Luxury manufacturers have been scrambling to compete with their non-luxury counterparts. In this regard, it isn’t uncommon for you to find compact luxury SUVs priced in the low $30,000s, which can be a steal when you factor in style, reliability, quality of construction, and performance.
The 2017 Audi Q3 is one of the models signifying the times. One of its best attributes is its affordability.
Audi priced the Q3 to compete with luxury and non-luxury brands alike. Starting as low as $31,800, this places the Q3 on the more affordable end of the spectrum for its segment. For context, automotive research website AxleGeeks compiled the average price of 2017 compact luxury SUVs, which is $33,100–again showing the emphasis by manufacturers on delivering affordable models. Considering the Q3 starts from $31,800, you can save on average around $1,300 by selecting Audi’s model. This isn’t a substantial difference, and chances are if you are pinching pennies then the luxury market isn’t a viable option. However, if it is, then how much value are you receiving with the Q3?
Style – Exterior
Depending on how the exterior of the Q3 hits your eyes, it can exude graceful styling. After all, the crisp body lines, LED head and tail lights and the sporty front end does provide the SUV with an agile shape. At the same time, it’s far from the most stylish compact SUV available. From the side, the SUV appears somewhat boxy. For comparison sake, place pictures of the Q3 next to other options in its class like the Jaguar F-Pace where you will notice the difference in dimensions as it pertains to each model’s stance. The F-Pace has a roadster flair while the Q3 is more conservative in tone. Therefore, depending on your styling preferences, the Q3 may or may not be the right choice for you.
Style – Interior
The Q3’s cabin deviates more to refined luxury with elegant touches such as the inlays available in Balsamic Brown Walnut Wood and Aluminum Satellite. Either provide an excellent accent that gives the interior dimension in styling.
Of course, Audi designed the Q3 to be as functional as it is stylish. A great example of this concerns seating and cargo area. To accommodate your varied needs, Audi equipped the Q3 with 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks. While this isn’t a revolutionary offering–almost all SUVs have similar functionality–it does increase the Q3’s cargo capacity. With the rear seats folded, you have 48.2 cubic feet of cargo room, making it perfect for a wide variety of storage demands from sports equipment to groceries to your luggage.
Where luxury models differ from their counterparts are in convenience features. Simply, what comes standard on SUVs like the Q3 you’ll likely have to upgrade to receive with non-luxury models. One illustration of this is the dual-zone climate control. With digital temperature readouts and separate controls, the driver and passenger can set the cabin to their desired feel.
Lastly, Audi thought of the busy family when designing the Q3. The power tailgate demonstrates this focus. The available wraparound tailgate can open and close easily, which is perfect if you are trying to corral your kids, bags of groceries or even pets and need quick access into your SUV.
Audi equipped the Q3 with a turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI engine. This engine delivers a maximum horsepower output of 200, which provides exhilarating power for brisk acceleration and enough kick to power up steep inclines. To make the most of the engine, you can pair it with Audi’s six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. This transmission gives the Q3 the sporty performance indicative of many luxury SUVs.
Speed is only one aspect of an SUV’s performance to consider. If you live in an area with unpredictable weather, it’s important to have a vehicle that can handle what mother nature delivers. To account for this, Audi equipped its Q3 with the available Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The system works by reading the road and driving conditions then sending power to the wheels with the most traction, resulting in smooth, dependable handling even when you must drive on snowy, wet or icy road surfaces.
Adaptability is another area where the Q3 differentiates from other models. Available on the Q3 is Audi’s drive select system. The system offers you three modes of driving including Dynamic, Comfort, and Auto. How it works is depending on the mode you select, it will adjust the steering and throttling of the SUV to make your drives more applicable to your tastes and what the driving environment dictates.
Audi loaded the Q3 with many technological features that will make even the most tech-savvy green with envy. To illustrate, the available MMI navigation plus system uses Google Earth to provide 3D satellite imagery. Along with beautiful mapping, you can access local traffic conditions, which is perfect for commutes through major metropolitan areas; you can listen to the news and receive weather updates.
Technology is also making driving safer. By providing driver-assist features like the Parking system with rearview camera, you can maneuver the Q3 into and out of tight spots with confidence because you have a system that delivers increased visibility. Along with increased visibility, the Audi side assist uses radar sensors to identify any vehicles entering your SUV’s blind spot. Considering how difficult it can be to sometimes spot other vehicles, this feature can help you make safer decisions.
Lastly, the Audi Q3 makes normal drives extraordinary thanks to the Bose surround system. This 14-speaker system pumps studio quality sound into the SUV’s cabin to delight even the most discerning ears.
The 2017 Audi Q3 might not be the most stylish or the most powerful offering in its segment, but it’s hard to argue with its quality. For under $32,000, you receive ample tech, safety, performance, and stylistic features befitting of luxury models, making the Q3 a great buy.