2016 Audi Q3 first drive review: Larger than it appears

2016 Audi Q3 frt 2 CB

Do not let the small footprint cast by the 2016 Audi Q3 fool you; there is plenty of space inside this compact SUV/Crossover. It may not have as much cargo capacity as others in this category, but what it lacks here it makes up in triplicate with performance, spirited handling and interior accommodations.

In a typical European fashion the Audi Q3 was running around the roads of the Continent for a few years before it was shipped to our shores. While we were envious of that fact, the good thing is the Q3 was sorted out on the Autobahn which certainly tests the mettle of any vehicle. So, when we received the Q3 it was ready for prime time, as they say in Hollywood.

For 2016 the Audi Q3 is slightly refreshed with styling tweaks to the front-end and has standard features added to the list to make it more relevant in the USA. Whether it is because of buyer wants or marketing department desires, the list of electronic features on our vehicles continue to grow. The Audi Q 3 adds front and rear parking assist sensors and rearview camera to its list of standard equipment.

2016 Audi Q3 int 1Sliding into the cabin you know immediately this is an Audi just from the interior design. Even without the four-ring logo on the center of the airbag cover you will know the steering wheel signals this as an Audi. This steering wheel is one of the best around, a signal that Audi builds drivers’ vehicles, even with their crossovers. The fit and finish of the passenger compartment is extraordinary. Scanning the interior from door to door every seam, trim piece, switch and gauge are high quality and allow your eyes to flow gracefully through the compartment.

The center stack, where the redundant major entertainment and climate controls rest, is canted toward the driver slightly to give easier selection of each element. Audi’s MMI system is one of the easier ones to learn, with a few moments of practice we were able to learn the basic controls, easily toggling between sound system, climate control and navigation.

Front bucket seats are firm and supportive, designed to keep you planted2016 Audi Q3 int 2 even during more aggressive cornering maneuvers. The driver seat is equipped with a 12-way power adjustment so you are sure to find the right position. The rear 60/40 split seat offers the same firmness, however with a little less lateral support. Though Rear leg room is accommodated by a sculpted indentation into the front seat back it is still less than we would chose, particularly with the driver’s seat adjusted to my driving requirements. We were able to move the seat forward to allow adequate leg room for our passengers, but we sure would not want to subject any of us for long. Like most compact vehicles the rear seat is said to accommodate three, however like most, including the Q3 two passengers would be far more comfortable. Cargo space is easily accessible through the large rear hatch.

The 2016 Audi Q3 is powered by Audi’s well tested 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque. At 200 hp the Q3 is a little behind some of the newer entries yet responds to the accelerator pedal with enthusiasm.

This 2.0-liter four gets an EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. While we did not get a true reading during our test, we are guessing the average of 23 listed on the window sticker is probably a little low, with most drivers able to achieve higher mileage. As you might have guessed we are not so gentle with our right foot.

2016 Audi Q3 rr 1Though there are compact SUV and Crossover vehicles available with just front-wheel drive we, as a matter of choice, do not regularly suggest them. If you are going to buy in this category step-up and add all-wheel drive to your list. It doesn’t add that much more to the bottom line and it will at least one time during ownership save your bacon when you least expect it. Audi’s quattro system is one of, if not the very best on the market today and has held this distinction for many years. Thanks to their racing development Audi engineers have perfected the all-wheel drive system to appear seamless during normal driving and huge advantage during more aggressive moves.

Audi vehicles have a reputation of being more than luxurious and accommodating, each model in their category offer enthusiastic driving no matter the environment. When driving the Audi Q3 you might just have a little more fun in your commute to work. We know the 2016 Audi Q3 will certainly spice up your weekend trips.

2016 Audi Q3 Specs on next page