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2016 Audi Q3: Real World Review

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author photo by Autotrader January 2016

The demand for luxury crossovers is so high that there's now a new group of vehicles brewing below the traditionally popular compact-luxury-crossover segment. They're called subcompact luxury crossovers, and many high-end automakers now offer one. Audi's entrant into the segment is called the Q3, and it first went on sale last year. We recently had the chance to spend a week behind the wheel of a 2016 Audi Q3 -- and we've rounded up our opinions.

Technology Trouble

The Q3's most glaring issue is its outdated technology. Everyone who rode in the Q3 commented on just how mediocre they found the crossover's gadgets. This model lacks many modern features that you'd expect on a vehicle with a price tag of well above $40,000.

The infotainment system, for instance, drew heavy criticism for not being a touchscreen and for the fact that entering an address with an old-school button-and-knob setup takes way too long. One of our testers pointed out that the Q3 somehow still doesn't include a USB port, while another mentioned that the old iPod cord feels like it's behind the times. And then there's the lack of modern technology: You won't find many of today's latest gadgets, such as forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning or automatic braking, on the Q3's options list. We suspect these issues and omissions alone will remove the Q3 from many shopping lists.

Comfort and Convenience?

So what about comfort and convenience? Unfortunately, the Q3 comes up a little short there, too. While most of our drivers heaped praise on the Q3's exterior styling, all agreed that the interior looked a little behind the times and the seats felt a little uncomfortable. One tester, Automotive Data Manager Ben Cheney, noted that the Q3's seating was "like sitting in a lawn chair," as it touted hard cushions and a high position. Another driver, Automotive Content Specialist Tommy Flanagan, said the seat bottom felt very hard, even after adjusting the seat as much as possible.

Other complaints were leveled against other parts of the cabin. Specifically, our testers agreed that the back seat was cramped and the cargo area was even worse. With that said, those two items are characteristic of virtually all subcompact crossovers. If you're looking for more cabin space, you might want to check out a larger model such as the Audi Q5 or BMW X3 instead.

Bright Spots

Of course, the 2016 Audi Q3 also registered a few bright spots with our testers. We've already mentioned the handsome styling, which gives the car a leg up over many frumpy competitors such as the Buick Encore or Mercedes-Benz GLA. But that wasn't the only thing we liked: Our editors also praised the Q3 for its sporty handling, predictable steering and excellent cornering. And the Q3 also offers a refined, if slightly slow-witted, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

Our Take

Although the subcompact-crossover segment is quickly expanding, we're surprised to find the 2016 Audi Q3 already at the back of the pack. With lackluster technology, outdated features, a mediocre interior and a small cabin, the Q3 doesn't have many bright spots, especially considering our test car's $40,000-plus price point. Yes, we like how the Q3 corners, rides and looks, but the overall feeling in our office is unanimous: We'd shop the competition.

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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Audi Q3 quattro 2.0T Premium Plus
Used 2016 Audi Q3
$27,498
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Audi Q3 quattro 2.0T Premium Plus
Used 2016 Audi Q3
$26,981
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Used 2016 Audi Q3 quattro 2.0T Premium Plus
Used 2016 Audi Q3
$27,900
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Certified 2016 Audi Q3 quattro 2.0T Prestige
Certified 2016 Audi Q3
$28,500
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Audi Q3: Real World Review - Autotrader