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2018 Audi Q3

$32,900 - $36,000
Price Range (MSRP)
Audi Q3

2018 Audi Q3 Review

by Roger Biermann

The Audi Q3 exemplifies what young and active professional types are looking for in a vehicle. Is it a lifted hatchback? Or is it a compact SUV? Its official classification is something along the lines of "premium subcompact crossover." Whatever you'd like to call it, the Q3 has found a nice little niche for itself and is nestled between the A3 Sportback and the larger Q5. Cars that try to take on too many roles tend to disappoint in at least one or two of them, but that's where the magic behind the Q3 comes in. The 2018 Audi Q3 manages to blur the lines between being a hatchback and a luxury crossover so well, that you start to ask yourself the question: why can't more cars be like this? The current Q3 is due for replacement in the second half of 2018.

2018 Audi Q3 Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 Q3?

For 2018, the base trim Q3 is loaded with more features as standard, including styling updates and interior luxuries such as heated front seats. The top of the line Prestige model has been dropped for 2018, but all the features that came with it have been incorporated into its list of optional packages, such as the convenience package that adds a power liftgate and other tricks to make living with the Q3 that much easier. If you bought the Q3 due to family responsibilities, but you still miss your hot hatchback, Audi offers a Sport Plus package that should help you rekindle the glory days.

Pros and Cons

  • Well packaged
  • Good ride quality
  • Good user interface
  • Premium feel
  • Rear passenger space
  • Gas mileage could be better
  • Lacks some safety tech on base model
  • Optional extras can get expensive

Q3 Exterior

For those who have never seen the Q3, but know what an Audi generally looks like, the Q3's styling would come at no surprise. It follows Audi's well-planned formula and can be seen as a natural progression, slotting in the Audi range with careful thought and calculation. The Q3 uses the familiar formula of using a shrunken down SUV styled body shape and making it fit on a subcompact frame, and in this case, it works pretty well but it does look more like a hatchback than a fully fledged crossover SUV. For 2018 Audi has reworked the front bumper slightly, and it goes a long way to make the 2018 model look as good as its younger contemporaries. The Q3 is a handsome little car, and looks fresh, despite being almost seven years old.

2018 Audi Q3 Front View
2018 Audi Q3 Front View
2018 Audi Q3 Front View
See All 2018 Audi Q3 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Compared to other premium subcompact crossovers, the Q3 follows suit; it's 172.8 inches long, about three inches longer than a Mini Cooper Countryman, but one inch shorter than a Mercedes GLA. The Q3 is 71 inches wide and has a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. These dimensions remind us that the Q3 is a small car, despite the macho lifted looks. Compared to the Mercedes GLA and Mini's Countryman (both in four-wheel drive spec), the Q3 is rather hefty, weighing in at 3,671 pounds, 261 pounds more than the Mini, and a considerable 243 pounds more than the GLA.

Exterior Colors

Keeping its target market in mind, Audi offers the 2018 Q3 in ten exterior colors, all well suited to the car's young, yet premium look and feel. Standard color options on the Q3 are Brilliant Black, Cortina White, and Manhattan Gray Metallic, but new owners will be able to select from a broad range of optional colors including Cuvee Silver, Daytona Gray Pearl, Florett Silver Glacier White Misano Red Pearl, Mythos Black, and Utopia Blue.

  • Glacier White Metallic
  • Florett Silver Metallic
  • Mythos Black Metallic
  • Utopia Blue Metallic, Build Out:01/10/18
  • Misano Red Pearl Effect
  • Cuvee Silver Metallic, Build Out:09/06/17
  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect
  • Hainan Blue Metallic, Build Out:02/07/18
  • Camouflage Green Metallic
  • Cortina White
  • Brilliant Black
  • Manhattan Gray Metallic, Build Out:10/04/18

Q3 Performance

Modern premium subcompact crossovers have to play the role of three or more cars at once. They have to be practical hatchbacks, off-road SUVs and sporty sedans all at once. The 2018 Q3 does a credible job of imitating all of those. As a city car, it moves along with enough pace to get you ahead of traffic, and although it isn't a hot hatchback, its turbocharger two-liter engine does a fine job of getting it on the go. Although zero to sixty times aren't impressive by modern standards (the Q3's weight doesn't do it any favors), it still manages to get to the mark in the sub-nine second bracket and will continue on to 130 mph. Audi's party trick is how well it balances performance, handling and comfort, and the A3 does this better than most in its class.

