The 2019 Audi Q3 is a premium subcompact crossover/SUV. But forget anything you knew about the old Q3, because this fresh, second-generation Q3 is a massive leap forward. Whereas Q3 Version 1.0 didn’t meet the sort of lofty standards to which an innovative, high-tech company like Audi should always aspire, Version 2.0 doesn’t so much make the grade as redefine it.
As Audi’s least expensive crossover/SUV, the 2019 Q3 is poised to bring more buyers into the premium fold. Its simple-yet-elegant (and well constructed) interior is similar to those found in Audi’s newer sedans, offering top-class equipment like the excellent Virtual Cockpit configurable driver information display, and an available infotainment system that responds to natural voice commands and handwritten inputs.
The exterior styling shares a few ideas with the much bigger, but also new Q8 SUV, illustrating the company’s latest design language for this type of vehicle. Naturally, it’s unmistakably Audi, but there’s a welcome addition of attitude as well.
The new Q3 also gets the basics right, offering more passenger and cargo space than before, while adding versatility with a slide/recline rear seat. A revised engine brings boosts of 28 horsepower and 51 lb-ft of torque, compared with the previous Q3, while a new transmission adds two more ratios.
What’s New for 2019?
This is an all-new generation that’s bigger, more powerful, better equipped, more sophisticated and more versatile than its predecessor. See the 2019 Audi Q3 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Easy to park
- Plenty of standard luxuries
- Premium ride quality
What We Don’t
- New transmission not always the smoothest shifter
The Q3 comes with Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system as standard. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, and the engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit rated at 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the 2019 Q3 returns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Audi Q3 is sold in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. But there’s also an S-line version for each trim that adds 19-in alloy wheels and various cosmetic additions. The Prestige trim is only available as the S-line model.
The Premium ($35,695; S-line $36,995) comes standard with 18-in alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, aluminum roof rails, LED headlights, LED taillights with dynamic turn signals, heated/power-folding side mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, push-button start, heated front seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, leather seating surfaces, dual-zone climate control, selectable driving modes, a powered lift gate, a 10.25-in digital driver information cluster, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, forward-collision warning, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, an 8.8-in infotainment touchscreen, four USB ports (including one Type-C USB port) and 40/20/40 split/fold/slide rear seats.
Premium trim is eligible for a Convenience package that adds keyless entry/ignition, powered/hands-free lift gate operation, an alarm, a universal garage door opener, front/rear parking sensors, satellite radio, lane-departure warning and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Premium Plus ($38,795; S-line $40,095) has the contents of the Convenience package as standard, along with a 12-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, wireless charging, phone signal booster, full LED headlights, LED cabin lighting, satellite radio, and a self-dimming rearview mirror with a digital compass.
This variant is eligible for an upgraded infotainment system that includes a larger touchscreen, navigation and Wi-Fi, plus adaptive cruise control.
The Prestige S-Line ($43,895) adds the 12.3-in Virtual Cockpit driver information display, navigation, a 10.1-in touchscreen with handwriting recognition, Wi-Fi, adaptive cruise control with a stop/go function, a self-dimming driver’s-side mirror, a top-view camera, customizable interior lighting, steering assistance when parking, and a Bang & Olufsen 680-watt/15-speaker "3D" audio system.
Both Premium Plus and Prestige are eligible for 20-in alloy wheels, sport front seats, a multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles, and an interior treatment that includes orange Alcantara (simulated suede). Rear side airbags are also optional throughout the 2019 Q3 range.
Cargo capacity measures 18.7 cu ft. behind the rear seats, stretching to 23.7 cu ft. when those seats are set to their forward-most position. When they’re folded down, the maximum area expands to 48 cu ft. There’s also a dual-height load floor, allowing some choice of how much to hide from view.
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).
This new generation of Q3 has not yet been crash-tested by any agencies in the United States. It did, however, score a maximum five stars in the European crash test program (Euro NCAP).
Behind the Wheel
It might take some time to find the ideal driving position, with tweaks to various seat and steering wheel parameters. But at least there is a useful range of adjustment. Once settled in, though, the front seats are pleasantly supportive. And a luxurious ride quality contributes to the overall comfort.
Although the Q3 might be considered an ideal city vehicle — with its raised driving position, quiet cabin, excellent outward vision, modest footprint and various driver aids on offer — it also makes long trips something to relish. Even when four adults are in the mix. The sliding rear seat has 5.9 inches of travel, while there are stowage areas on either side that are perfect for phones. Speaking of phones, the wireless charging pad in the center console (when fitted) is big enough to accommodate an iPhone 8 Plus.
Audi (along with parent company Volkswagen) has been perfecting the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder arrangement years before everyone else started following suit. The 228-hp setup here provides plenty of energy that’s well suited to the overall driving experience. The amount of effort required for steering, braking, accelerating and activating various controls feels just right — not too light, not too heavy.
It’s hardly a deal-breaker, but there’s just one minor issue. Under enthusiastic acceleration, the transmission’s shift action can sometimes be a tad abrupt. Because everything else is so refined, it becomes noticeable. But drive smoothly, with gentle inputs, and the Q3 responds in kind.
Now that this new Q3 is more spacious and more powerful than its predecessor, it isn’t hard to imagine some buyers choosing this over the next-size-up Q5.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 BMW X1 — A firm ride, but a fun drive. Plus a versatile, high-quality interior. Definitely look into this model.
2019 Mini Countryman — Less cargo area than the Q3, although a sliding rear seat means useful passenger space for adults. Quite fun as well.
The orange Alcantara package might be tempting, since Audi also offers Pulse Orange paint, or it could liven up a more conservative exterior color. But it does tend to reflect in the windshield. So make sure that won’t become an irritation. We’d be happy with a regular Premium Plus model as long as we could add the Virtual Cockpit and B&O system. Find an Audi Q3 for sale