The 2018 Audi Q3 offers a fun-to-drive alternative to the entry compact luxury car, but with more utility. Versus its rivals, it delivers more ride comfort and interior refinement, but less fuel efficiency.
As U.S. drivers trade in their sedans for SUVs, a new breed of small crossovers is reaping the benefits. Enter the 2018 Audi Q3, the entry model in Audi’s utility-vehicle lineup.
The Q3 adheres to a simple model strategy, offering one powertrain, front- or all-wheel drive, and three models: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige.
We rate the Q3 at 6.3 overall. It’s better than average for the class. Handling and interior quality stand out, though the Q3 could add more safety features and improve its fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Q3 conforms to Audi’s crossover styling cues, but in a smaller package. The look is somewhat stubby, but attractive and it should age well. Inside, it’s not as high-end as other Audis, but the black expanse of the dash is broken up by bits of metal trim and an infotainment screen.
That infotainment system isn’t quite as easy to control as other versions of Audi’s MMI, but it still has plenty of functionality, with highlights like Google Earth maps.
Interior space is limited. The front seat is the best place to be, though the standard panoramic sunroof robs headroom for taller occupants. The rear seat offers limited headroom and knee room for anyone over 6 feet tall. The cargo area is fairly useful, especially with the rear seats folded down.
A 200-horsepower turbo-4 mates to a 6-speed automatic. Acceleration is frisky but not fast. The Q3 has plenty of grip, and good ride quality. Fuel economy is just ordinary at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, 23 combined.
On the Q3, Audi fits heated power front seats, satellite radio, and alloy wheels. We recommend the optional sport seats. Also offered are Bose audio, navigation, and 4G LTE data services.
Safety is a mixed bag. The Q3 doesn’t offer forward-collision warnings, and it hasn’t been subjected to all current crash tests, but it has performed well in the crash tests it has undergone.