2019 Audi Q3 35 TFSI review
Alex Rae’s Audi Q3 2019 Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Interior, Ownership, Verdict And Score.
IN A NUTSHELL: Seven years since the original Q3 arrived the second-gen car has improved in every way. Although this entry-level model has only a moderately-powered engine it’s good enough to keep up with most daily demands. And really, it’s all of the tech inside the cabin and safety assistant systems underneath that will appeal to many buyers.
2019 Audi Q3 35 TFSI Review
The premium small SUV can’t be that popular a segment, right? Well actually, its huge. Given a mammoth 400 per cent growth since 2012, it’s cars exactly like the Audi Q3 that need to ‘nail it’ if they want a share of all those keen buyers. ‘It’ means having things like internet connectivity, slick displays, and lots of premium materials wrapped around a nicely presented cabin.
So here we have Audi’s second-generation Q3, arriving into the Australian market next month. Given Audi’s lacklustre sales this year (due to a lack of models to sell) the Q3 has a heap of expectations on it to help turn that around. Well, this is certainly new product, and it has the potential to be the catch-all Audi tells it will be – attractive to buyers from new families to empty nesters.
What Does 2020 Audi Q3 Cost And What Do You Get?
Only two models will hit Audi showrooms this year, the Audi Q3 35 TFSI and 35 TFSI Launch Edition, priced at $46,400 and $52,270 plus on-road costs apiece. Next year, we’ll get all-wheel drive Quattro models and the stinking hot RS Q3 after that, but for now, the offering is front-wheel drive only and with a mildly-powered engine; ’35 TFSI’ means you get a 1.4-litre turbo petrol producing 110kW and 250Nm through a six-speed auto.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry and start, electric-opening tailgate, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, ambient LED lighting and contrasting lower metallic paint finish on the exterior bumper bits – essentially a slightly fancier version of grey bumpers.
The Launch Edition adds extras such as larger 19-inch alloys, tinted windows, black exterior grille and surrounds, metallic paint, premium 10 speaker audio system, (the standard has six), 360-degree surround-view camera and adaptive cruise control. And it doesn’t have any grey bumper bits.
There are packages available, such as the Style Package with 19-inch alloys, full body colour paint and aluminium inlays for $2600, and the Comfort Pack, which brings electrically adjustable and heated seats and adaptive cruise assist at $1900.
There are also two fixed-price service plans: 3 years costing $1610, and 5 years at $2590.
How Much Space Is There In The Audi Q3?
It looks just as small outside but the second-gen Q3 has grown enough to feel bigger inside. The wheelbase is 7mm longer at 2680mm, and overall it’s 96mm longer at 4484mm, but the height is 5mm shorter at 1585mm. The important measurements are inside, headroom growing 35mm front and 7mm in the rear.
The result is a spacious cabin that could rival some medium SUVs, the boot 530-litres (70L over the previous-gen) large and growing to a huge 675L with the second-row slid forward. You couldn’t do that in the old model.
That’s easily enough room for a pram and luggage, ticking the box for Audi’s young families target. The boot has some other tricks too, like the parcel shelf being stored underneath the floor when it’s in the way, or that it can be set at two different heights if you need to separate items.
Upfront, the seats are comfortable and Audi Australia says it lobbied to have nicer trim over entry-level Euro models. We don’t doubt that. Though the seats are manually adjustable, the driver’s pew moves into a good position, and there’s electric adjustment available as a cost option.
In the rear, legroom is tight but adequate for an adult, and it’s the same for headspace which will fit a six-foot-tall frame without intrusion. Two rear USB ports add convenience for back seat passenger along with rear air vents. It’s a good, practical cabin that makes use of the space available.
What’s The Audi Q3 Infotainment Like?
There are two big screens inside the Q3, one in front of the driver and one mounted in the centre of the dash. The central unit measures 10.1-inches diagonally and is the hub for the infotainment, set slightly toward the driver and within a slick piano black surround the fuses into the driver’s instrument area.
