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New Skoda Karoq vs used Audi Q3

If you're buying new, the Skoda Karoq is the best family SUV you can have for around £26,000, but is a used Audi Q3 for the same money an even better option?...

New Skoda Karoq vs used Audi Q3

NEW Skoda Karoq 1.0 TSI 110 SE Drive

List Price £26,255
Target Price £25,488

The Karoq is a superb all-rounder that has just been treated to a mid-life refresh

USED Audi Q3 35 TFSI S line S tronic

Price new £34,150
Price today £26,000*

It might look like an expensive car, but the Q3 is surprisingly affordable when bought used

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and a full service history and is correct at the time of writing

Actors and Actresses are no strangers to facelifts. After all, it pays to appear fresh and youthful in Tinseltown. And similarly, the popular Skoda Karoq has been given a few nips and tucks in the styling department – as well as some tweaks to improve engine efficiency – in an effort to ensure it can continue to compete with younger rivals.

Skoda Karoq front cornering

It's still fundamentally the same practical family SUV that's been on sale since 2017, though, so would you be better off going used and getting yourself something more upmarket for the same money? Something like the Audi Q3, perhaps, which was actually introduced a year later than the Karoq?

They're both fine cars, so you're certainly not stuck between a Karoq and a hard place. However, there can only be one winner.


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Both of these cars run on petrol in the forms we're testing, but the Q3's engine is beefier than the Karoq's. In fact, it has 39bhp of extra beef, which helped the Q3 get from 0-60mph in 9.5sec during testing. By comparison, the Karoq required 10.4sec, although that's still a respectable result.

Audi Q3 S tronic gear selector

We should also mention that our Q3 test car is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, whereas our Karoq is a six-speed manual (Skoda doesn't offer an auto option with the 1.0 TSI 110 model, although it does with higher-powered engines).

The Q3's gearbox could do with being a bit faster on the uptake. When you plant your right foot in a spirited manner, it's hesitant to kick down. Also, the engine is more coarse when you’re accelerating than the Karoq's, and that slice of disappointing refinement (or lack of it) never completely fades into the background. 

The Karoq isn't the last word in refinement either, though. It suffers from wind buffeting around its door mirrors and its suspension clonks loudly over large abrasions, most noticeably at town speeds.

Used Audi Q3 front

Fortunately, the Karoq's manual is a doddle to use; the gearshift itself is slick and the clutch smooth.

The rest of the Karoq's driving manners add to this relaxed character, with its suspension very much putting comfort first. It does a good job of smoothing out rough sections of road, yet keeps the car feeling settled at higher speeds. The Q3, in our test car's S line trim (which most buyers went for when the car was new) has sportier suspension that gives it a harsher ride. You always feel more of bumps as they pass beneath you.

The upside of the Q3's setup is tight body control in bends and confidence-inspiring handling. And while the Karoq is far from roly-poly on a twisty road, it does lean more and generally feels less sharp.