Compared with other small SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai, the Audi Q3 looks expensive to buy. However, it's priced in line with other premium alternatives such as the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. Its strong image will ensure it holds on to a lot of its value over the time you own it, too, and help deliver competitive contract hire and personal contract purchase (PCP) rates.
When it comes to engines, the Q3’s entry-level petrol option is cleaner and more frugal than those offered by the car’s direct competitors, and its diesel engines, while not class-leading for efficiency, are still relatively cheap to run by the standards of the small SUV class.
So far we’ve only put our favourite version of the Q3 – the lower-powered 2.0 TDI 140 (the predecessor of our current favourite, the 2.0 TDI 150) – through our real-world True MPG test, during which it returned an impressive 46.9mpg.
Audi Q3 equipment
Entry-level SE-spec Q3s make the most sense. They come with plenty of equipment, making it difficult to recommend spending any extra money. The list includes 17in alloys, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors.
The S line’s additional features such as dynamic suspension, 18in alloys and xenon headlights are more ‘wants’ than ‘needs’. Don’t forget, too, that you can take the S line’s stiffer suspension back to more comfortable SE setting for no extra charge.
Spending even more on S line Plus’s even larger alloys, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and sat-nav makes even less sense, given that you can add these items to SE trim for less money.
However, be warned, the Audi options list is long and some of the items on it are very expensive.
Audi Q3 reliability
Audi performed poorly in our latest reliability survey, where it finished 31st among the 38 manufacturers included. It seems Q3 buyers aren’t any happier than the norm, with the Q3 the second most unreliable small SUV in our most recent customer satisfaction survey. Only the BMW X1 proved less dependable, and the Q3 lags behind other rivals, such as the Mini Countryman, Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Yeti.
The main problems highlighted by owners were with items such as the rear doors, the fuel filler cap, the CD player and excessive tyre wear. All Audis come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, though, which can be extended to either four years and 75,000 miles, or five years and 90,000 miles. Meanwhile, the mileage cover included with BMW’s and Mercedes’s free, three-year warranty is a more generous 100,000 miles.
Audi Q3 safety & security
When compared with its small SUV rivals, the Q3 falls short of the class best but still performs well with regards to safety. In fact, examining its five-star Euro NCAP rating more closely, it’s evident that the model’s child protection rating is near the top, although its pedestrian rating is only average.
The Q3 provides most of the safety kit 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. However, automatic emergency braking isn't available.
There’s a long, and largely reasonably priced, selection of optional safety and security kit including visual and acoustic front and rear parking aids, rear side airbags, and active lane assist and blind spot assist.
To ward off thieves, deadlocks, locking wheelnuts and an alarm are also included. It’s enough for the Q3 to have earned five-star ‘theft-of’, and four-star ‘theft-from’ ratings from to security experts Thatcham.
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Entry-level, SE-spec Q3s make the most sense. They come with plenty of equipment, making it difficult to recommend spending any extra. The list includes 17in alloys, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, front sports seats and rear parking sensors.
This brings some attractive, additional styling details such as S line body trim and chrome exhaust finishers. However, apart from leather sports seats, its other features, 18in alloys and xenon headlights, are more 'wants' than 'needs'. If you're buying an S line avoid the no-cost option of sports suspension – regular Dynamic suspension is more comfortable.
S line Plus
The S line Plus is even pricier than the S line, so it's hard to recommend. Yes, you get even larger alloys, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and sat-nav, but if you want any of these things we'd recommend adding them to cheaper SE trim.
The RS Q3 comes packed with luxuries, as you'd expect, but it’s an expensive proposition. Cheaper versions of the Q3 make far more financial sense.
RS Q3 Performance
As per the ‘normal’ RS Q3 but with different wheels, titanium-coloured body styling and blue detailing inside.