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2021 Audi Q3 Performance Review


Performance: 7.3

The 2021 Audi Q3 has a capable engine, a gentle ride, and composed handling. However, its automatic transmission can make coarse shifts, and its fuel economy estimates are unimpressive, even when compared to other all-wheel-drive models.

  • "As for the chassis, the Q3 feels much more composed than it did before." -- CNET (2019)
  • "… the … Q3 felt peppy, quiet and competent." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "In ride quality, the Q3 shined. It's softer than, say, a VW Tiguan, but not the least bit floaty, exhibiting well-controlled body motions. On … high-speed curves and twisty mountain switchbacks … the Q3 stayed composed, aided by light-effort steering and pleasingly minimal body roll." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: Quattro all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic

The Q3's turbo-four engine supplies sufficient power for most driving siuations. However, there can be a hint of turbo lag when taking off from a stop, and shifts from the automatic transmission aren’t always as smooth as they could be. The Q3 goes from zero to 60 mph in about seven seconds.

  • "The 228-hp setup here has plenty of potency that’s well suited to just about any scenario. … It’s hardly a deal-breaker, but there’s just one minor issue. Under enthusiastic acceleration, the transmission’s shift action can sometimes be a tad abrupt. Because everything else is so refined, it becomes noticeable. But drive smoothly, with gentle inputs, and the Q3 responds kindly." -- Autotrader
  • "In our time behind the wheel, we noted that the engine provided ample power, but our last test vehicle wasn't as quick as some rivals, and we noticed a delay between our right foot's action and the engine's response (read: turbo lag)." -- Car and Driver
  • "The biggest shortcoming we found in driving the new Q3 is its transmission programming: Shifts from the small SUV’s 8-speed automatic are somewhat jumpy when accelerating at lower speeds. Putting the vehicle into Dynamic mode does help smooth things out. Once you get past that initial jumpiness, power delivery is good. The Q3 wrings 228 horsepower from its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. That is enough to scoot the Q3 from 0-60 mph in seven seconds flat. That won’t blow your socks off, but it’s plenty quick enough to merge onto freeways without drama." -- Kelley Blue Book

MPG Estimates

At the time of writing, the EPA has not evaluated the 2021 Q3’s fuel economy. The nearly identical 2020 Q3 gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those figures are subpar for a luxury subcompact SUV.

Handling and Braking

The Q3 is relatively nimble and strikes a good balance between agility and comfort. You can take turns with confidence, and the suspension smooths over all but the largest bumps in the road. All-wheel drive comes standard.

  • "While this Audi isn’t as sporty as other models in the company’s lineup, it proved an entertaining vehicle on twisty roads." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Additionally, while most European cars offer an aggressively-tuned suspension, we’ve found the Q3 to be composed with a good blend of comfort and athleticism." -- Autotrader
  • "Thankfully, its suspension damped out all but the harshest road imperfections. Direct steering with a light-to-the-touch feel gives the Q3 a sense of agility. The little SUV also moves with the same grace as its larger siblings when pitched down a twisty section of road." -- Car and Driver
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2021 Audi Q3

MSRP: $36,000

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