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MSRP: $32,900 - 36,000

2018 Audi Q3 Review

The 2018 Audi Q3 falls short of the competition in the luxury subcompact SUV class. It has poor fuel economy estimates, an underpowered engine, and less-than-sporty handling. However, some rivals have a longer list of features.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Upscale cabin
  • Underpowered on the highway
  • Few standard features

New for 2018

  • Prestige trim no longer available
  • New convenience package for Premium trim

Is the Audi Q3 a Good SUV?

The 2018 Audi Q3 is just OK. While the Q3's small size makes it easy to maneuver, there are other luxury subcompact SUVs that have better overall performance. The Q3 has uninspired handling, and its engine isn't very powerful.

In terms of interior quality, however, the Audi is much more appealing with a cabin rich in high-quality materials. Passenger and cargo space are on par with rivals. However, the Q3 doesn't come standard with an infotainment system.

Should I Buy the Audi Q3?

There aren't many reasons to choose the 2018 Audi Q3 over other luxury subcompact SUVs. To make the Q3 competitive with the rest of the class, you'll have to spend more than the SUV's roughly $33,000 base price.

Rivals like the BMW X1 or Mercedes-Benz GLA are much better vehicles for around the same price as a base Q3. These rivals have more features and space, along with better performance. 

Compare the Q3, X1, and GLA »

Should I Buy a New or Used Audi Q3?

Audi introduced the Q3 as an all-new model for 2015, and it's seen minor changes every year since. The bulk of these changes focused on adding or removing trim levels and shuffling features. Audi eliminated the top-of-the-line Prestige model for 2018, dropping the number of Q3 trims from three to two. A new Convenience package is now available with the base model and includes keyless entry, a power liftgate, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. All things considered, a new 2018 Q3 could be a better value than the 2017 Q3, since the majority of features are either rolled into lower trims or available as part of cheaper option packages.

You could potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Audi Q3 instead of a new one. There were no major new features introduced over the past couple of years, so you can probably find a Q3 equipped just how you want it from any of the model years available. To learn more about previous iterations of the Q3, read our reviews for the 2015 Q3, 2016 Q3, and 2017 Q3. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Q3 »

We Did the Research for You: 25 Reviews Analyzed

We researched and analyzed 25 professional reviews and combined that analysis with information like performance specs, available infotainment and safety features, and much more to create one comprehensive 2018 Audi Q3 review. This 2018 Audi Q3 Review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2015 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team of writers, researchers, and analysts has decades of experience in the auto industry, and we’ve been ranking and reviewing cars for U.S. News & World Report since 2007. To keep our reviews impartial, we don’t accept expensive gifts, trips, or incentives from car companies, and all the ad placement on our site is handled by a separate team.

How Much Does the Audi Q3 Cost?

The standard 2018 Audi Q3 Premium starts at $32,900. There is only one other trim (Premium Plus), which starts at $35,800. You can add Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system to any Q3 for $2,100. Because the Q3 is slim on standard features, adding extras like an infotainment system, navigation, or a power tailgate will require purchasing an optional package. Checking all the options boxes brings the Q3's price to around $42,600. For more information about the Q3's standard and optional features, take a look at the "Which Audi Q3 Model Is Right for Me?" section below.

The 2018 Q3's price is in line with the rest of the class. A standard Mercedes-Benz GLA will cost you $33,400, and a BMW X1 starts at $33,900. 

Check out the 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

Which Is Better: Audi Q3 or BMW X1?

The BMW X1 has a more powerful engine and nimbler handling than the Q3. The X1 also has one of the largest cargo capacities in the class. It has 10 more cubic feet of space than the Q3, which is enough room for a couple of small suitcases. Additionally, the X1 comes standard with BMW's iDrive infotainment system. You'll have to add a package to get an infotainment system in the Audi, and it’s less intuitive than BMW’s iDrive system. The X1 has a nicer cabin than the Q3, and both rows of seats are comfortable. It also offers a class-leading predicted reliability rating.

Which Is Better: Audi Q3 or Mercedes-Benz GLA?

You'll get a better SUV by choosing the Mercedes-Benz GLA over the Q3. The GLA has some of the highest fuel economy estimates in the class, and it comes with a peppy engine. Not only does that make the GLA more fun to drive than the Q3, but it’s a more economical choice as well. The GLA's stiff suspension makes it feel jarring over bumps, but its handling is superior. Both SUVs have similar passenger and cargo space, but the GLA offers more technology and features. It comes with a standard user-friendly infotainment system and driver assistance features like driver attention monitor and pre-collision braking. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also available, which you won't find in the Q3. However, keep in mind that the Audi has a more serene ride quality and a slightly more upscale interior.

Compare the Q3, X1, and GLA »

Q3 Interior

How Many People Does the Q3 Seat?

The 2018 Audi Q3 seats five people on standard leather upholstery. Occupants in the front seats will ride in comfort, and a dozen possible adjustments make it easy to find a suitable position for extended drives. Optional sport seats provide better side support, but the standard seats will keep you snug too.

The second row provides a decent amount of room for adults, though it's better suited to short trips. Legroom might be a little tight, but the design of the front seatbacks allows for some precious rear space.

Q3 and Car Seats

The Audi Q3 offers two complete sets of LATCH child-seat attachments on its second-row outboard seats, as well as a top tether anchor on the middle seat. The lower anchors are hidden behind plastic flaps, so they’re easy to find and attach to. Most child seats should fit easily without having to move the front seats forward too much. However, other hardware may be mistaken for the tether anchors, so the IIHS gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable.

Q3 Interior Quality

The Q3 has an upscale interior with standard leather upholstery – something that can’t be said of its Mercedes and BMW rivals. The cabin’s design feels elegant and modern, boasting attractive trim pieces.