The screen’s resolution looks crisp and the software is fast and easy to use – something we’ve come to expect from nearly all Volkswagen Group infotainment systems. The backbone of mobile phone connectivity is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (or you could use Bluetooth, but why?), which isn’t at all new to Audi, but wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity is. While it still works over a USB cable, CarPlay can now be set up to connect to an Apple phone via its wifi, automatically, so you needn’t find the phone in your handbag.
While navigation can be run through a connected phone, which opens up the possiblity of using apps such as Waze, all Q3s come with built-in sat-nav with three years’ of map updates. The entertainment also has DAB+ radio, but it goes one step further in being a ‘hybrid radio,’ something new to Australia. Using a cellular connection, the radio can bridge gaps in digital reception (such as when driving in the hills) to maintain a constant broadcast.
That same cellular connection is also used for Audi Connect, which brings useful information to the built-in sat-nav and apps like local fuel prices, weather, available carpark spots at shopping centres and more.
Finally, the second screen is a 10.25-inch unit inside the driver’s dash. All models come with this Virtual Cockpit as standard and Audi has been using the system in its top-tier models for years. It replaces the traditional binnacles and instrumentation with digital readouts and can overlay things like satellite imagery maps for navigation. It looks very slick.
For HiFi heads, there’s a $900 cost-option Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system available on launch edition models.
What’s The Audi Q3 35 TFSI Engine Like?
This entry-level Q3 receives the smallest, least powerful engine available in the range. The 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol produces 110kW at 5000-3500rpm and 250Nm at 1500-6000rpm, which is on par with something powering a small hatch. Despite Audi’s 0-100km/h claim of 9.3 seconds (which doesn’t look spritely on paper), it feels reasonably lively through the six-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.
Around town, there is nothing to complain about, and it’s on tall hills and winding up on the freeway that it feels out of breath. The lack of paddle shifters on the steering wheel also points to the fact that this setup isn’t really meant for the enthusiast, though there will be more powerful Quattro all-wheel drive models for that. And the small motor mated to the front-wheels only pays dividends at the bowser, claiming a combined fuel consumption rating of 7.2L per 100km.
What’s The Audi Q3 Like To Drive?
Despite a little engine and modest intentions, with a bit of momentum, you can have some fun on a nice twisting road, thanks to the balanced chassis underneath.
Based on VW Group’s MQB platform, it’s a familiar feeling ride that can be almost brittle in some applications, but Audi has ironed out harsh edges and unsettling bumps with its simple passive sprung MacPherson strut front, four-link rear setup. Some other manufacturers could do well to offer such a thoughtful setup in their affordable entry-point models, and we expect the ride should be even better with adaptive dampers when available.
As an urban car, the Q3 doesn’t ever feel underwhelming or hard to get along with except for a pause of hesitation to get moving, and though short of herbs when having a go of it, the light but direct steering and some progressive body roll are fun on the right road. We’re looking forward to what sportier versions will bring.
The driving assist technology works well, with lane-keeping not overly intrusive when activated and the adaptive cruise control maintaining a consistent distance. It should be noted that the adaptive cruise only goes up and down in 10km/h increments, which is a bit odd, though it can be set at any speed by accelerating and clicking set.
How Safe Is The Audi Q3?
The Q3 has already been awarded a five-star ANCAP rating and comes with expected safety aids such as AEB and lane departure warning. In the event that an accident is detected by the car, the seatbelts are pre-tensioned, the windows automatically go up, and the sunroof (if open) will be closed.
There are further safety assists available such as active lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera.
What Are The Audi Q3 Alternatives?
There’s no shortage of competition to the Q3 from Europe carmakers, like the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar E-Pace, and Porsche Macan.
2020 Q3 35 TFSI Specs
Price From $46,400 plus ORCs
Warranty 3 years/unlimited km
Engine 1.4L turbo petrol
Power 110kW at 5000-6000rpm
Torque 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm
Transmission 6-speed auto
Body 4484mm (l); 1856mm (w); 1585mm (h)
Kerb weight 1470kg
Fuel tank 58 litres
Spare Space saver