2019 Audi Q3 review: Fresh-faced and more competitive than ever

When the Audi Q3 arrived in the US in 2015, it was already a bit dated. From its conservative sheet metal to its even banal interior, it did not feel new again, because it was not. Across the pond in Europe, the Q3 had been in showrooms since 2011, helping to explain the semi-underwhelming US debut of the small crossover. The arrival of the 3rd quarter 2019instead, everything changes. He is bigger, more beautiful inside and out, loaded with technology and a solid everyday driver.

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Elegant and spacious

Compared to his predecessor, the second generation Q3 it’s a little bigger and more mature, growing 3.8 inches long, 0.7 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, and is blessed with a much more interesting design. It has a new single-frame octagonal grille and glossy LED running lights at the front which, together with the sculpted sides, provide a sharper look.

The Q3’s the interior is drastically improved too, with a new dash layout that’s anything but boring. It’s clean and intuitive with clearly marked switches, and with quality materials like brushed aluminum and matte wood finishes sprinkled with taste throughout. My tester’s optional Sport interior package adds more supportive seats. A standard panoramic roof also ensures that the cabin is always light and airy.

Remember the increased size of the Q3? They pay big dividends on the inside with the front and rear areas spacious enough for adults. Rolling three in the back, however, is comfortable, with the poor person in the center needing to ride a high middle floor hump. For shopping trips, cargo space behind the rear seats grows from 16.7 cubic feet in the older Q3 to 23.7 more usable. When more space is needed, folding the second row seats lowers the buildings to 48 cubic feet which I fully utilized during a refueling run for the Wong family restaurant.

There is no lack of technology

Anyone who approaches the top-of-the-range Prestige version of the Q3 will experience it in its most technology-rich form. Responsive and easy to use MMI Touch Response infotainment system uses a large 10.1-inch touchscreen to control navigation and an excellent Bang & Olufsen 15-speaker audio unit. Fortunately, the MMI system is both Apple CarPlay– And Android Auto-compatible. Audi is fantastic Virtual cockpit it’s also standard on this trim, offering a reconfigurable 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Audi’s MMI Touch Response system is intuitive and responsive to commands.

Jon Wong / Roadshow

There is no shortage of power outlets inside the Q3. People in the front have access to a wireless charging pad, a USB Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and a 12-volt outlet. For the people in the back there are two USB type A sockets and one 12 volt handy on the back of the center console.

The safety technology menu has a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking coming on all 3rd quarter 2019. Prestige trim levels offer the full range of features including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, parking sensors and a clear 360-degree camera.

Peppy and good for long journeys

An important part of the new Q3 that hasn’t needed a complete overhaul is its transmission. A familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission send power to all four wheels. With 228 horsepower and 258 Nm of torque on tap, the latter at your service from 1,700 to 4,400 rpm, it moves at a respectable speed. Audi says the engine is strong enough to take the Q3 to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds and return the EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28mpg on the highway. On a short road trip, mostly on the freeway, I observed 25.6mpg.

Audi’s I4 turbo is powerful with 228 horsepower.

Jon Wong / Roadshow

Engine power doesn’t take your breath away, but is on par with the standard versions of the BMW X1, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. Launch the Q3 in dynamic mode and react admirably. The steering gets a little heavier for quick turns and the Q3 has all the grip you’ll need for road riding with its 19-inch Goodyear Eagle Sport tires. The standard suspension configuration gives way to a controlled roll and the brakes are grippy with a firm pedal feel for confident stopping muscle.

For normal city driving or long motorway journeys, the Q3’s Comfort setting calms the transmission and steering. In the case of the engine, Comfort is too slow and I prefer to keep the engine in its Sport setting for better off-line thrust.

How would I specify it

For my ideal Q3 build, I’d start with the S Line Premium Plus upholstery, which starts at $ 39,100, not including $ 995 for the destination. This gives me niceties like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic warning, and a wireless charging pad. A free Turbo Blue paint job will cover the exterior, while the $ 500 Sport Interior Package is a must for comfortable and supportive sports seats. And to liven up the interior a bit more, a $ 150 Alcantara interior package adds orange, suede-trimmed to the dashboard and front doors.

All the features of the Q3 Prestige will cost you a little more green.

Jon Wong / Roadshow

All in all, my Q3 stickers for $ 40,745, making it a bit more wallet-friendly than the $ 45,340 Prestige car pictured here. I have to live without the sleek Virtual Cockpit, a crazy sound system, and a ton of active safety technology available, but those elements aren’t critical to me.

A serious contender for luxury SUVs

The 2019 Audi Q3, with standard all-wheel drive, starts at $ 34,700. That makes it a little cheaper to start than at $ 37,200 BMW X1 xDrive28i, $ 35,950 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic and $ 36,345 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD. All of those listed above are strong competitors, but Audi is now a truly impressive number. Thanks to more style, space and rugged technology and performance, the Q3 is easily in the conversation for top honors in the small luxury SUV class.