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2021 Audi Q3 Review

The 2021 Audi Q3 ranks near the top of the luxury subcompact SUV class. The Q3 expertly blends dynamic handling and a coddling ride with a premium interior full of intuitive tech features. Its above-average predicted reliability rating also doesn’t hurt.

Pros & Cons

  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Nice balance of comfort and agility
  • High-class cabin materials
  • Straightforward tech features
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Unrefined transmission
  • Small cargo hold




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 8.3
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.4 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Audi Q3 a Good SUV?

Yes, the 2021 Audi Q3 is a great luxury subcompact SUV. Inside, it boasts an opulent, spacious cabin and a straightforward infotainment system, as well as tech goodies such as wireless Apple CarPlay and handwriting recognition. The Q3 has a good predicted reliability rating, and its ride strikes a nice balance between serenity and sportiness. However, this vehicle trails some of its rivals when it comes to cargo space and fuel economy.

Why You Can Trust Us: 14 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates and cargo space dimensions with 14 professional Audi Q3 reviews.

This review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

Should I Buy the Audi Q3?

The Q3 is a well-rounded vehicle that’s definitely worth considering. Great as it is, there are several compelling options among small crossover SUVs. The BMW X1 has sharp handling, as well as more space for passengers and cargo than the Q3. You could also consider the Volvo XC40, which has an elegant cabin and better fuel economy estimates.

Find a 2021 Audi Q3 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Audi Q3: What's the Difference?

For the 2021 model year, Audi made S-Line exterior styling and lane departure warning standard in the Q3. Also, the Prestige trim was discontinued, and its features became optional in the Premium Plus trim.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Q3 »

Here are the key changes for the Audi Q3 over the last few years:

  • 2018: Prestige trim not available
  • 2019: fully redesigned with a stronger engine (gained 28 horsepower and 51 pound-feet of torque), standard Quattro all-wheel drive, a revamped infotainment system, and more standard and available features
  • 2020: no notable changes
  • 2021: Prestige trim dropped; S-Line exterior styling and lane departure warning became standard

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Q3, 2019 Q3, and 2020 Q3 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Audi Q3 Cost?

The 2021 Audi Q3 has a base MSRP of $36,000, which is about average for a luxury subcompact SUV. That’s a bit of a price hike from previous models, and it’s mostly due to the addition of standard S-Line exterior styling and standard lane departure warning.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi Q3 Versus the Competition

Audi Q3 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLA

Redesigned for 2021, the Mercedes-Benz GLA has a punchy powertrain that rivals the Q3’s, and it's available with even more-robust engines in the high-performance Mercedes-AMG models. Also, its total cargo space eclipses the Q3’s. However, the Audi has significantly more cargo room behind its rear seats, as well as more upscale cabin materials. Both models are expected to have similar retail prices.

Compare the Q3 and GLA »

Audi Q3 vs. BMW X1

The BMW X1 is another great choice in the luxury subcompact SUV class. Its engine has the same horsepower rating as the Q3’s, though the X1's handling is more agile. Inside, the BMW doesn’t look or feel as upscale as the Audi, but it has a larger cargo hold, and its infotainment system is easy to use, though Android users may prefer the Q3 since the X1 lacks Android Auto. The Audi has more standard features than the BMW, including leather seats and all-wheel drive. In a side-by-side comparison, there’s no wrong choice between these German rivals.

Compare the Q3 and X1 »

Compare the Q3, GLA, and X1 »

Q3 Interior: High-Tech and Comfortable

Q3 Cargo Space

With 23.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, this Audi has a decently sized cargo hold for a small SUV. However, its total of 48 cubic feet behind the front seats is below average.

How Many People Does the Q3 Seat?

This SUV has seating for up to five people. Leather upholstery is standard, as are heated and 12-way power-adjustable front seats. Front sport seats are optional.

The front seats provide all-day comfort, although some shoppers may want to upgrade to the sport seats for their additional side support. For a subcompact vehicle, the rear seats are surprisingly roomy, thanks to their ability to slide and recline. Still, some passengers may find them confining after a while.

Q3 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the rear outboard seats. The rear middle seat has a single tether and the ability to borrow lower anchors from each side. The whole setup is easy to use.

Q3 Interior Quality

A clean interior with modern styling, soft-touch surfaces, and high-tech features helps this vehicle’s cabin rank among the nicest in the class.

Q3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Unlike larger Audis, which have dual-screen infotainment setups, the Q3's MMI infotainment system has a single touch screen. It uses haptic feedback, meaning the virtual button you touch vibrates to signal it received your input. The system is responsive and intuitive, and there are well-placed physical controls for climate settings. The standard wireless Apple CarPlay is a rarity even among luxury vehicles.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8.8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, four USB ports, HD Radio, a 10-speaker stereo, Android Auto, and wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Available infotainment features: a 10.1-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, wireless device charging, and a 12.3-inch digital display (Audi's Virtual Cockpit)
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and a panoramic sunroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Q3 Performance: Dynamic but Thirsty

Q3 Engine

Powering this crossover is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The turbo-four has enough muscle to get you around town and up to speed on the freeway. It never feels strained, although there can be tiny hints of turbo lag when taking off from a stop. The transmission is criticized for its occasional rough shifts.

