$19,112 - $27,483

2017 Audi Q3 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Audi Q3 was new.


Performance: 7.5

The 2017 Audi Q3 delivers marginal overall performance, according to reviewers. Its engine is capable enough for normal driving, but it doesn’t offer excessive power. Fuel economy is low when compared to others in the class, but not by much. Handling is a mixed bag: Some critics say it has a sporty feel, and others find it more focused on comfort.

  • "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 (2016)
  • "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. We've mentioned the Tiguan parallels, but the Q3's suspension is actually a mash-up of multiple Volkswagen and Audi platforms -- and you can feel the difference. It's an appropriately upscale driving experience." -- Autotrader (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 2017 Q3 is only available with a turbocharged, 200-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA estimates the 2017 Q3’s fuel economy at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are the lowest estimates in the class.

The Q3’s engine is underwhelming, especially when compared to rivals like the BMW X1. The Q3 has enough power for basic daily driving, but acceleration overall isn’t a strong suit.

  • "When it comes to engine performance, the Q3 is no more than adequate. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine has a nice, refined feel to it, never drawing attention to itself with undue noise or vibration, but acceleration is disappointingly lackluster for a luxury-branded vehicle." -- Edmunds
  • "About the only real dynamic downside is the engine. While 200 horsepower is pretty solid for a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, that's 40 fewer horses than the similarly sized engine in the BMW X1, and it feels like it." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "The engine also feels quite strong in around-town driving. Unlike most turbos, it provides a decent (though hardly 'strong') jump from a stop when the throttle is stabbed and builds power in a very linear fashion, all of which makes it easy to slice-and-dice through traffic." -- Consumer Guide (2015)

Handling and Braking

There isn’t a consensus on the Q3’s driving dynamics. Some feel that it offers a smooth ride quality, while others think the suspension is too stiff and doesn’t absorb bumps in the road. The same goes for the Q3’s steering, with some drivers noting that it has good feel and is somewhat sporty, and others saying steering is dull and competitors are more fun to drive. The available all-wheel drive helps improve handling by delivering the most traction to the wheel with the best grip on the road.

  • "Of course, the Audi Q3 offers all-wheel drive, and because it's an Audi, it takes the form of the company's quattro system. It works both to help improve traction in bad weather, or if you just want to maximize your handling." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "You'll like the 2017 Audi Q3's ride quality. Even with the larger 19-inch wheels, the Q3's soft suspension delivers a smooth, quiet and fuss-free experience on the highway. This is the Q3 at its best, though. When going around turns, the Q3 exhibits a fair amount of body roll, which, in combination with overly light and numb steering, makes it less fun to drive than other popular subcompact luxury crossovers. It's worth noting that the optional Sport package doesn't include any suspension changes, so all Q3 models will exhibit this same weakness." -- Edmunds
  • "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)

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