Q3 revamps with sharper designs
The subcompact SUVs are all the craze these days, because of their ride height and storage capacity, plus, they are usually built on a car’s chassis. This greatly improves the ride comfort and manoeuvrability, while it gives them the ability to tackle challenging road conditions. This concept has been a trend from the mid ’90s, with Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V being some of the frontrunners.
It seemed as though luxury automakers were the last to catch on to the trend, as most waited until the late 2000s to manufacture these body types. In 2011, Audi entered the market with their luxury crossover, the Q3, with a dynamic 1.4L engine that promised to add power while saving gas.
A SHARPER LOOK
The model recently changed its shape for the second generation in 2018, to give it a more virile look. The previous design was circular, and as such, it had a very passive and tame look. However, now, Audi architects have tweaked much of the design cues.
The nose is more pronounced, with a protruding grille that runs from the bonnet to the base of the bumper. In addition, angular elements have also been added to the LED headlights to give them a more imposing appearance, as they sit on top the huge air vents that are in the front bumper.
The Luxury + version, which was tested, comes with 18” wheels and the window panels, along with other areas of the vehicle, outlined with chrome accents. From a side view, the roof and bonnet are straightened to give it a longer silhouette, especially when compared to the semi-circle outline of the model before.
THE USUAL INSIDE
The interior remains consistent with what is to be expected with the Audi brand, only this time there is a much-appreciated addition. There is Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in the gauge cluster and this design theme runs across 75 per cent of the dashboard, giving it a futuristic appearance.
Leather is abundantly plastered throughout and is complemented by bold chrome accents on places such as the door, centre console and dashboard.
Audi’s MMI infotainment screen remains impressive, acting more like a computer than just a media centre. Everything is grouped and layered in an intuitive way, which makes it easy to find information such as changing the ambient light or how to connect a phone via bluetooth.
Around the back are rear A/C vents, which I can’t stress the importance of, given that we are in a tropical country. A major gripe, which is hard to overlook, is the inability for the rear seats to recline, especially in a vehicle of this calibre.
A DRIVING PLEASURE
The vehicle is able to put the driver in an ideal position with a steering wheel that can tilt and move telescopically, along with a seat that can adjust in multiple ways. A pet peeve of mine with Audi’s steering wheels is that they feel too firm. However, a plus is the fact that everything, such as the centre console and the climate knobs, feels angled towards the driver.
It has ‘car-like’ handles, with no body roll, even around some of the sharpest corners, and the steering input was spot on. I can’t say that I’m fully sold on a 1.4-litre engine in a SUV, even if it is turbo charged, but, truth be told, Audi has never disappointed me with this set-up. The power comes on confidently and the fuel usage was very commendable.
I presume the majority of these vehicles are manufactured as left-hand drive, and as such, for the right-hand version, the Drive Select switch is at an uncomfortable distance from the driver. The modes are straightforward, with Auto being the most convenient option, as the vehicle makes adjustments based on the road condition and driving style.
Whenever I was overtaking or started to drive more aggressively, it was dynamic mode and ,if I was going over a lot of potholes, it was Comfort mode. In this mode, the MacPherson strut with aluminium wishbones did a great job at absorbing the impact on the terrain.
The Audi Q3, gave a welcoming driving experience, pairing a level of handling and versatility that very few companies can master. Round town, it’s easy to manage in tight spots with sensors and cameras and, on long trips, it has the power to tackle uneven surfaces.
Tested model: Luxury +
Price of tested model: $10.170 mil
Starting price: $8.39 mil
Engine: 1.4 TFSI
Torque: 250 Nm
Fuel tank: 60L
Body type: Sub compact Luxury Crossover
Competition: Jaguar E-Pace, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes GLA, BMW X1