Q3 Gas Mileage

At the time of writing, the EPA has not evaluated the 2021 Q3, but the mechanically identical 2020 model gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Even considering the Audi’s standard Quattro all-wheel drive, those ratings are poor for a small luxury SUV.

Q3 Ride and Handling

The Q3 is fun to drive, with light steering and sturdy brakes. This Audi has a silky ride on most pavement, and there are five drive modes to adjust throttle response and suspension firmness for greater comfort or agility. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard.

Read more about performance »

Q3 Reliability

Is the Audi Q3 Reliable?

The 2021 Audi Q3 has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five.

Audi Q3 Warranty

Audi covers the Q3 with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Q3 Safety

Q3 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Audi Q3. However, it gave the nearly identical 2020 model the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. The Premium trim’s headlights received the lowest rating of Poor for forward visibility, while the Premium Plus earned a Good rating.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The 2020 Q3 earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system and the lowest rating of Basic for its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also evaluated the 2020 Q3, giving it an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Q3 received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Q3 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Lane departure warning
  • Audi Pre Sense Basic (rolls up windows and tightens seat belts if sensors detect an imminent collision)
  • Audi Pre Sense Front (forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Traffic sign recogniton
  • Adaptive cruise control

Read more about safety »

Q3 Dimensions and Weight

The Q3 is 14.7 feet long. It has a curb weight of 3,916 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Audi Q3 Built?

Audi builds the 2021 Q3 in Hungary.

Which Audi Q3 Model Is Right for Me?

Audi makes the 2021 Q3 in two trim levels: Premium and Premium Plus. The range-topping Prestige trim has been discontinued for 2021, and its features have been redistributed into packages. At the time of writing, Audi has not released pricing for any of the Q3’s packages.

Every Q3 comes with a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, an automatic transmission, and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive. The main difference between the two trims is features. The base Premium is well-equipped, but it’s worth upgrading to the Premium Plus. It doesn’t cost that much more, and it can be outfitted with numerous comfort, safety, and tech features that aren’t available in the base trim.

Audi Q3 Premium

The entry-level Premium has a starting MSRP of $36,000. Standard equipment includes the MMI infotainment system, an 8.8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker stereo, HD Radio, four USB ports, Bluetooth, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a power liftgate. Standard safety features include Audi Pre Sense Basic, Audi Pre Sense Front, automatic high-beam headlights, and lane departure warning.

The Convenince package adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, satellite radio, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Audi Q3 Premium Plus

The Premium Plus retails for $39,300. It gains wireless device charging, Audi Side Assist, adaptive cruise control, remote start, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a hands-free power liftgate, and the contents of the Convenience package.

An available Technology package outfits the Premium Plus with a 10.1-inch touch screen, handwriting recognition and gesture controls, a navigation system, Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, and traffic sign recognition. There’s also a Parking Assistance package, which adds driver assistance features such as a surround-view parking camera system and park assist.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

See 2021 Audi Q3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The new Audi Q3 is a compelling choice among luxury subcompact SUVs. It’s a well-rounded vehicle, combining an elegant, feature-rich interior with a comfortable ride and playful handling. It does have a few downsides, such as a coarse-shifting transmission and below-average gas mileage, but those are relatively minor compared to its strengths.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Q3 stands out with its standard quattro all-wheel-drive system and a long list of included features such as leather interior and a panoramic sunroof. Unlike rivals, only one powertrain is offered in the Q3, and we found its transmission in need of more refinement. But there’s good power on tap. Cargo space isn’t quite as generous as that of the boxy Volvo’s but considerable nonetheless for a subcompact SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This second-generation Q3 has a more substantial presence and feel and design-wise looks like the proper little brother to the Audi Q5. The Q3 stands out from the pack with standard all-wheel drive, cool technology, standard leather interior and fit and finish that’s a cut above. Only one engine is available, though, and we wish its transmission were more refined. That gripe aside, the Q3 rightfully stands at the head of its class." -- Autotrader
  • "Audi's cheeky little SUV offers exactly what we expected from the tech-loving German automaker in a handsome and mostly practical package." -- Car and Driver


Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

Class-Leading Sales: The Audi Q3 placed in the middle of the pack at the end of the 2019 luxury subcompact SUV sales race. Since then, the Q3 has vaulted the competition to take the top spot ahead of popular competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volvo XC40. The Q3 was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year, and the upgrade appears to have turbocharged consumer interest.

Research more buying advice »
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2021 Audi Q3

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