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2017 Audi Q3: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2017

The 2017 Audi Q3 is an ideal set of wheels for a young, urban professional. It's a smaller compact premium crossover in the same vein as the BMW X1, MINI Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. It seems that Americans don't need to supersize absolutely everything.

The Q3 has been around in Europe for some time before being imported to the United States. This explains why there was a refresh last year, but a new generation expected for next year.

Loosely related to the Volkswagen Tiguan crossover, the Q3 is 10 inches shorter overall than its Q5 sibling. Not surprisingly, there's less room for rear passengers and cargo alike. If the hatchback-sized interior is acceptable, the Q3's elevated driving position, city-friendly dimensions and relatively reasonable pricing could seal the deal.

What's New for 2017?

A lower, entry-level Premium trim makes its debut. This also means a redistribution of equipment among the now three trims. Premium Plus receives heated/power-folding mirrors (self-dimming on the driver's side) and a power tailgate as standard. And the top Prestige trim is eligible for a new Sport Plus package.

What We Like

Easy to park; plenty of standard luxuries; premium ride quality

What We Don't

Limited back seat and cargo space

How Much?

$32,750-$40,150

Fuel Economy

The Q3 comes with either front-wheel drive or Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive. Either way, the transmission is a 6-speed automatic, and the engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit rated at 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Q3 returns 20 mpg in city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined, regardless of how many wheels are driven.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Audi Q3 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. All-wheel drive is a $2,100 option.

Premium ($32,750) comes standard with 18-in alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, aluminum roof rails, leather seating surfaces, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 60/40 split/folding rear seats with a center pass-through, front and rear parking sensors, 130-degree rearview camera, monochromatic trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 10-speaker audio system with iPod connectivity, SD card slot, USB charging port and satellite/HD radio.

Premium Plus ($35,450) has automatic xenon headlights, fog lights, keyless entry/ignition, power tailgate with adjustable opening heights, heated/power-folding mirrors (self-dimming on the driver's side), self-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass, ambient LED interior lighting, heated front seats. This trim is eligible for optional 19-inch alloy wheels.

 Prestige ($40,150) adds a color trip computer, 19-in alloy wheels, Audi's MMI infotainment system with dash-mounted controller and 7-in display, navigation, Audi Connect (including mobile Wi-Fi, Google Earth map imagery and Google Points of Interest search), voice controls, blind spot monitoring, and a 14-speaker/465-watt Bose audio system.

The MMI system (including the color trip computer) can be added to the Premium Plus trim as an option, although the Audi Connect system is exclusive to the Prestige. The Prestige's safety items are also available on the Premium Plus.

A Sport Plus package is optional for the Prestige trim. This includes a 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles, sport front seats, 19-in 10-spoke alloy wheels with a titanium matte finish, Audi Drive Select (providing adjustable drive modes with specific steering, throttle and transmission calibrations) and a Black Optic exterior appearance bundle (black grille, roof rails and window surrounds).

Safety

The Q3 comes standard with anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, hill-descent control and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Optional features include blind spot monitoring.

Due to its older design, the Q3 lacks cutting-edge features such as adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation or lane-keeping assistance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the Q3 its top score of Good in all major crash test categories.

Behind the Wheel

The Q3 mostly meets Audi's high standards in terms of materials and build quality. Relative to the Q5, the biggest technological downside is that the Q3 Premium Plus doesn't come standard with the MMI system at all, while the Q3 Prestige's MMI setup (optional on Premium Plus) features a dashboard-mounted controller that may require an awkward reach to operate. In the Q5, the dash-mounted version comes as standard and the upgraded (extra-cost) version has a superior console-mounted controller that is not available on the Q3.

The standard front seats have plenty of support for long hauls, and both get the same power adjustments (8-way positioning plus 4-way lumbar). The special seats that come with the Sport Plus package add side bolsters, which are perhaps too prominent for the typical crossover shopper.

Predictably, the super-compact Q3's rear accommodations are cramped for adults, and cargo capacity measures a modest 16.7 cu ft. behind the rear seats, expanding to 48.2 cubic feet with those seats folded down.

The refined 200-hp turbo engine feels stronger than the projected 7.8-second sprint to 60 mph suggests (8.2 seconds with all-wheel drive). Still, there's no denying this is an older engine used primarily in Volkswagen products -- including the related Tiguan -- whereas the Q5 and most other Audi vehicles use a different version with more power and torque. The 6-speed transmission is also a bit of a relic. Most other Audi models have upgraded to an 8-speed transmission. Like the engine, though, it doesn't feel outdated, even if it technically is.

The Q3 is capable enough in corners, but it's hardly a performance-oriented crossover. Its natural habitat is the highway, where the compliant-yet-composed ride underlines the Q3's luxury status. We've mentioned the Tiguan parallels, but the suspension is actually a mix of various Volkswagen and Audi platforms, and you can feel the difference. It's an appropriately upscale driving experience.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 BMW X1 -- A firm ride, but a fun drive. Plus a versatile, high-quality interior. Definitely look into this model.

2017 Lexus NX200t -- Like the best-selling RX, only smaller.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class -- A sportier drive, but interior materials aren't as good.

2017 MINI Countryman -- All-new generation for 2017. Less cargo space than the Q3, but a sliding rear seat means adults can ride back there. More fun as well.

Used Audi Q5 -- A clean, certified pre-owned (CPO) Q5 will cost about the same as a brand-new Q3. As long as the larger size is not intimidating, you'll like the better features and capabilities.

Autotrader's Advice

With a new generation imminent, either play the waiting game or use that information to negotiate hard for a 2017 Q3.

Find an Audi Q3 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2017 Audi Q3 2.0T Prestige
Used 2017 Audi Q3
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Used 2017 Audi Q3 quattro 2.0T Prestige
Used 2017 Audi Q3
$28,312
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Certified 2017 Audi Q3 quattro 2.0T Premium
Certified 2017 Audi Q3
$25,412
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Used 2017 Audi Q3 2.0T Premium
Used 2017 Audi Q3
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2017 Audi Q3: New Car Review - Autotrader