21 June 2023
2022 Audi Q3 – Sensible Balance

The Audi Q3 range is a value proposition for prospective SUV consumers looking for a compact city cruiser.

The Audi Q3 has always been a hot seller on our shores, and it’s easy to see why. It’s Audi’s premier compact SUV and a fierce rival to competitors like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

First revealed in 2019, the Q3 hasn’t had much of a refresh compared to its rivals. But with its mild-hybrid heart, is it still a worthwhile investment?

Looks that charm

While newer Audi models have sharper looks and more prominent jagged creases, the Q3 remains one of the more subtle body styles of the range. This isn’t bad by any means, with its subtle styling enabling it to fly under the ‘obnoxious’ radar. A lil’ stealth wealth, as they call it.

The Audi Q3 actually has two different exterior facades – the SUV and Sportback. Opting for the latter sees a more aggressive front fascia, and the tapered roofline towards the rear gives it sleeker appeal, albeit at the expense of some boot space.

Whichever roofline you decide to settle on, the Audi Q3 has looks most buyers will be chuffed with.

Simple easy to use tech

While the Audi Q3’s cockpit isn’t going to attract any ‘ooos’ or ‘ahhs’ at first glance, its clean design and easy usability are huge plus points for daily runabouts. No point having large pretty screens if they’re crap to use, right?

The Q3 makes do with a 12.3-inch configurable Virtual Cockpit Plus and a 10.1-inch central MMI touchscreen. Most of your vehicle settings can be toggled via the centre screen, but Audi has left out HVAC and other crucial vehicle functions like the drive mode selector as separate physical controls.

It’s subtle trinkets like these that make the car much more intuitive to use, and I adore them. Although, the overall dark theme of the cabin does make it a fingerprint magnet.

As with all modern cars, a suite of safety systems is ever-present, although the Q3 lacks features like adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alerts. At least there’s a 360-degree camera, which makes reversing manoeuvres less of a challenge.

Family fun

In terms of being family-friendly, the Audi Q3 is pretty competent. There’s room for 5 without the need to jostle for space, and even the Sportback’s sloping roofline doesn’t impede too much into interior headroom. ISOfix points are available for child seats too.

The second-row seats are adjustable too, sectioning off 530 litres of cargo room. The boot’s wide aperture makes cargo ingress a trivial affair as well.

Extra charge

The Audi Q3 refresh sees it gain mild hybrid abilities, the same system found in the Audi A3 range. Pluckly 1.5-litre turbocharged four-pot mated to a teeny tiny motor and equally tiny battery pack, doesn’t sound very impressive right?

You don’t get additional power from the system as well – output still remains at 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. So then, how is this any better than its predecessor?

The trick up the Q3’s sleeve is its ability to shut the engine off during coasting or braking, and over the course of my few days with the car, I managed to get an average reading of 14.2km/litre. In petrol tank terms, that’s roughly 850km from its 60-litre capacity. Not bad for a decently sized SUV.

There was some enthusiastic pedal pressing found in between too, so your mileage may vary. If you have a frugal foot, 900km on a tank is a relatively easy target to achieve.

Although, it must be said that the Q3 doesn’t like to be pushed. Its century sprint timing is a leisurely 9.4-seconds, and in the midst of achieving those numbers the 1.5-litre will produce agricultural bang and clatter. Big props to the insulation though, who does a decent job in isolating the ruckus from the engine bay.

The Q3 isn’t going to win you favours in the corners either, and it doesn’t have to. If you’re expecting something that can corner with minimal body roll, why are you even looking at an SUV? Otherwise, the car does a decent job ironing out kinks in the road, and road noise is kept to a minimum thanks to the aforementioned insulation. 

Sensible in specs, not in price

The Audi Q3 presents itself as a competent all-rounder, exemplifying traits from its larger SUV brethren. It’s attractive, subtly classy, and well-built. It might not be an upper-class German, but it’s a great starting point for those looking to pick up a set of reliable continental wheels.

But, the Q3 is pretty pricey, coming in at S$253,445 for the SUV and S$261,661 for the Sportback (at the time of writing). This puts it in the firing line of competition like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Should COE prices mellow down into respectable figures (if any), the Q3 will come into its own. But for now, the Q3 isn’t a victim of its own shortcomings, but rather external factors dictating its economic viability.

Technical Specifications

Audi Q3 Mild Hybrid

Engine: 1,498cc in-line 4 turbocharged, mild hybrid

Power: 110kw (148bhp)

Torque: 250Nm

Gearbox: 7-speed S-Tronic

0-100km/h: 9.4 seconds (claimed)

Top Speed: 206km/h

Fuel Economy: 17.3km/L (claimed)

Price: S$253,445 (Standard) / S$261,661 (Sportback), both with COE (accurate at the time of this article)

Contact: Audi Singapore

Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

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