Fleet News

First drive: Audi Q3

Audi
BIK List Price
£24,403
Audi Q3 BIK list price
BIK Percentage
20%
Audi Q3 BIK Percent
CO2
138g/km
Audi Q3 CO2
Combined MPG
54.3
Audi Q3 MPG

Review

For all but a handful of SUV drivers having four driven wheels is a needless exercise. Unsurprisingly then in a marketplace now driven by economy the two-wheel drive SUV is no longer an anomaly.

The most efficient models are typically those with only one set of wheels driven, allowing cars like Audi’s new Q3 to compete with larger saloons and estate cars on a level playing field.

Given a playing field, or gravel driveway is about as far as most will venture off-road then front-wheel drive is no problem. And if you’re worried about traction in winter a set of winter tyres will get your front driven SUV places a summer-tyred 4x4 won’t reach.

The benefits are tangible too, with Audi quoting provisional economy and emissions figures of 54.3mpg and 138g/km for the 2.0-litre TDI SE model with 140bhp. That’s better economy and lower emissions than a 140bhp 2.0 TDCi Ford Mondeo Estate.

While the £24,560 Q3 2.0 TDI SE might not bring the massive load capacity of Ford’s estate it’s surprisingly comfortable inside for four, and the boot’s 460 litres of capacity (1,365 seats folded) will suit all but the most ambitious of packers.

Naturally, being a premium product the Audi is more expensive, but entry-level SE trim includes alloy wheels, roof rails, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, iPod connection, light and rain sensors and Bluetooth telephone connection.

Sat-nav is also pre-installed, its activation simply requiring the purchase of an SD card. S-Line is also available, it adding larger alloy wheels, exterior and interior styling revisions and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running and tail lamps. S-Line also brings 20mm lower, tauter suspension as a no-cost option, but we’d avoid that in the UK.

The Q3 enters a fledgling marketplace, with only one obvious rival currently on sale. BMW’s X1 is a natural competitor, though Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque will give user-choosers three sub-compact SUVs to choose from.

Typically the Audi brings discreet style and a high quality interior to the class. It’s a good drive too, the front-wheel drive model actually the sweetest driving model in the predominantly quattro model line-up.

The 2.0-litre TDI is hushed, the six-speed manual quick and precise and the ride composed and you’ll not notice the lack of four-wheel drive on the road. You will in your pocket, though.

Author: Kyle Fortune
 

Fuel costs
Unsurprisingly the Q3 2.0 TDI front-wheel drive matches exactly its BMW rival. In reality 53.4mpg is unlikely, but 40mpg-plus should be easily achievable.
CO2 emissions
Like its fuel consumption figure the Audi’s CO2 emissions are equal to the X1 sDrive18d. Just 138g/km and a decent specification as standard means tax payment shouldn’t shock.
Residual values
Audi typically scores well on residual values and the newness of the Q3 means early adopters will benefit even more. Increasingly, two-wheel drive isn’t an issue for used demand.
Running costs
Fleet-friendly front-wheel drive model shouldn’t be any more expensive than a comparable priced premium estate, giving user choosers more choice in a busy marketplace.
Driver appeal
Higher driving position gives a good view out, it rides decently and the engine is eager and refined. Not as engaging as a similar-sized hatchback or saloon, but its additional height does make access to the cabin so much easier. Quiet, easy and comfortable, it’s an impressive all-rounder.
FN Verdict
It’s not difficult to see why buyers will be attracted to Audi’s new compact SUV. The usual deep feeling of quality and restrained, neat style appeal, as does excellent refinement and decent comfort. It’s a capable, well-equipped all-rounder, but with Land Rover about to enter the market soon the Germans will have a tough new competitor in this rapidly evolving small premium SUV marketplace.
Top Speed
N/A
Audi Q3 Top Speed
VED band
N/A
Audi Q3 Ved
Fuel Type
Diesel
Audi Q3 Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : £11,150
4 Year 80k : £8,175
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : 38.15
4 Year 80k : 37.58

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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