Many German automakers, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, don’t have the best track record when it comes to reliable cars. On the other hand, Audi is a notable exception, with many dependable used models on the market. If you’re in the market for a new car, AutoTrader recommends the Audi Q3.
The Audi Q3 took first place for Best Subcompact Luxury SUV, ahead of longstanding rivals like the BMW X2. Kelley Blue Book gave the Q3 some special recognition last year with a 2020 Best Buy award. Here’s what AutoTrader loved most about the Audi Q3 and where critics think it excels over the competition.
Engaging to drive
The Audi Q3 only has one engine option, a 2.0-liter turbo-four that makes 228 hp. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, plus standard all-wheel drive. While the engine is noticeably vocal during acceleration, it provides drivers with ample power in town and on the highway.
The Q3 is a blast to drive on winding roads thanks to its clean cornering abilities. The brake pedals are easy to modulate and the steering wheel gives drivers adequate feedback. Consumer Reports found that while its suspension is firm, it absorbs bumps and the car’s ride quality is comfortable overall.
Its small size also makes it easy to maneuver on packed city streets. The only flaw reported by AutoTrader is that the transmission doesn’t always provide smooth shifts. The Audi Q3 also doesn’t get the best gas mileage compared to other cars in the segment.
A luxurious interior with luxurious technology
The Audi Q3’s cabin is very popular among critics. Critics agree that almost all the materials are of premium quality with no ill-fitting components. Real leather seats are standard and there’s plenty of room for all passengers to stretch their limbs.
There’s also a surprisingly ample amount of room for cargo behind the second row, almost 24 cubic feet. All three rear seats fold independently, allowing drivers to easily stow longer items. AutoTrader also appreciated its sharp and sleek new body design, a big improvement from its rounded shape in the first generation.
The Audi Q3 also has a lot of infotainment features in the base model. It has smartphone integration, HD radio, Bluetooth, and a handful of advanced driver’s aids. The touchscreen is almost 9 inches, and critics agree it has one of the most user-friendly interfaces available.
The Audi Q3 is relatively affordable
Audi is well-known for its cheaper prices compared to other luxury automakers. The base trim of the Audi Q3 only costs around $35,000. Even if you wanted to get the range-topping Prestige trim, it likely wouldn’t cost more than $44,000. This comes with Audi’s trademark Virtual Cockpit feature, a premium audio system, and the best safety features.
A few luxury subcompacts like the Buick Encore are cheaper, but this car’s powertrain isn’t nearly as quick as the Audi Q3’s motor. The most inexpensive Jaguar E-Pace costs over $40,000, with higher trims exceeding the $50,000 mark.
The Audi Q3’s rivals don’t quite compare
The BMW X2 has a peppy base engine, plus exceptional handling. However, AutoTrader felt that its ride wasn’t as smooth compared to driving the Q3. Also, while the Audi Q3 feels spacious in spite of its smaller dimensions, the X2 SUV is noticeably cramped.
Another contender for the top spot on AutoTrader’s list was the Volvo XC40. It has a unique design and the interior is top-notch and cozy. However, the touchscreen can be too sensitive and there are no physical controls to make things easier. Unlike the Audi Q3, the XC40 doesn’t come with standard all-wheel drive.