You’d be forgiven for not knowing that the all-new 2019 Audi Q3 is actually Audi’s entry-level compact crossover SUV; after all, the Q3 is aggressively styled, attractive, and loaded with tech features first seen in the flagship Audi Q8. The Audi Q3 is a good lesson on how “entry-level” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “bare bones” or worse — “missing out.”
I recently attended an Audi Q3 media drive in Nashville. What stood out for me about the vehicle — even more than its good looks, luxurious interior, and comfortable ride — was that if I hadn’t known the Q3 was their entry-level SUV, I would have never guessed it.
There are two versions available: the Q3 which starts at $34,700 and the Q3 S which starts at $36,000. Helena and I picked out a Turbo Blue Q3 S to spend the day in. I had to laugh because this was a color that I’d never consider buying personally, but it was fun and very eye-catching — perfect for a day spent driving in Nashville and the surrounding country roads.
The interior is luxurious without being overly plush; the leather front seats are supportive, the steering wheel is thick and comfortable to grip, and there are thoughtful amenities throughout.
The Q3 has a standard 10.25″ digital instrument cluster with an 8.8″ touchscreen. You can also upgrade to the MMI Navigation package which features a 12.3″ Audi virtual cockpit with a 10.1″ touchscreen.
While the infotainment system gives you Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto integration standard, you might consider upgrading to add the Audi phone box, which gives your phone a signal boost as it’s connected to the Q3’s antenna; it will also charge your compatible phone wirelessly. Another upgrade worth considering is the Bang & Olufsen Premium 3D Sound System; it gives you a massive sound experience through 15 speakers that are powered with a 16-channel amplifier (with a 680 watts output) — impressive. Even better, the Q3 now has a top view camera system which uses four 360-degree wide-angle cameras to give you the perfect view of what’s around your car which is perfect when maneuvering through tight spaces or backing into a busy street.
Legroom is plentiful in both the front and back seats; the Q3 will comfortably fit 4 full-size adults, but three smaller adults or children can fit in the back seat without suffocating each other. The sliding, reclining, and 40/20/40 folding rear seat is standard, and it can be adjusted to accommodate different passenger and cargo-carrying configurations as needed. All of the leather seating surfaces come with standard heat, too.
The trunk is huge; it can easily hold a full family’s luggage, or the more typical full load of weekly groceries on top of the assorted sports gear and safety equipment people always need to keep in their trunks. The cargo floor is adjustable, allowing you to choose between larger underfloor storage or more vertical space in the cargo area. If you put the cargo floor in its highest position, you can take advantage of the dedicated storage for the cargo cover.
The Q3 also comes loaded with a bunch of safety features including Audi pre sense front which has camera-monitored pedestrian detection in the front of the vehicle; it will give you visual and acoustic warnings. The Q3 also has optional Audi side assist with lane departure warning which helps with blind-spot monitoring and provides LED indicators on the two exterior mirrors’ housing. There’s also optional cross-traffic assist that lets you know when vehicles are approaching from behind; this is handy when you are reversing out of a parking spot, at which time a wanting tone will sound. There’s even optional park steering assist which is great for people like me who suck at parallel parking; you can allow it to take control of the steering wheel to get you into the slot while you control the speed and brakes.
The exterior is bold and aggressive; the new Q3 wears the latest SUV design language that Audi introduced on the newest Q8, and it stands 1.5″ taller, 3.8″ longer, and nearly an inch wider than last year’s Q3. The new octagonal Singleframe grille with vertical chrome slats makes the front end look commanding and substantial. The Q3 comes with standard LED headlights with high beam assist as well as LED taillights with eye-catching dynamic rear turn signals.
The main thing to know about the Audi Q3 is that is fun and responsive to drive. You feel like you are in control at all times, and everything you might need is within easy reach. The Q3 easily handled hard accelerating onto highway ramps, and the ride was very quiet and smooth — even over potholes in town.
Audi says that the Q3 will be the first luxury auto purchase for many of its buyers; honestly, I think they are selling themselves short. I can see this being a great purchase for someone who wants a bunch of amenities without spending the price of a smaller home in Texas on their vehicle. Nicely loaded out, the 2019 Audi Q3 S we drove sells for $44,745. Both the Q3 and the Q3 S get 19 mpg in town and 27 mpg on the highway for a combines rating of 22 mpg. You can check it out and order yours directly from Audi.
Disclosure: Audi paid for my travel, room, and meals; there were no conditions or expectations made regarding what I chose to write about regarding my experience.