2018 Audi Q3 In Motion
2018 Audi Q3 In Motion
2018 Audi Q3 Front Left Wheel

Engine and Transmission

Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four is the only engine option available for the US market, and is well tuned for city driving. Its power delivery feels punchy and flexible and makes the most of the 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque on offer. The Mercedes GLA offers a lot more torque (over 50 lb-ft more) but the Q3's well-spaced gear ratios make up for the lesser number. The Q3 is fitted with a 6-speed auto transmission (sorry but you won't be able to get one with a manual trans) that is expertly matched to the turbo-four engine. The Q3 is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive Quattro configuration. Audi found a good compromise between low-speed tractability and high-speed refinement with this powertrain combination, and the competition will do well to take note.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Audi Q3 rides on a front strut and rear multi-link suspension setup and makes contact with the road via a set of 18-inch P235/50HR18 tires front to back. Steering feedback is less than that of the BMW X2, but the Q3 manages to feel sportier, and also surpasses the GLA for ride comfort. The electrical power steering is light, and the Q3 feels fleet-footed around town but loads up when you change direction more abruptly. The front-wheel-drive Q3 handles beautifully and will transition into predictable understeer when pushed hard. The all-wheel-drive Quattro version grips the road hard and provides the driver with an added sense of security knowing that the car will remain stable and somewhat predictable even during the worst driving conditions.

Q3 Gas Mileage

One area where the Q3 manages to disappoint is fuel consumption. Audi's baby crossover might seem like a tyke size wise but in reality it weighs quite a lot, it sits high in the air, and in Quattro guise, it has to spin all four wheels. You can expect numbers of around 20/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined. In comparison, the more powerful Mercedes GLA will get 23/31/26 mpg. The Q3 has a fuel capacity of 16.9 gallons, giving it an estimated range of just over 400 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/28 mpg
* 2018 Audi Q3 2.0T Premium Plus FWD

Q3 Interior

The Q3's interior might seem rather stark when compared to other Audis higher up in the range, but that doesn't mean that the German automaker has cut costs on build quality. The dashboard layout is clean and simple but looks almost a bit too barren, but the controls are easy to find, and operation of the various knobs and buttons gives off a premium feel. The moonroof makes the cabin feel somewhat airier during the daytime, despite it actually limiting headroom. Forward visibility isn't great but is enough to enjoy the heightened ride. Rear visibility is somewhat more of an issue thanks to the small slanting rear window.

2018 Audi Q3 Driver Area
2018 Audi Q3 Dashboard Layout
2018 Audi Q3 Driver Area
See All 2018 Audi Q3 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Q3 has to make do with a very limited amount of interior space, and the first casualties are usually the backseat passengers. The driver and front seat passenger are well taken care of, and there's just enough head and leg space for six-footers, although some might complain about the moonroof taking up some valuable headroom real estate. The front seats are comfy, but the optional sports seats are in a league of their own and is an option worth looking at for new buyers. Back seat passengers won't be having a great time, especially taller ones. The Q3's 31.1-inches of rear legroom lags behind its competitors, as does its 37.4 inches of headroom. Urban couples and small families will be able to make the most of the cramped interior.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Q3 Trunk and Cargo Space

With the rear seats in the upright position, the Q3 offers a useful 16.7 cubic feet of space from the trunk floor to ceiling. That's a considerable amount bigger than what its sibling the A4 sedan has to offer (13 cubic feet) but is slightly less spacious than the Mercedes GLA's 17.2 cubic feet. The Q3 shows its practical side once the rear seats are folded down to reveal 43.6 cubic feet of space; enough for a week's worth of groceries or a small dog hammock. Small storage is sufficient, however, the glovebox and door pockets seem a bit slim.

