28 December 2019

Audi Q3 2019 Car Review

With small SUVs at all price points now taking up 14 per cent of our market – five per cent more than small cars – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Audi has leaped in again, with the launch of its second-generation Q3.

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Audi Q3 2019
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Audi Q3 2019
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Audi Q3 2019
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Audi Q3 2019
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Audi Q3 2019
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Audi Q3 2019
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Audi Q3 2019

It sells in the busy ‘small SUV over $40K’ segment, with 22 models – including its smaller Q2 stablemate – to compete with.

Audi was no doubt keen to ensure enough difference between the 2 and 3 to keep both models percolating, and this Q3 gets not only a sharper look which references the Q8 – and which Audi NZ describes as ‘more masculine’ – but a bigger size, likely to please those who found its predecessor a little too cosy.

Certainly it has presence, whatever the variant, and its immediately obvious that it’s larger, not least when you get inside, with testers at the launch all commenting favourably on shoulder and leg room.

The cabin has a higher-quality more modern look, obviously featuring the brand’s signature clean lines, a design ethos which benefits from the continued development of the touch MMI screen to control most interior functions, though here Audi has stuck to providing a set of buttons and dials for handy air adjustment while underway.

A quick fossick around suggests Audi is keen to future-proof its incoming cars’ ability to cope with what’s likely to come. A Smartphone interface is standard, wireless phone charging too, and there’s a traditional USB port plus a USB-C with an eye to faster charging in future, and more or faster data requirements.

This Q3 is 96.5mm longer and 17.8mm wider than its predecessor, so no wonder the cabin is both roomier and more useful. The car’s owners are expected to need some flexibility between passengers and luggage, and so the rear seat can slide 150mm either way on rails, for rear legroom or more luggage space.

The boot is now 70 litres bigger than before, at 530 litres with all the seats in use and the row two passengers leaning comfortably back a little. Sit them bolt upright and you can now jam in 675 litres of luggage – don’t forget to tuck the parcel tray into its space under the boot floor first.

Leave the kids behind and you can split-fold the second row to liberate up to 1525 litres of space back there – enough for even the fussiest packer.

We first sampled the 35, and found the engine slightly prone to turbo lag off the mark, at least if you’re seeking a rapid getaway, but it sounded pleasant, seemed happy enough to rev, and delivered a smooth experience. It’s not going to set the world alight – this is a family runabout after all – though especially if you use the gear change paddles it gets along briskly enough to please most.

Step up to the 45 and you get the quattro system too, to deliver power to all four wheels, plus some extras on the features list – including parking sensors at both ends, and LED headlights.

Not surprisingly this more powerful engine certainly responds more vigorously to the throttle, but cabin noise is a tad more intrusive, at least on the back roads of our test route, no doubt in part down to the larger wheels fitted to this model.

In either car the passenger twiddling their thumbs feels comfy enough, the suspension doing a great job of looking after the non-drivers of the household.

Thus far it’s the top-spec S Line that’s proving most popular, with its body kit and sports seats, 19-inch wheel and extra spec – like adaptive cruise control and the 360-degree cameras to assist in parking. That’s of course the top-price variant, but Audi NZ expects the entry price to ensure Q3 can fish in a bigger pond than the traditional Euros, and attract some buyers from mainstream brands.

Audi is not the only company keen to ensure it makes the most of the swing to SUVs, but it’s been particularly busy this year, with the new Q7 still to land before Christmas, along with the SQ8. And it’s reaping the rewards – Audi NZ GM Dean Sheed says 62 per cent of Audi business is now in the SUV bracket, which takes up 11 per cent of the premium market.

Q3 will be expected to do its bit, and we look forward to a more extended drive on home roads to confirm how well it’ll handle the task.

At a glance


Audi Q3 35 TFSi, Audi Q3 45 TFSi q, Audi Q3 45 TFSi q S-Line


Q3 35, 1395cc four-cylinder turbo; Q3 45 1984cc


$60,900 (Q3 35)

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

Q3 35 110kW at 5000rpm and 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm, Q3 45 169kW at 5000rpm and 350Nm at 1500-4400rpm


Six-speed S Tronic (Q3 35), seven-speed S Tronic (45)

Fuel economy

5.8-6.0ll/100km (35), 7.4-7.6l/100km (45)

Towing capacity

1800kg (35), 2100kg (Q3 45) 


2WD front (Q3 35), quattro AWD (45)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

530 litres, 1525 with row two seats folded

Safety systems

  • Parking aid front/rear with rear-view camera (35, 45), or with 360-degree camera (S Line)
  • Active Lane Assist
  • Audi Side Assist and Active Lane Assist (S Line)
  • Audi Smartphone interface with Bluetooth
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (S Line) 
  • Audi Pre Sense
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