Audi Q3 long-term test review

The original Audi Q3 was the firm's best-selling SUV, but this second-generation car faces a much tougher challenge. We've got four months to see if it can worry the class leaders...

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Darren Moss
11 March 2019

Audi Q3 long-term test
  • The car Audi Q3 35 TFSI S line S tronic
  • Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor
  • Why it’s here The original Q3 was Audi's best-selling SUV, but this new model faces a host of tough rivals. Does it still have what it takes to compete?
  • Needs to Be practical for long trips, comfortable on the motorway and economical enough to use for the weekday commute

Mileage 3169 List price £34,150 Target Price £33,319 Price as tested £37,565 Test economy 33.3mpg Official Economy 38.2mpg Extras Electrically adjustable front seats (£675), metallic paint (£575), heated front seats (£300), Parking System Plus (£300), Audi Sound System (£275), Virtual Cockpit (£250), multi-function steering wheel (£250), four-way lumbar support (£255), electric, heated and folding door mirrors (£225), Storage Pack (£210) and ambient interior lighting (£100) Contract hire £417.94 Insurance group 20 Typical insurance quote £595

11 March 2019 – A tight squeeze

Like fine cheese and even finer wines, the Audi Q3 is only getting better with age. I’ve covered more than 2000 miles in it now, and things are generally starting to loosen up. The fuel economy on my commute, for example, is slowly but surely improving, to the point where I no longer wince every time I look at the trip computer. I’ve learned to modulate the accelerator pedal, too, so that the jerkiness I experienced with the seven-speed automatic gearbox at low speeds during my early days with the Q3 isn’t so much of an issue. 

There is one annoyance, though, which is that my Q3 doesn’t have a reversing camera. It has acoustic sensors, which ring out with increasing alarm as you get closer to nearby objects, plus a graphic that comes up on the infotainment screen, but I find both to be disappointingly vague.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve parked up and walked around the back of the car to see if I could have reversed another few inches comfortably, rather than shuffling forwards and backwards into my space. And as anyone who tries to park in the tight bays of a city like London will tell you, every inch matters. A glimpse at the Q3’s options list reveals that the camera costs £395 – and it’s an option box I would happily tick for the extra reassurance it provides.

Audi Q3 infotainment screen

Not that it would have helped me in the What Car? car park the other day, when I discovered that the driver of a Mercedes A-Class had taken an adventurous approach to parking bay boundaries and dumped their car within nanometres of mine. So close, in fact, that my driver’s door couldn’t open more than a sliver. 

Audi Q3 parking

I therefore opened the passenger side door and clambered my way across the car into the driver’s seat – something that’s difficult considering the bulky nature of both myself and the Q3’s centre console. Still, after a fair amount of swearing I was able to turn the car on, at which point the Q3’s parking sensors bonged loudly to announce the Mercedes’ close proximity to the driver’s door. Trust me, sunshine, I knew it was there already.

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