Video: CNET drives the Audi Q3

The Audi Q3 is Audi’s entry-level SUV that competes with the Mercedes-Benz GLA Class, Lexus NX and BMW X1. Having been sold in the European market for some time now, we already know much about the Q3. However, the North American market has just gotten the Audi Q3 and it’s a bit different that the one sold across the Atlantic. In fact, we recently tested the North American Audi Q3 a couple of weeks ago and were impressed with its hushed cabin and comfortable ride. But we did have a few complaints and it seems that CNET agrees with us.

Ray Catena Audi Q3

In the video, Antuan Goodwin tests the new Audi Q3 on a variety of different roads and has very similar thoughts on the Q3 as we did. The very first hing he mentions in the video is the cabin noise, or lack thereof. It’s a very hushed cabin, with very little engine, road and wind noise coming through. He also mentions the comfortable ride, which according to Goodwin is better than the ride in the Mercedes-Benz GLA Class that we have yet to test. In our review, we mentioned that the Q3 was more comfortable than even the BMW X1, which we recently drove and claimed to be the best small crossover in the business.

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The interior also drew high marks from Goodwin, as it’s a comfortable and quality cabin. The MMI system is snappy, with excellent graphics, even if the controls are a bit lackluster compared to some of Audi’s more premium vehicles. The seating position, while high and a bit odd-feeling at first, most definitely fits the class, as customers who buy a Q3 want to be higher off the ground and have a more commanding view of the road.

Ray Catena Audi Q3

Where the Audi Q3 falls down, according to Goodwin, is in the performance department. Ironically, this is exactly where we gave it poor marks as well. The Audi Q3 uses a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder TFSI engine, which is very similar to the one used in the Volkswagen GTI, but only makes 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. That’s not a lot in any SUV with all-wheel drive, regardless of how small it is. That engine is paired to a six-speed torque-converter Tiptronic automatic which, to put this nicely, is outdated. The engine isn’t so bad, despite lacking power, as straight line performance isn’t a necessity in this class, but the transmission makes the worst of it by making the Q3 feel sluggish and dimwitted. It’s just a couple of generations behind. It’s even more disappointing that the European market gets Volkswagen Group’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic, which makes thing far better.

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Steering and handling were okay, but nothing to run home about. Fine for most of the buyers in the segment, but lacked the fun of the BMW X1. The fact that it’s also one of the slowest baby crossovers in the segment doesn’t do much to help the handling performance, either. This just isn’t a fun car, but that isn’t as big of a knock against it as one might think, as the Q3 isn’t designed to be fun.

Overall, the Audi Q3 is an affordable, comfortable, stylish and practical little SUV. For the majority of customers in its segment, the Audi Q3 is far more than enough car. Customers can fit children, groceries and a dog in the Q3, while riding in quiet comfort with top-notch materials all for a relatively low price. Just don’t ask it to have any fun.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.