Q3 Cargo Space

The 2018 Q3’s cargo space is about average for the class. With the second-row seats up, it offers 16.7 cubic feet, which is less than the Mercedes-Benz GLA (17.2 cubic feet) and the BMW X1 (27.1 cubic feet). You’ll get 48.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the Q3’s seats folded. That’s less than the X1’s 58.7 cubic feet but more than the GLA’s 43.6 cubic feet.

In its standard configuration, the Q3 should provide ample utility for most of your regular cargo, like several duffle bags for a weekend trip or a day’s worth of shopping bags.

Q3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Unlike its classmates, the Q3 doesn't come standard with any kind of infotainment system. You'll have to add the MMI interface through an available package. The main drawback of this system is that the control knob is located high on the dash, which can be hard to reach. In other Audi vehicles, the knob is in an easier-to-reach location on the center console. Otherwise, physical controls for other functions, like climate, are easy to learn and operate quickly.

Read more about interior »

Q3 Performance

Q3 Engine: Need More Power

The only engine available in the 2018 Q3 is a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Power and acceleration are adequate for driving around town or at low speeds, but it feels underpowered at highway speeds.

Both the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA have more potent turbo-fours that better meet your expectations from a luxury performance brand. The X1 has 228 horsepower, while the GLA delivers 208. The Mercedes feels stronger due to its newer engine and transmission.

Q3 Gas Mileage: Likely Low

The 2018 Audi Q3 delivers 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLA gets 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, while the BMW X1 gets 23/32 mpg city/highway.

Q3 Ride and Handling: Comfort Over Sport

Many Audi vehicles – including the other SUVs – are known for their athletic driving dynamics, but you don't get that from the Q3. Instead, it has a more relaxed ride with stable handling and generally precise steering. The Q3's small size makes it easy to maneuver in tight spots, like crowded parking lots or city streets.

This small SUV also delivers smooth and comfortable ride quality, which makes it a good companion for long road trips or commuting.

Read more about performance »

Q3 Reliability

Is the Audi Q3 Reliable?

The 2018 Audi Q3 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is average for the industry.

Audi Q3 Warranty

The 2018 Audi Q3 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty. That's the same coverage you'll get with rivals like the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA.

Read more about reliability »

Q3 Safety

Q3 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Audi Q3 the highest rating of Good in five crash tests. It has not undergone National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests.

Q3 Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only standard advanced safety feature in the 2018 Q3. You might expect that to be a given in a class like this, but rivals like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA only have it as an option. In fact, the X1 doesn't come with any standard driver assistance features, while the GLA features automatic pre-collision braking and a driver attention monitor.

The only optional safety feature in the Q3 is blind spot monitoring, branded as Audi Side Assist. You can opt for several other features with the X1 and GLA, like parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.

Read more about safety »

Which Audi Q3 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Audi Q3 is available in two trims: Premium and Premium Plus. For this model year, Audi drops the top-of-the-line Prestige trim, rolling its features into the other trims or making them available in options packages. Both Q3 trims come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available for $2,100.

Despite being a luxury vehicle, neither Q3 trim comes with an infotainment system. You'll have to spend over $2,000 to get it and make the Q3 competitive with its rivals. It's hard to recommend the Premium Plus and its $2,900 price jump over a base Q3, but that's the only way you can get features like heated front seats and blind spot monitoring. If those are important to you, prepare to pay the premium.

Audi Q3 Premium

The Premium trim starts at $32,900 and includes leather seats, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, heated side mirrors, a 10-speaker sound system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port. An optional Convenience package costs $1,350 and includes proximity-key entry, a power liftgate, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. 

Two other option packages are available with either trim level: the $1,000 Sport package includes front sport seats, drive mode select, and paddle shifters; and the MMI Navigation Plus package ($2,100) adds a color driver information system, the MMI infotainment system, navigation, and Audi connect services. 

Audi Q3 Premium Plus

The Q3 Premium Plus starts at $35,800 and comes with full LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, a power tailgate, and Audi Side Assist. The available Sport Plus package ($750) adds various sport exterior upgrades and paddle shifters, and a Bose surround sound system is optional for $850.

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 2018 Audi Q3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Audi Q3's mediocre performance and all-around average appeal doesn't justify its high price tag, especially in a class with excellent competitors. Other luxury subcompact SUVs offer more utility and better value.

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

  • "The stylish new 2018 Audi Q3 is the luxury brand's smallest and least expensive SUV. It's a compelling entry in the highly competitive small-luxury-SUV segment where it competes against the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the BMW X1, the Lexus NX and the Infiniti QX30. The new Q3 offers all-wheel drive, a luxurious interior and Audi's legendary high standard of fit and finish. … It's fun to drive with a desirable balance of comfort and performance." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Combine the superb value with Audi's traditionally excellent interior materials and a comfortable ride quality and you've got a small luxury crossover SUV that's tough to ignore. But the Q3 has some faults. It's not much fun to drive around turns quickly, and steering feel is completely numb and disconnected. The engine also disappoints; it's thirsty and doesn't have enough power to accelerate the Q3 with any real authority. There's also a notable lack of the latest in-car infotainment features. But if speed and tech aren't priorities, the Q3's price tag is sure to entice." -- Edmunds
  • "Loosely related to the Volkswagen Tiguan crossover, the Q3 is 10 inches shorter than its Q5 sibling, with a wheelbase that is 8 inches shorter. Not surprisingly, there's less room for rear passengers and cargo alike. If the hatchback-size interior is acceptable, the Q3's elevated driving position, city-friendly dimensions and relatively reasonable pricing could seal the deal." -- Autotrader (2016)
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