Audi has extended the reach of its ever popular Q3 range with the introduction of a 2.0l TDi model variant. The Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro model has enviable economy and is mated to the 7 speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission.
Externally the Q3 retains the Audi ‘Q’ flavour which means an attractive spacious AWD SUV style. It sits at the premium end of the Small AWD SUV category however with the new entry level product in base format it is surprisingly close to some of the other standard offerings. Currently the Q3 range is the best selling in the Audi lineup and for good reason.
Internally the first thing the driver notices is how comfortable the seat is. In front of the driver is the familiar Audi steering wheel that is leather clad and both height and reach adjustable. The dash is a dual dial design with a MFD in between. The steering wheel houses the usual controls but a good design feature is that you can see the stalks without taking your eyes from the road.
The front seat area in general has a spacious feel with the driver feeling especially spoilt. While there are drink holders in the centre console overall there could be a little more storage.
The centre stack houses the dual zone climate air conditioning controls and the audio controls along with a separate slot for the CD’s. It is minimalist and stylish, yet functional. Other features include Bluetooth interface with audio streaming, Audi parking system rear, fog lights, light and rain sensors and cruise control. For 2014 the Q3 range has a number of option packages available for style, technik ,sport and comfort etc. These represent reasonable value.
Rear seat passengers have a reasonable amount of knee, leg, head and shoulder room and the seats are better suited to two rather than three. The seat squabs are a little firm but supportive or long periods. The boot area provides enough room for luggage for four for a weekend however the sloping rear roofline (coupe style) does limit the overall amount.
Safety is obviously a feature with Airbags for driver and front passenger, Side airbags at front, Head level curtain airbags, Electronic stabilisation control (ESC) with ABS, ASR and EDL. Electromechanical speed sensitive power steering.
The TDI engine is the ubiquitous 103Kw that delivers power of 103 Kw @ 4,200 rpm and torque of 320 Nm @ 1,750 rpm. This drives through a 7 speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission to all wheels through the excellent Audi Quattro system. The alloy wheels take 235/55/R 17 tyres. The combination provides a reasonable balance between power, economy and performance. This combination frugally sips fuel at about 8.0L/100K on our test. That was a mix of city and freeway driving in real world conditions.
On the road the Q3 provided an engaging driving experience. The steering wheel gave just enough feedback and the responsiveness of the low down torque kept things moving comfortably. Handling dynamics for this style of vehicle are amongst the best in class. An AWD SUV such as this will never be an antidote for the boy racer amongst us but there are some that are much better than others and the Q3 sits near the top of the list.
On dirt roads, fire trails and sand the Q3 is stable, surefooted and exudes confidence. In short the Quattro system is a bundle of fun on the dirt and this is where the Q3 shines. I know it will spend most of its days in shopping centre car parks but owners should be a little adventurous with their SUV. Not too adventurous though. This is a vehicle that is definitely not meant for heavy duty off road. Where the graded fire trail ends so should the adventure. Take the Q3 much further into the bush and the result won’t be pretty with poor approach and departure angles and lower ground clearance. We have previously towed with this engine and the Q3 is suitable for light campers, bikes, jet skis etc. In other words for an active lifestyle.
What Audi has done with the Q3 2.0 TDI quattro model is show that small doesn’t mean without luxury, handling dynamics or capability. The Audi Q3 is a surprise for those shopping in this segment. Yes if you tick the long and expensive options list the price skyrockets, however as a base offering it excels and you would question why you would need to add many features to an otherwise outstanding offering.
The Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro model is definitely worth a look with Quattro AWD, sharp dynamic handling (for an SUV) economical yet powerful diesel engine all wrapped up in pretty slick Coupe styling.
• Driver comfort
• Stylish Looks
• Quattro Handling
• Long and expensive options list
• Sloping roof over boot reduces cargo capacity
• Sat Nav on top of dash
Model Audi Q3
Model Price $53,990 RDAP
Engine 2.0LTDi 4 cyl
Drivetrain Quattro 7 Sp S Tronic
Power 103 Kw @ 4,200 rpm
Torque 320 Nm @ 1,750 rpm
Safety 5 Star
CO2 Emissions 152 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 3 1/2 Star
Economy (ADR comb) 5.8 L/100km
Tow Capacity – Max 1800 kg
Tow Ball Rating 180 kg
Servicing capped TBA
Warranty 3yr/Unlimited km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 86/100
Behind the Wheel 9
Ride & Handling 9
Fit for Purpose 9
Towing Ability 7
Off Road Ability 6
Value for Money 8