For 2016, Audi has give one of its best-selling SUVs a bit of a refresh. It’s now time for the Audi Q3 to get a makeover. It’s a much-needed makeover, if we’re honest, because the Q3 is painfully dull-looking car. It looks like a lifted Volkswagen Golf with Audi badges on it and that’s not something we’re willing to pay Audi A4 money for. However, Audi has given the Q3 a bit of a once over to keep it looking fresh during its life-cycle. The Q3 will ultimately be replaced soon with a newer model, built on Audi’s new MQB platform, but for now, a refresh is all we get.
But it’s better than nothing, we suppose. The headlights are tweaked and the new large singleframe grille dominates the front end. New trim lines also add much-needed visual drama to the quite milquetoast Q3. In S Line trim, the new front lip is divided by a horizontal black strut and the air inlets feature a new diamond pattern. Contrasting black accents give off a sportier, more aggressive look. Even we can admit that the front-end looks far better than before and actually quite handsome. It isn’t anything special, but it’s much improved.
There’s also one new wheel option, a set of 19″ gloss black 10-Y-spoke design wheels. These come from Audi Sport, apparently, and they do look quite good. They give the Q3 a nicer stance, something it desperately needed.
Throughout the rest of the car, black accents are also featured, though that’s about it. It still looks about the same as the old Q3 in profile and out back. Though there is a new rear diffuser in S Line trim. Having said that, the rear end is still bad looking. It drops off too quickly and just looks wrong. It almost looks like the designer did the entire car from the C-pillar forward and then did the back of the car on a lunch break. It’s just not well designed.
The interior isn’t really changed any, though. It’s still the basic Audi Q3 interior, which looks like an A3 interior for SUV duty. However, the S Line package adds some needed drama, with a three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel, more aggressive sport seats and some contrast stitching. Otherwise, it’s Q3 as usual.
Overall, Audi took a boring crossover and turned it into a slightly less boring crossover. It’s not bad looking anymore, just a bit dull. We are harsh on the Audi Q3 because we know the folks in Ingolstadt are capable of so much more. The Audi Q7 is a triumph of typical Germany luxurious understatement. It’s classy and sophisticated, yet subtly aggressive. It’s imposing and elegant at the same time. So we know Audi can do better and it will with the next-generation. But for now, you get just a slightly better looking Q3.