Audi Q car, and its relatively lightweight, efficient engines mean running costs are affordable; opting for two-wheel-drive versions more so. The large amount of models in the Audi line up has had a negative effect on all Audi’s resale values and the Q3’s is no exception, but haggle hard for a discount and the Q3 represents a safe bet.

Quality & Reliability

The Q3 might be the cheapest model in Audi’s Q car line-up, but there’s nothing second-rate about the quality of its interior. The dashboard and door panels are manufactured from dense, high-quality materials, while the smoothly weighted switchgear and MMI interface smack of real quality.

Safety & Security

The Q3 provides all the obvious safety equipment you’d expect: six airbags, including curtain bags that extend into the rear of the cabin; electronic stability control; and ISOFIX fittings for the front passenger and two outer rear seats. All this helped the car achieve a five-star crash rating from Euro NCAP. Deadlocks, locking wheelnuts and an alarm are also on hand to ward off thieves.

Behind The Wheel

The all-round visibility from the Audi Q3 is excellent compared with some more ‘style’-influenced rivals, and there’s a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustments to dial in the perfect driving position. The pedals are slightly offset, but nowhere near as bad as in some other Audis. The logical nature of the MMI system, which displays most infotainment options on a centrally mounted 6.5-inch screen, makes scrolling between menus simple.

Space & Practicality

Unquestionably, part of the Q3's appeal lies in the fact that you get those essential 4x4 looks but none of the drawbacks associated with big burly off-roaders. Those compact dimensions mean it’s easy to drive around town and slot into tight parking spots, but the downside is that interior space and luggage capacity aren’t any better than those of a small family hatchback.

Equipment

SE-spec Q3s come with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a digital radio, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers; that's pretty good for the money, so is what we'd go for. S line cars add sportier looks inside and out, 18-inch alloys, xenon headlights and part-leather sports seats. S line Plus models then get even larger alloys, sat-nav, leather and Alcantara upholstery, front parking sensors and cruise control, but they're expensive.