2018 Audi Q3 Cargo Area
2018 Audi Q3 Cargo Area
2018 Audi Q3 Rear View

Q3 Infotainment and Features

Features

The Q3 might be the baby of the Audi SUV family, but that doesn't mean that it has been left threadbare. The base model sits pretty with standard 18-inch alloy wheels and S-line exterior finishes, including a redesigned front bumper and side sills. LED daytime running lights freshen up the Q3's face even further. On the inside, the list of standard features keep piling on. Up front, you'll find ventilated and heated seats that can be adjusted in 12 different ways. Subtle features such as keyless start/stop and a rearview camera turn the Q3 into a car that will make the daily hustle that much easier. The Premium Plus takes things to the next level with blind spot monitoring, full LED head- and taillights and a power liftgate make it feel like a proper little luxury SUV.

Infotainment

The Q3's infotainment system fails to impress. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration, and users get the bare minimum in terms of streaming and connectivity. Sound is channeled through a crisp ten-speaker setup, and you'll be able to listen to the radio (both traditional and satellite). A single USB port and Bluetooth streaming come as standard. Optional extras in the infotainment department include a 14-speaker Bose audio system for the Premium Plus trim and Audi's MMI Navigation Plus package which includes an additional SD card slot, Audi connect with online services, Audi's MMI Navigation Plus system and compass, a 7-inch multi-function display screen and a voice activating system for audio input controls.

Q3 Problems and Reliability

The Audi Q3 has had four recalls in recent years; the first was issued on December 29 and was due to an issue that could affect the deployment of the airbags and/or seatbelt pretensioners failing to activate, putting the occupants of the car at extra risk of injury or death. The second recall came in 2018 for an issue with the braking system where an insufficient amount of coating on the brake caliper pistons could lead to a deterioration of the car's braking performance. The following two recalls were both issued in 2019. The first was for an issue with the brake booster system that could cause the hydraulic braking system to fail. The second was for a faulty wheel arch trim piece that could come undone and pose a risk to both occupants and pedestrians. The 2018 Audi Q3 fared well on the J.D. Power quality index, scoring an average of 78, and a solid seven out of ten for overall quality. Audi backs its product with a one-year/10,000 mile free maintenance plan, a basic four-year/50,000-mile warranty, and a four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty.

Q3 Safety

The 2018 model hasn't officially been rated by the NHTSA as of yet, but it did fare well on the IIHS test circuit, scoring good for front small and moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength and head restraints & seats. However, it did receive a poor score rating for its headlights, which would most likely be for the base model Xenon headlamps and not the full LED units. In Europe, the Q3 scored a full five stars on their NCAP ratings system and can be considered to be one of the safer cars in the subcompact SUV class.

Key Safety Features

The safety tech on the 2018 Q3 isn't revolutionary, and neither is it class leading, but there's enough to keep it competitive with the rest of the compact crossovers. The Q3's standard safety features include blind spot warning (a useful trick as the Q3's blind spot is a big one), Audi's accident avoidance system, post-collision safety system and emergency braking assist. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking fail to make an appearance as do any of the high tech Audi pre-sense systems found further up in the range.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Audi Q3 a good SUV?

The Audi Q3 is a strong contender in the premium subcompact crossover class, and despite its age still manages to outperform newer rivals in terms of ride quality, comfort, and practicality. The Q3's exterior still looks fresh thanks to an updated exterior package for 2018, but it shows its age on the inside, where the cabin can feel a bit spartan. The build quality, however, remains top-notch, as you'd expect from Audi. It also fails to impress with it's older infotainment system and a lack of premium safety features. Where the Q3 shines is on the road. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed auto delivers responsive and punchy performance. On the road, the Q3 feels sportier than its German rivals but still manages to feel compliant when driving over rough surfaces. Good cargo space and an overall balanced package make the Q3 a practical city car for couples or small families.

What's the Price of the 2018 Audi Q3?

The 2018 Audi Q3 is competitively priced for its class, and the base Premium trimmed car, which boasts more extras than ever, will start at an MSRP of $32,900. The Premium Sport is next on the price list and adds an extra $1,975 to the asking price. The Q3 Premium Plus which gets a host of premium tech and safety additions will cost almost $3,000 more than the standard Premium spec car at $35,800. The top-of-the-line Sport Premium Plus goes for an asking price of $36,775. These prices exclude licensing, registration and a $975 destination fee. Even with all the option boxes ticked, the Q3 is still only a grand or so more than a base 4Matic Mercedes-Benz GLA.

