The 2020 Audi Q3 is a premium subcompact crossover/SUV. But forget anything you knew about the old Q3, because this second generation model that debuted for 2019 is a massive leap forward. Whereas Q3 version 1.0 didn’t meet the sort of lofty standards to which a luxury automaker such as Audi should always aspire, version 2.0 is undoubtedly worthy of the Audi badge in its grille.
As Audi’s least expensive crossover, the Q3 serves as an entry point to the brand. Its simple-yet-elegant (and well-constructed) interior is similar to those found in Audi’s newer sedans, offering equipment such as 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 its philosophy with the much bigger, new Q8 SUV, illustrating the company’s latest SUV design language. Naturally, it’s unmistakably Audi, but there’s a welcome addition of attitude as well.
This newer generation Q3 gets the basics right, offering more passenger and cargo space than before while adding versatility with a sliding and reclining rear seat. A revised engine sees increases of 28 horsepower and 51 lb-ft of torque when compared with the previous Q3, while a new 8-speed transmission adds two more gears compared with the previous-generation.
What’s New for 2020?
The Q3 was all-new for 2019, and the 2020 model carries over unchanged — save for an adjusted nomenclature that does away with the old “2.0T” engine branding in favor of a new “45 TFSI” moniker. This new naming structure doesn’t make a lot of sense to us currently, but we imagine the logic behind it will become more apparent as Audi applies it throughout more of its lineup. See the Audi Q3 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Easy to park
- Premium ride quality
- Approachable price
What We Don’t
- Transmission doesn’t always shift as smoothly as it could
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2020 Q3 returns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Audi Q3 is sold in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. An S-line version is available for the Premium and Premium Plus models and standard on the Prestige, adding 19-in alloy wheels and various cosmetic touches.
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 and 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 folding and sliding rear seats.
Premium trim is eligible for a Convenience package that adds keyless entry and ignition, powered hands-free lift gate operation, an alarm, a universal garage door opener, front and 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 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 forwardmost 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.
In crash testings conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Audi Q3 performed admirably in all major categories, earning a coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation when fitted with the full LED headlights offered on Premium Plus models and up.
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). Rear passenger side airbags, oddly, are only optional.
Behind the Wheel
The Q3 offers a useful range of adjustment to the seats and steering wheel, meaning that your ideal driving position is there — you just have to find it. Once settled in, you’ll likely find the front seats to be pleasantly supportive. Additionally, while most European cars offer an aggressively-tuned suspension, you’ll probably find the Q3’s ride quality to be pretty good.
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’s also perfectly appropriate for a longer trip. Four adults fit comfortably, as long as they pack light. The sliding rear seat has 5.9 inches of travel, while there are storage 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 a large-size iPhone.
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 has plenty of potency that’s well suited to just about any scenario. 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 kindly.
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
2020 Mazda CX-5 — For less money, the CX-5 offers more space, more power, standard active safety features and an equally attractive design inside and out. It just doesn’t come with an Audi badge on the hood.
Used Audi Q5 — A clean, certified pre-owned Q5 will cost about the same as a brand-new Q3 and offers more space.
The Q3 is yet another option in the expanding sea of small compact crossovers. It offers an upscale design, good driving dynamics and decent available feature content at a price that makes it approachable to a younger demographic. As far as trim levels go, we’d most likely look to the mid-tier Premium Plus model. The orange Alcantara package might be tempting, since Audi also offers an orange exterior color, 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 also 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