The luxury subcompact crossover segment has a robust roster of competitors. Aging stalwarts like the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA lead the pack, but the Audi Q3 has held its ground thanks to a complete redesign for the 2019 model year. Now one year into its transformation, can the Audi Q3 prove to be a better buy than the BMW X1?
2020 Audi Q3
When it was redesigned for 2019, the Audi Q3 was stretched out, remolded, and imbued with more power, making it a much stiffer competitor in its class. The exterior was given bolder arches and a more aggressive look, while the interior looks like it was taken out of its Q8 older brother.
Audi added three inches of length over the outgoing 2018 model which means it has more interior room overall, most importantly more rear-seat legroom. The cargo volume increased as well as it now boasts 23.8 cubic feet with the second row up and 53.9 with the seats folded down. In the subcompact category, more room is everything.
Under the hood, the Audi Q3 is powered by a newly revised 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that cranks out a stout 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All that power is routed through all four wheels thanks to the standard quattro all-wheel-drive system. Finding the right Q3 for you is relatively easy, as it comes in three different trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige.
We like that the mid-level Premium Plus model has a lot to offer including LED headlights, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and some driver-assist features. However, we don’t like that some of the more important safety features like adaptive cruise control and the Virtual Cockpit require a separate package.
2020 BMW X1
The BMW X1 was slightly refreshed for the 2020 model year. BMW gave it bigger front grilles, new front, and rear bumpers, LED lighting, and new wheel designs. Despite its new look, the X1 is among the oldest in the segment and could use a redesign in the future.
Just like the Q3, the X1 is powered by a sole engine choice; a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The powertrain is also connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission that transmits power through either the two front wheels or all four wheels. As we stated before, the BMW X1 does provide some stiff competition.
Configuring a BMW X1 is relatively easy as there are two trim levels: sDrive28i and xDrive28i. We like that some important driver-assist features like forward collision warning and lane departure are standard, however, we don’t like that a lot of normal features require a $5,000 Premium package add-on.
Which one is a better buy?
Now that we have laid out the features that each crossover comes with, we can take a look at pricing and decide which one is a better overall value. The Audi Q3 has a starting price of $35,695 while the X1 starts at $36,195. They both top out at around $44,000 with all of the boxes checked and the top trim selected, so it’s a tough call.
However, the Audi Q3 is value packaged a lot better than the X1, so if you were to choose the mid-level trim, you would actually get more for your money. In that case, we would say that the Audi Q3 is the better one to buy.