Company Car Today

The big test

The most comprehensive
new product test in fleet

The second generation of Audi’s crossover promises more space, comfort and technology in a sector that’s rapidly growing in popularity

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - Image 5

On the road

On the road

Baby premium SUVs and crossovers are big business, and competition is fierce between some high-quality adversaries. The latest of which is the new Audi Q3, the second generation of the model that sits near the bottom of the brand’s ‘Q’ SUV line-up, although since the first Q3 was launched a Q2 has been born beneath it.

The new Q3 is pitched by Audi as maintaining the first car’s strengths while adding contemporary Audi design, technology and connectivity. The car grows in every direction bar one – it’s 97mm longer, 18mm wider and has a wheelbase that is 78mm longer for better interior space. The exception is the 5mm cut in height, helping it look a little more compact and sporty.


1. The Audi or quattro badge on the passenger side of the dash, depending on whether you’ve got 4x4 or not, looks normal during the day, but is nicely back-lit, so shines at night.

2. Our test car’s handbrake disengaged with the kind of clunk you’d associate with cars that have been parked up for a few weeks.

3. There are handy little bins to the outer of the rear seats. People with small kids will appreciate a place to collect plastic tat and sweet wrappers.

The front end is where the biggest change in styling occurs, with what Audi calls the Singleframe nose making for a more aggressive and noticeable front-end design. All cars get slender-looking LED headlights as part of a significant improvement in standard specification. The rest of the styling is more typical of Audi’s evolutionary approach, with nothing to mark the new car out as a significant step away from its predecessor, and it looks a little drab from some angles next to competition such as Volvo’s more characterfully styled XC40.

On the inside, the step-up in kit makes itself obvious with, in particular, the Audi Virtual Cockpit display fitted as standard across the range. The 10.25-inch display can be tailored to the driver’s preference, including a full-screen navigation map over the dashboard in the driver’s eyeline, as well as the 10.1-inch Multi-Media Interface touchscreen system in the centre of the dashboard that is angled by 10 degrees toward the driver. The screen itself is as crisp and clear as anything in the market, and the MMI system simple to navigate, although not always the fastest on start-up.

The cabin is as lovely as Audi has led us to expect, with the matt black finish around the driver a particularly nice touch that raises the ambience. The cloth/leather sports front seats in our S-Line model are comfortable and supportive, and that comfort extends pretty well to the rear passengers, where there is good headroom and adequate legroom for the class.

The boot goes up by an impressive 70 litres on the previous Q3 to 530, which out-points most rivals’. If there are no rear passengers to worry about, that can be increased to a hefty 675 thanks to the rear seat bench sliding forward by 150mm. The load floor has three levels, and the parcel shelf can be stashed beneath it when not needed. The boot also has two bag hooks and a couple of handy recess bins to drop in any small items that would otherwise roll around. In addition, our test car came with the £210 storage pack that includes a pair of LED lights in the boot as well as interior storage in the back of the front seats and under the passenger seat.

Overall, the Q3’s dimensions strike an excellent balance between practicality and a compact, urban-friendly footprint.

The Big Test - Audi A6 Avant - 2018 - Image 6
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Audi’s Q3 was the third ‘Q’ branded model to join the company’s ever-expanding model range when it was launched in 2012, sitting below the Q5 and Q7 to make a three-model line-up that has since expanded to five thanks to the newer Q2 and Q8 models.

The Q3 was based on the Audi Cross Coupe quattro concept vehicle (pictured) first shown at the 2007 Shanghai motor show, and the German premium brand described the car as defining a “new segment in the field of crossover vehicles”.

“Audi Cross Coupe quattro combines the design and dynamism of a compact premium sports car with the spaciousness and versatility of a four-seat sport utility vehicle,” it continued.

The production version was unveiled four years later, and used the same underpinnings as various Volkswagen Group models including the VW Tiguan and Golf.

The previous Q3 range was topped off by a high-performance RS Q3 model, launching with 310hp from its 2.5-litre turbocharged engine, before getting a 30hp upgrade with the 2014 mid-life facelift. The RS Q3 was the first SUV to get the treatment from Audi’s high performance division, quattro GmbH.

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - In Context - Audi Cross Coupe Quattro concept

What they said

What They Said

"The Audi Q3 is our most popular SUV, and with good reason. This new model is an even more attractive fleet proposition than ever before thanks to robust residual values, even greater practicality and a more comprehensive list of equipment.

In fact a great many of its features have directly cascaded from the full-size class. In the new Vorsprung trim in particular the car comes into its own in terms of tech and luxury.

The engine range also offers the appropriate flexibility business users demand, impressively combining high-mileage potential and efficiency with punchy performance." 

James Buxton, head of fleet sales, Audi UK


The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - What They Say - James Buxton, head of fleet sales, Audi UK

Comparatively speaking

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - Comparatively Speaking Chart

Need to know

The Big Test - Audi Q3 - 2019 - Need to Know Chart


Three things we like...

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - Three Things We Like - The new grille is bolder, and the biggest design change

The new grille is bolder, and the biggest design change

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - Three Things We Like - The door handle is upside down, but works, once you’re used to it

The door handle is upside down, but works, once you’re used to it

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - Three Things We Like - The two little bins in the corner of the boot are great for small items

The two little bins in the corner of the boot are great for small items

...And one we don't

The Big Test - 2019 - Audi Q3 - And One Thing We Don't - The surprisingly large rear pillars badly hinder the Q3’s over-the-shoulder visibility

The surprisingly large rear pillars badly hinder the Q3’s over-the-shoulder visibility



Drive  8/10

More engaging than the previous Q3, although steering feel is still a little lacking versus the BMW X1’s.

Efficiency  7/10

The figures are reasonable, but at various points rivals can get lower, especially on the auto and quattro versions.

Practicality  8/10

Excellent rear head and legroom for the sector, and the boot is very decent for the class. 

Equipment  9/10

It’s good to see the likes of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and good levels of safety kit fitted as standard. 

Looks  7/10

The strong grille and nose design is the only big change from the previous Q3, which is otherwise typically evolutionary for Audi.

Comfort and refinement 9/10

Given the driving experience is improved, it’s impressive that it’s not at the expense of ride comfort, which is better than the larger Q5’s, and refinement is also good.

Cabin  9/10

It seems almost boring to be praising Audi for the interior quality once more, but the Q3 reinforces the brand’s excellence in its cabins. It’s all lovely inside.

Infotainment  8/10

There’s a big and very clear screen, with 3D modelling of certain cities on the nav, but it’s not the fastest system on boot-up, or to respond some times. Virtual Cockpit is great.

Whole life costs  9/10

Despite kicking off at a higher starting price that its key competition, strong running costs across the board make for an excellent cost-per-mile figure.

CCT opinion  8/10

An improved small crossover up with the class best in most areas.


The Q3 scores well for running costs, interior quality, standard equipment and the driving experience, although emissions aren’t always up with the best.