Today, a greater number of shoppers desire certain crossover benefits, such as AWD, elevated ground clearance, cargo flexibility, and a taller driving position. However, they do not wish to contend with the bulkiness and unwieldy handling of a larger utility vehicle.

Therefore, a new generation of small crossovers, exemplified by the 2016 Audi Q3, have emerged as a profitable business option. These vehicles cater to those seeking to upgrade from a smaller luxury car for more space or to downsize from a larger, more fuel-guzzling SUV for something more manageable and fuel-efficient.

If you are interested in owning a crossover but do not wish to incur excessive fuel costs or struggle with parking difficulties, now is an excellent time to explore this market segment. Whether you are already an Audi owner looking to upsize or downsize to the new Q3 or are new to the brand, you will discover numerous desirable Audi features.

The design incorporates all of the latest Audi hallmarks, including a distinctive grille, a sporty stance, and innovative LED lighting that produces a unique illumination signature at night.

The Q3’s onboard features are perhaps its greatest strength. The familiar Audi MMI interface allows drivers to manipulate numerous functions on the central display using a control pad and knob. The graphics are sleek and neat, similar to the elegantly simple instruments, and the overall appearance of the cabin. The design is graceful and modern, with a restrained and formal aesthetic at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, it reveals several subtle details that add to its premium look and feel, rather than relying on one or two significant style elements. Even the lack of sharp edges and the use of matte black and aluminum finish for trimming contribute to the clean design and little touches that elevate the Q3’s cabin.

At the rear, the hatchback’s rake creates a broad cargo area, although it is not particularly high towards the back. Nevertheless, I had ample space onboard to carry a substantial load of Costco groceries, my canine companion, some camping equipment, and the like. The power tailgate can be opened with one button and closed and locked with another, making it convenient when unloading a handful of shopping without having to dig out the key fob.

The rear seats fold almost flat to expand the cargo area, and when upright, there is sufficient space for two adults to lounge in comfort.

However, the Q3’s strong points lie inside the cabin. The MMI interface is easily operated using a control pad and knob, providing access to numerous functions displayed on the central screen. The graphics are clean, much like the instruments, which are beautifully simple, and the overall look of the cabin is modern, neat and formal, with subtle details that convey a premium feel, rather than relying on major styling elements. The Q3’s clean design and attention to detail are what elevate its cabin above others in its class. Additionally, the backseat has a rake to the hatchback, which means the cargo area is wide but not particularly tall towards the rear. Nevertheless, there is ample space for hauling items such as groceries, camping gear, or a dog, and the power tailgate can be opened or closed at the touch of a button. Rear seats can be folded flat to provide more cargo space, and when flipped up, two adults can sit comfortably.

In terms of size, the Q3 is ideal for a couple who typically travels alone but occasionally requires extra space or as a smaller, secondary luxury utility vehicle for families without big children. It provides plenty of headroom, even with the panoramic roof, and the driving position is elevated yet accessible, making it easier for senior dogs, puppies, or mobility-challenged passengers to enter and exit.

The Q3’s 2.0L TFSI turbo 4-cylinder engine delivers 200 horsepower and a bit more torque, resulting in refined performance that feels effortless. Even when driving gently through traffic or cruising up hills with the cruise set, the Q3 moves smoothly and effortlessly thanks to its low-end torque reserves. When needed, the acceleration is strong, and the engine never seems strained, even at redline. Although there are no other engine options available, most drivers will find the Q3’s power sufficient. Additionally, my test drive resulted in fuel consumption of under 10L/100km on premium gas.

It’s important to test the ride quality of any Q3 with the S-Line package since the tester’s experience revealed that the sporty suspension, coupled with the large 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires, offered minimal cushioning for rough roads. This meant that the ride quality was dependent on the road surface. If responsive handling is not a priority, it might be better to opt for a model with less wheel diameter and more sidewall for a more comfortable ride.

With the S-Line package equipped, the Audi Q3 handled smoothly on the highway, albeit with higher road noise levels than expected for a luxury crossover, and a bumpy ride on rougher surfaces. Nevertheless, among sporty crossovers with large wheels, the Q3 S-Line leans towards the more comfortable side. Driving enthusiasts will appreciate the Dynamic drive mode selector, which provides a pleasing and instant response to input. The steering becomes heavier for a direct road feel, and the throttle and steering responses are more precise. The Q3 handles corners well, steers quickly, and feels lively when cruising around bends at speed.

It is worth noting that the optional LED headlights are excellent, providing clean white light that is gentle on the eyes, peripheral illumination into the tree line beside dark highways, and can reflect off surfaces far up the road.

There are no significant complaints. The controls may feel a bit outdated, and the backup camera has a slight delay before activating in reverse. However, with pricing starting under R805,000 and a top-of-the-line tester starting in the low R920s, the 2016 Audi Q3 is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a new, sporty and luxurious little crossover. The interior is outstanding, the drivetrain is proven, and the vehicle is packed with thoughtful and delightful features and design touches.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Auto123

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