Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Audi Q3 Is a Problematic Yet Fun-to-Drive SUV

Audi is a household name for a reason. Many use the purchase of such a vehicle as a benchmark of achievement, feeling as if they have arrived when they can finally hold the keys. This is why luxury shoppers demand a lot from their cars, and their requests are warranted, given the high costs of these models. Not only are they investing in an image, they expect consistency. Buyers require luxury SUVs like the 2021 Audi Q3 to deliver a higher level of performance, refinement, and reliability. However, this isn’t always a given in the segment. 

Such lavish vehicles are often seen as the pinnacle of style, and many luxury SUVs will leave you in awe. Upscale companies such as Audi are regularly known for delivering cars that appeal to drivers looking for a dose of grandeur and a good time alike. Some experts thought the Audi Q3 was one of the top subcompact vehicles of 2020. However, the German automaker might have fallen short with the 2021 Audi Q3, according to reviews. 

So where did Audi miss the mark with the 2021 Audi Q3, and just how far off are they? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons the Audi Q3 delivers for the 2021 model year. Is it worth reaching for? Let’s find out. 

The 2021 Audi Q3 is a feat of German Engineering 

A grey 2021 Audi Q3 driving down a highway road
The 2021 Audi Q3 in action | Photo via Audi

Let’s start with the good stuff. The Q3 is an amazing machine in its own right, as it continues Audi’s legacy of creating fun-to-drive vehicles. Industry experts such as Consumer Reports have backed this assessment. The publication gave the 2021 Audi Q3 the highest mark in its road test (84/100) among all entry-level luxury SUVs.

Audi introduced a new base trim for the Q3, which is powered by a 184-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system. This model starts at a reasonable MSRP of $34,000. However, buyers will want to step up to the 45 TFSI S-Line Premium, which costs an extra $2,000, to take advantage of a better driving experience. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and it can sprint from 0-60 MPH in seven seconds.

Meanwhile, drivers will experience an incredibly smooth and agile ride, thanks to Audi’s skilled engineers. Consumer Reports’ review praised the SUV’s handling and comfort, stating, “Handling is responsive and confidence inspiring, which makes the little Audi enjoyable to drive. The ride has an underlying firmness, yet it is reasonably comfortable and has an edge over its competitors.”

Where does the Q3 fall short? 

As much as we like to talk about a vehicle’s driveability, there are other serious factors to consider when car shopping. Perhaps the most important attribute is long-term reliability – an area where Consumer Report says the 2021 Audi Q3 doesn’t measure up. The publication gave the subcompact luxury SUV a predicted reliability rating of just 2/5, leaving a shadow of doubt in buyers’ minds.

Consumer Reports also noted several other drawbacks to purchasing the 2021 Audi Q3. For one, drivers obviously won’t expect a ton of cargo room in a small SUV, but the Q3 still underwhelms. The Q3 has a total of just 48 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down, which is substantially less than its competitors.

Additionally, the publication knocked the 2021 Audi Q3 for its rear visibility and loud engine, both of which can be awfully distracting to drivers.

Is this luxury SUV a smart buy?

RELATED: Why a Used 2019 Audi Q3 Is Good Enough

This Audi SUV won’t cost you a fortune, but it still delivers the manufacturer’s signature driving dynamics. Of course, this model has several shortcomings that are uncharacteristic of the luxury brand. However, the 2021 Audi Q3 might be the perfect vehicle to lease. 

In this scenario, drivers won’t have to worry about the SUV’s questionable long-term reliability. Plus, they can decide for themselves if the engine noise, limited cargo space, and rearward visibility are significant issues. In the meantime, they can enjoy an ultra exciting driving experience.