The Audi Q3 has been a very popular car, not just globally, but in South Africa too. The second generation has just launched and it is bigger and better in every single way. I headed up the Garden Route to take this new Q3 on a road trip that saw us take on mountain passes, gravel roads, city traffic and long highway runs. Basically, I really put the new Q3 to the test. So, did it pass? Absolutely!
The previous Q3 was not the best looking compact SUV on the market, but Audi has now added some lines and curves that have made it look that much more grown up. Step inside and you are met with a modern, sophisticated and refreshed cabin. The all-new infotainment system is one we have already seen on the A1 and the Q8 and brings a real feel of elegance to the cabin. It is user-friendly and the graphics are clear and precise. Something some its competitors might want to consider.
Adding even more maturity to the cabin is the standard Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster. You can opt for the Audi virtual cockpit plus with a 12.3 inch screen. The driver can call up three different views on the screen, including a new extra sporty display. Speaking of options, Audi has tried to keep things really simple by cutting down the options list and rather offering them in bundles/packages. You will still be able to select stand-alone options, but packages such as Comfort, Technology, Sport, Parking, S line interior and Black styling, will hopefully make it a lot easier to customise your Q3 as to how you want it.
There is one let down with the new Audi Q3 and that is that there is currently only one model available. It is the Audi 35 TFSI with its 1.4-litre turbopetrol engine. It produces 110 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque which is really fine for city driving. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission which is also adequate with this engine. The only time you may feel a bit frustrated is when driving on the highway, especially when wanting to overtake. Audi is in talks for more engine options, so hold thumbs.
Where it shines is overall refinement. The ride is smooth, there is minimal road noise, in fact the only thing coming in to the cabin is the slightest bit of wind noise. But that can be forgiven, especially when the level of comfort is so high.
You can also take this Q3 off road. Just pop it in to Off-Road mode and the car will automatically adjust to keep it stable. We took it on a lot of gravel and I was left very impressed with how the Q3 handled it.
Space wise, the Q3 is bigger. Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity totals 530 or 675-litres. With the backrests folded down the figure rises to 1 525-litres. The loading floor can be adjusted in up to three levels; the low loading sill of 748 millimetres makes it easier to stow heavy luggage.
PRICING OF THE NEW AUDI Q3:
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic at R 565,000
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic Advanced at R 585,000
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic S line at R 599,000