After being on sale for 3 years Audi’s superb crossover the Q3 has received its midlife makeover, it has been refreshed, with a few tweaks externally, nothing too dramatic to a winning formula, but the main areas of involvement have been within the engine derivatives, writes Bob Hickman.
Externally you may notice that headlamps are now Zenon with LED running lamps and at the rear the tail lights are now standard with LED, but one new novel feature, the actual indicators are activated in sequential blocks, in simple terms this means the light moves in the direction that the driver is turning. So to save the indicator just flashing on and off, it actually flashes in the direction of travel. This could well be a novel feature and I await to see howling before other manufacturers copy.
It is beneath the bonnet that some of the major changes in the Q3 have been made. The entry level diesel engine is a 2-litre TDi and this has more power than the out going vehicle and in its front wheel drive form the emissions have reduced. The quattro 4-wheel drive also has a reduction in emissions which makes them more economical.
The new petrol engine is the major feature of the Q3, it is the brilliant 1.4-litre TFSi 150bhp and this has Audi’s wonderful cylinder on demand technology. This means that this engine will run on just 2-cylinders if the throttle load is light and you are just meandering along or coasting. Put your foot hard on the throttle and the whole engine kicks in to life, a very clever piece of equipment.
Inside the Audi it is a typical luxurious cabin, it oozes quality and it is very well equipped too, my particular test car was equipped with the wonderful 1.4-litre engine and it was great to drive even with the lower power derivative fitted. If this engine is the one that tick your boxes then be prepared to only be able to purchase a front wheel drive version. This may be a bit of anomaly as the Q3 is obviously promoted as being a potential off-road vehicle, but if 4-wheel drive is your prime feature then you will have to move up to a 2-litre petrol or one of the 2-litre diesels.
There are also variable transmissions that can be ordered, a 6-speed manual, or an
S-Tronic automatic with either 6 or 7 speeds. My particular 1.4-litre front wheel drive had the 6-speed automatic box fitted and it was an absolute pleasure to drive and I never ever once missed the 4-wheel drive option.
The interior of the vehicle is virtually faultless, it is an Audi through and through and the quality of the equipment and the fittings and whole ambience of the vehicle just shouts at you, it really is a superb place to be cocooned on a lengthy or even a short journey. There is comfortable space for adults in the back and a reasonable size of boot space is available. In its standard SE trim all the items that you would expect are included, including the Infotainment system which pops up out of the dashboard and when you switch it off it disappears to keep it out of prying eyes.
I particularly like the raised driving position of the Q3, it is a useful feature and you really do become comfortable behind the wheel with that extra visibility the extra height gives you.
Th equipment in the vehicle is easy to understand although disappointingly if you are a person who wants to move a lot of extra luggage or awkward items the rear seats don’t actually fold flush and flat, making loading things a little bit difficult.
The Audi Q3 range start from £25,380.