2018 Audi Q3 Models

For 2018 Audi has dropped the Prestige trim, and in its place comes two trims, namely the Premium and Premium Plus, both available in sport trim, which technically gives you four trim levels to choose from. The Prestige's high-end features have been subdivided into various optional packages that can be selected when buying the car. The lineup starts off with the Premium, which, for 2018, gets bigger 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running head and tail lights, factory fitted roof rails, a panoramic moonroof, front to back parking sensors and rearview camera, climate control, power adjustable and heated front seats, full leather upholstery and an infotainment system featuring ten speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, a single USB port, satellite and traditional radio and iPhone charge port. The Premium also comes with Audi's convenience package pre-selected. It includes an engine start button, premium alloy interior inserts, keyless entry a power liftgate, and auto-dimming mirrors. The Premium Plus takes what the base model gives (including the contents of the Convenience package) and incorporates full LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, and blind-spot detection.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0T Premium
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$32,900
2.0T Premium Plus
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$32,900
2.0T Sport Premium
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,900
2.0T Sport Premium Plus
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,900
See All 2018 Audi Q3 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Since Audi decided to can the Prestige trim package, it's had to subdivide and repackage the optional extras. The Convenience package is oddly enough included in both trim levels and consists of a few interior touches such as special aluminum trim, keyless entry, and ignition as well as some practical benefits in the form of a powered liftgate and auto dimming side mirror lights. The Sports package is really an appearance package with a fancy name and is made up of the following: 19-inch wheels, sport bucket seats in the front, a programmed sport driving modes and shift paddles behind the steering wheel. The Sport Plus package is only available on the Premium Plus trim and for $2,000 extra you'll get massive 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in summer tires, an RS inspired flat-bottom steering wheel, bucket seats, Audi drive select (that gives you a bunch of driving modes to select from), and the Black Optic exterior appearance which adds a load of sporty design features, the most notable being the RS roof spoiler.

What Audi Q3 Model Should I Buy?

The Audi Q3 is due for replacement later in the year, hence why Audi has freshened up the current generation. This is a good thing for prospective buyers looking for a good deal. The standard features list is longer than ever, and you'll be able to talk down the price at your local dealership. For what the Q3 is, and where it will most likely spend most of its time, the front-wheel-drive Premium with the added convenience package will be perfect. Besides, dropping the all-wheel-drive Quattro system will improve fuel consumption, and will help the Q3 accelerate faster (who would've thought). The Sports package might give the Q3 a bit more street cred, but the larger wheels and the sports-tuned suspension doesn't do it any favors when it comes to ride comfort. Stick with the base model, tick a few options (The sport seats come to mind) and call it a day.

2018 Audi Q3 Comparisons

2018 Audi Q3
2018 Audi Q3

2018 Audi Q3 vs Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV

You can find a number of similarities when comparing the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250. In base form, they both start at the low $30k mark, with the Q3 being slightly less expensive at $32,900 versus the GLA's asking price of $33,400. Both are powered 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines, with the Mercedes GLA producing a touch more horsepower than the Q3 (208 hp vs 200 hp). You can get either in front- or four-wheel drive, and both come exclusively with auto transmissions. The Audi is a heavier car by over 200 pounds, and also uses more fuel. The GLA is rated at 24/33/29 mpg city/highway/combined and the Q3 trails with 20/33/27 mpg. The Mercedes GLA 250 comes with more modern features and a bigger infotainment display screen, but the Audi drives better on the road.

See Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV Review

2018 Audi Q3 vs BMW X1

Both the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 are some of the best selling premium subcompact crossovers in the US. They offer premium interiors, a comfortable ride, and decent power. The Q3 beats the BMW on price as the X1 only comes in one trim, the sDrive28i, with a starting price of $33,900. In terms of interior space, the BMW X1 offers more room in the front and back, and offers more cargo space as well. Both interiors are well put together and have a robust feel about them. The newer BMW wins in the infotainment and features department, offering a standard 6.5-inch infotainment display unit with Apple CarPlay integration. The BMW is faster than the Q3 and uses less fuel. The BMW also drives better and can be quite pleasurable to throw around the bends, where the X1 will also keep you safer thanks to a higher level of standard safety features.

See BMW X1 Review

Audi Q3 Popular Comparisons

2018 Audi Q3 Video Review