The small-medium Audi Q3 crossover SUV arrived in Australia in March 2012 and competes in the sales race not only with its obvious German and British prestige rivals but also the top end of the Japanese and Korean marques.
The Audi Q3 has an almost coupe-like profile that has become increasingly common in crossovers. If you’re looking for a voluminous station wagon you should probably shop elsewhere.
Back seat space is okay, but this is a relatively small vehicle so it may be necessary for occupants to come to a compromise in legroom if tall adults are travelling.
Try out the rear seat headroom, another casualty of the coupe styling. Kids are usually fine, but if they are approaching teenage years it might be an idea to bring them along for your pre-purchase test drives.
Ride comfort is good and this German machine can handle Australian backroads without too much in the way of being bounced around. Handling is very good, particularly in the quattro models and there are plenty of electronic aids to keep you out of trouble if you make a mistake.
For many years Audi has been famed for its high quality interiors and the Q3 is a premium product that’s a pleasure to travel in.
Though almost all Q3s are used only on sealed roads it has reasonable ground clearance at 173mm, so can cope with mild off-road driving for adventurous families exploring the great Australian bush. Interestingly, the all-new 2020 model increased this to 191mm.
The June 2015 upgrade of the Audi Q3 included revisions to the ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Program) and the fitment of an electronic diff lock to further improve off-road ability.
This 2015 revision also included restyled headlights that are xenon plus for added illumination.
Engines options are a 1.4- and 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines as well as 2.0-litre turbo-diesel. Most are front drivers, but Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system is offered in some upmarket variants.
Some were imported with a six-speed manual gearbox but these are rare and may prove difficult to shift when it comes time to move on.
As is the way with many older dual-clutch autos the VW / Audi unit can be hesitant and irritating at very low speeds, typically when you’re parking. Once up and running it’s fine. But we still prefer the torque convertor units fitted in the more powerful Q3 models.
Audi’s touchscreen MMI system covers many infotainment needs including satellite navigation. Navigation Plus is installed in the topline versions.
Audi has a good spread of dealer service departments in Australia. While the majority are in major metro areas Audi is has increased moved into country cities and major towns as well.
Spares and repairs aren’t cheap, though not as high as you might expect. However, if the cost of spares and servicing are making you think about your budget it might be best to go for cheaper cars.
Audi RS Q3 is a real bahn-stormer with Audi’s brilliant 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, it reached Australia late in 2016.
Options can add a lot to the price of used Audi Q3s as the company – and its German competitors – are famed for advertising new vehicles at low(ish) prices than charging big money for extras. Check what extras are fitted to the used car you’re considering when looking at the price.
In this market area it makes sense to opt for a vehicle with a full service history from an official dealer. If the car has been repaired by an outside mechanic check their credentials.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Don’t consider buying an Audi without a professional inspection.
Check out the condition of the tyres and wheels on AWD models for signs of damage caused by driving on harsh dirt tracks.
As in any vehicle, the first wheel / tyre to check for damage is the left-front – it may have bounced into a kerb or three.
Engines should start quickly and idle smoothly. Diesels are not quite as fast at kicking over as petrols, but if one seem too slow be cautious.
Dual-clutch transmissions (S tronic in Audi speak) are notorious for being slow and awkward at very slow speeds. The later the model the better it will be as upgrades were made over the years. If one seems too bad have it tested by an expert.
Look for the slightest sign of any scars, paint respray and ripples in repaired panels. Have a panel beater check the car if there’s any doubt.
Also have a look at the condition of the luggage area for signs of hard usage as it’s relatively small and some owners may have pushed and shoved to squeeze big things in.
Interior damage caused by wild or carsick kids can be a real pain, check the seats, seatbacks, door trims and carpets.
Expect to pay from $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2012 Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2014 Q3 2.0 TDI quattro; $19,000 to $27,000 for a 2015 Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro; $23,000 to $31,000 for a 2017 1.4 TFSI; $26,000 to $35,000 for a 2016 2.0 TDI Sport quattro; $29,000 to $38,000 for a 2014 RS 2.5 TFSI quattro; $36,000 to $47,000 for a 2019 2.0 TDI Sport; $38,000 to $50,000 for a 2016 RS 2.5 TFSI quattro; and $52,000 to $69,000 for a 2018 RS 2.5 TFSI quattro.
CAR BUYING TIP
It’s one of the biggest investments of your life, perhaps the biggest, so take buying a car seriously or your financial future could suffer.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/