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2016 Audi Q3 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Audi Q3 was new.


Performance: 7.7

According to most critics, the 2016 Audi Q3's engine doesn’t feel as powerful as those of some competitors. The Q3's fuel economy estimates are typical for the class. While most reviewers think the Q3 offers sharp steering and sporty handling, some complain that its ride quality is harsh and say it has too much body lean in turns. Still, reviewers say the Q3's small turning radius makes it easy to park.

  • "Drive a new Audi Q3 and you'll be impressed with the excellent balance it strikes between comfort and control, an especially hard trick in a smaller SUV such as this. Put another way, whether you're looking for a comfortable highway ride or something that tames a winding canyon road, the Q3 luxury SUV has you covered." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There are some downsides to this smaller Audi, though. Its acceleration and handling aren't as good as we'd expect from an Audi. …" -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The Q3 proves size isn't relative to quality in many ways, including the driving experience. Sure, it's the smallest and least-expensive SUV in Audi's lineup, but it doesn't drive like a cheap SUV. The Q3's sophisticated ride quality is reminiscent of the more-expensive Q5 and Q7 SUVs, with a balanced blend of sporty responsiveness and controlled movements over rough roads. Think sporty, not sports car." -- Cars.com (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Audi Q3 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Q3 is available with Audi drive select, which allows the driver to select between comfort, auto and dynamic drive settings, which adjust steering and throttle response. According to the EPA, the 2016 Q3 returns 20/29 mpg city/highway, which is low for a luxury subcompact SUV.

According to auto writers, the Q3 feels underpowered when compared with rivals like the BMW X1. Still, a few test drivers say the Q3 has good power for highway passing maneuvers. Some auto writers report that the Audi Q3's transmission downshifts quickly and smoothly, but others say it can hesitate to downshift when it's not in sport mode.

  • "With 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is exactly enough for the Q3, but you might find yourself wishing for more, especially when you learn the 2016 VW Golf GTI has a 2.0-liter that boasts 210 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although the 2015 Audi Q3 may not be as quick as a BMW X1 in an all-out dash to 60 mph, in the real world the Q3 is peppy enough. This is especially true if you put the transmission in Sport mode, which keeps the Q3 on its toes. Lean into it for merging or passing and the Q3 responds with modest response. The transmission is smooth, if a bit reluctant to downshift if not in Sport mode." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The engine does its part by emitting just a rich, muffled whine when prodded, and despite a rather unimpressive (for a turbo 2.0-liter) 200-horsepower rating, it provides good highway passing power, aided by the transmission's quick kickdowns." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
  • "I expected the extremely well-mannered and quiet turbocharged engine to offer punchier acceleration given the exterior's diminutive size, and that lack of reward when the accelerator goes down makes the Q3's premium fuel requirement harder to swallow." -- Cars.com (2015)

Handling and Braking

While the majority of test drivers say the Audi Q3 offers agile handling, others report that there's too much body roll through turns. Auto writers are also divided on the Q3's ride quality, with some noting that it feels too firm over rough roads and others saying it rides comfortably. Test drivers agree that the Q3's sharp steering and tight turning radius makes it easy to maneuver in small spaces. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "In corners, the Q3 is capable enough, but we wouldn't call it a performance-oriented crossover. Where it really shines is on the highway, where the compliant-yet-composed ride constantly reminds you of the Q3's luxury status." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Somewhat less impressive at low speeds is the ride. European manufacturers tend to favor stiffer suspensions, and Audis have traditionally been no exception. Q3 follows this trend, reacting somewhat more sharply than the norm over smaller road irregularities. The upside, however, is that steering and handling are on the sporty side for an SUV, aided in part by the vehicle's tidy dimensions." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
  • "Over broken pavement, the Q3 delivers a controlled yet still supple ride. Driving enthusiasts will likely feel that the steering, though precise, is too light, but most folks will like it just fine. When pushed harder on a back road, the Q3 exhibits noticeable body roll and doesn't feel as responsive or fun as what we'd expect from the Q5's baby brother. That said, overall composure is still respectable, and most drivers will find that the Q3 has an affable, easygoing demeanor in everyday driving situations." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The Q3's tight and nimble chassis makes it a fantastic small SUV for darting around a crowded city." -- Cars.com (2015)

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