It is okay when you don’t have an oligarchy, but it’s possible to drive the same type of car. This is how Audi sells its latest Q3, an impressive seven seats that offers far more technology than any other model.
The Audi Q3 diesel engine is perfectly matched to an eight speed automatic gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive, while opponents include the X5, Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90.
There’s no doubt, plenty of stability and the all-wheel drive system offers plenty of traction on greasy roads, but rated with the main opponents, like the BMW X5 or the Volvo XC90, the Q3 isn’t really fun to drive fast. The suspension allows for a bit of body bending through corners, making the Audi Q3 feel a bit heavy and unwieldy, while the E-Tron’s extra weight only exacerbates this. However, it is still much better than the Land Rover Discovery.
Audi Q3 is a whole fish special kettle. It has its own air suspension that features smart anti-roll bars that restrict body bend. For such a large thing, it stays extraordinarily erect in corners allowing you to cover the ground very quickly. At the moment, the steering is precise but very light, so while it’s fine for park workers at low speeds, it doesn’t encourage much confidence through high speed turns.
The current Audi Q3 is too new to be included in the JD premium customer satisfaction survey, but Audi as a product only managed an average score in 2014, ranking 12th out of 26 brands. It’s also worth noting that Audi’s warranty basically lasts for three years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first, while Mercedes and BMW advertise three year unlimited mileage warranties.
Another cautionary note we’ll make here is that Audi’s score on the Direct Warranty Reliability Index, which was formed based on actual warranty claims, is very low. In the Audi Q3’s top spec tests, a powerful Audi Q3 3.0 litre diesel engine managed 47.9 mpg, while the less capable version of the same engine achieved 52.3 mpg, better than any large, efficient seven seat 4×4 diesel engine.
Including the new Volvo XC90 (48.7 mpg) and the two-wheel drive version of the BMW X5 25d (50.4 mpg). However, do not hope for such high numbers in normal driving. Our testing saved about 35 mpg on a long route that included villages, towns and highways. The Q3 is an expensive car to buy or rent, although its CO2 emissions are competitive.
It’s certainly worth noting that CAP, which oversees residual values and operating costs, expects the XC90 to be slightly cheaper to operate, primarily because it costs less to buy. A diesel electric hybrid will be introduced in the line-up later in the year to use very similar models from BMW and Volvo in the battle to secure most of the company’s parking lot.
Audi has one trick in its sleeve that will make the Q3 even easier to drive, and that’s an optional all-wheel steering system, which gives smaller cornering at lower speeds and improved stability when travelling fast.
In fact, it’s hard to gauge how much effort you’re willing to put in, especially at low speed, which makes it very easy to take a tighter line than intended. Just stick with the standard steering setup. Also, there is good news for all Audi Q3 lovers that now you can have reconditioned Audi engines for sale from all across the country by reliable and reputed engine dealers. All these replacement engines are as efficient as brand new one are.
The high ride Audi Q3 hasn’t lost any of its road presence despite its marginally small proportions. At 5,052 mm long, 1,968 mm wide and 1,741 mm high, the Q3 remains one of the largest cars on the road. The first generation Q3 is 5,089 mm long, 1,983 mm wide and 1,772 mm high. The new Volvo XC90 is about 5 cm shorter and 3cm wider than the new Q3, and Range Rover is just as short.
With seven seats, the massive Audi offers 295 litres of trunk space, almost like the Ford Fiesta, accessible via a standard powered tailgate. But this increases to 770 litres when pressing the third row. Fold the second row forward too, and there’s a whopping 1,955 litres to play with, about 100 litres more than the new XC90.
On the broad open road, the Audi Q3 is easy to drive, all thanks to its smooth, easy to shift eight-speed automatic gearbox. We’re still testing the entry level 218 bhp diesel, but the more expensive 272 bhp version offers easy acceleration, making it very easy to get through slow traffic.
Where the car actually gets stuck in narrow lanes or in crowded city centres, its sheer size can make it feel somewhat intimidating. The view over your shoulder is also restricted, so while parking it is just proximity sensors on whom you have to rely.