- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 5 seats
1.4T, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
Petrol (95) 6.9L/100KM
5 Yr, Unltd KMs
- Ancap Safety
5/5 star (2018)
2023 Audi Q3 35 TFSI review
The Audi Q3 has been one of the top-sellers in the small luxury SUV segment. Now five years old and approaching the end of its current model cycle, how does it hold up against newer competition?
- Roomy cabin and cargo hold
- Practical design inside and out
- Roadholding and refinement
- Thirsty on petrol despite small engine
- Speed-sign recognition not available
- Recent price rises, expensive servicing costs
2023 Audi Q3 35 TFSI
The Audi Q3 is one of the top-sellers in the small luxury SUV class in Australia.
After a seven-year run for the first-generation Audi Q3 (2011 to 2018), this second-generation model went on sale in Europe in 2018 and in Australia in 2019.
Now more than five years old, it is approaching the end of its seven-year model cycle, with a new generation expected to be unveiled in 2024 ahead of 2025 showroom arrivals.
However, age has not wearied the Audi Q3. It has been the top-seller among its peers for two of the past four years – finishing ahead of or just behind the Volvo XC40 with which it swapped the sales lead in the small luxury SUV segment.
Given the popularity of the Audi Q3, it was time to get reacquainted to see how it compares to newer competition.
For this test, we assessed the Audi Q3 in its most basic guise (barring a few options added to the demonstrator vehicle).
How much does the Audi Q3 cost in Australia?
This generation Audi Q3 had a starting price of $46,400 plus on-road costs when it went on sale locally in October 2019.
As is the case with most new cars, the price of the Audi Q3 range has risen since then.
The Audi Q3 35 TFSI rose to $50,600 plus on-road costs at the start of this year – an increase of nine per cent.
During our test, Audi prices leapt again.
As of October 2023, the starting price of the Audi Q3 35 TFSI was $53,400 plus on-road costs – an increase of 5.5 per cent this year alone and 15 per cent more than the original launch pricing in 2019.
The Audi Q3 35 TFSI tested is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
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Standard features include adaptive LED headlights, a digital instrument cluster, wireless smartphone charging, two-zone air-conditioning, leather seats, a power tailgate with hands-free opening, and a sensor key with push-button start.
However, there is also a lengthy options list, starting with power-adjustable front seats (manual seat adjustment is standard).
The options fitted to our test car are listed below. They brought the price to $59,600 plus on-road costs, or approximately $66,000 drive-away according to Audi's online pricing calculator (as this article was published).
Footnote: radar cruise control was an option on the car we tested but will be standard for 2024 models of the Audi Q3. This is a welcome addition, given adaptive cruise control is now considered such a basic feature it is even standard on sub-$30,000 cars.
|Key details||2023 Audi Q3 35 TFSI|
|Price||$53,400 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Glacier White|
|Options||Metallic paint – $1250|
Style Package 2 – $1950
- Colour-coded bumpers and sills
- Aluminium-look interior inlays
- 19-inch alloy wheels
Comfort Package – $2600
- Electric front seats with heating
- Heated power-folding exterior mirrors
- Auto-dimming interior mirror
Panoramic glass sunroof – $2250
Black Exterior Styling Package – $1000
|Drive-away price||$69,000 (as tested)|
|Rivals||Volvo XC40 | Lexus UX | Alfa Romeo Tonale|
How much space does the Audi Q3 have inside?
The Audi Q3 is one of the roomiest vehicles in the small luxury SUV class, and this is no doubt a large part of its appeal – especially if you've squeezed in and out of rival vehicles during dealer test drives.
The driving position has an elevated view of the road ahead, there is good visibility all around thanks to the large windows (relative to the sleek designs on newer rivals), and there is good storage in the centre console, glovebox and door pockets.
In addition, there are two cupholders between the front seats, and a wireless smartphone charging pad at the front of the centre console where it meets the lower section of the dashboard.
There are 'express' one-touch auto-up and auto-down power windows for all four doors. The tailgate can be opened or closed at the press of a button. And the instrument cluster is a widescreen digital display.
Cleverly, the back seat can be slid forward or rearward – depending on whether you want to prioritise cargo space or passenger roominess.
Back seat passengers also have access to air-conditioning vents and three power sources at the rear of the centre console (one 12V power socket and two USB-C power ports).
The rear seat back tilts and splits 40/20/40 so you can optimise storage of bulky items while trying to also accommodate a passenger or two.
The cargo hold is huge and has a large flat floor. Boot space can be optimised by moving the back seat forward. In its rearmost position there's 530 litres of cargo space, and slid forward there's 675L available.
Under the boot floor is a skinny space-saver spare tyre, which is not ideal but better at least than a tyre inflator kit.
|2023 Audi Q3 35 TFSI|
|Boot volume||530–675L seats up |
1525L seats folded
Does the Audi Q3 have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard – and can be connected by a USB-C cable or wirelessly.
We welcome this attention to detail and prefer car companies to give owners the choice in connectivity.
We have had hit-and-miss experiences with most wireless Apple CarPlay set-ups, and that was the case with the Audi Q3, so we stayed connected via a USB-C cable.
AM/FM and digital radio are standard, as is embedded navigation.
Sound quality is fair but music enthusiasts may want to consider the optional premium sound system. There's just one problem. That's not available on the entry model in the Audi Q3 range.
You need to step up to the $66,600 40 TFSI all-wheel drive to get premium audio – and even then it is an extra-cost option.
Audi Connect Plus adds online functions to the vehicle including live traffic and weather info, plus via a paired smartphone owners car remotely lock and unlock their car, check the vehicle location, or organise a service visit.
Is the Audi Q3 a safe car?
The Audi Q3 earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2018.
Based on a range of destructive tests – as well as assessments of crash-avoidance systems – the Audi Q3 and associated variants were awarded 95 per cent for adult occupant protection in the front seats, 88 per cent for child protection in the back seats, 76 per cent for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, and 85 per cent for crash-avoidance aids.
What safety technology does the Audi Q3 have?
Standard safety technology includes six airbags (though no centre airbag or driver's knee airbag), autonomous emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, lane-keeping assistance, blind-zone warning, and a rear-view camera.
However, it is worth noting speed-sign recognition is not available in this model, the tyre pressure monitors are the wheel rotation type (not the more accurate valve stem type), and a 360-degree camera view is optional at an extra cost of $900.
Footnote: while our test car had radar cruise control fitted as an option, this technology is standard for 2024 models of the Audi Q3.
How much does the Audi Q3 cost to maintain?
Service intervals for routine maintenance are 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first).
You can pay as you go; however, the only fixed-price servicing offer is a prepaid deal that covers the first five years.
Audi Australia quotes $3330 for the five-year service plan on the Audi Q3 35 TFSI that equates to an average of $666 per service, which is on the high side in our opinion, even in the luxury-car space.
One leading insurer quoted an annual comprehensive insurance premium of $1870. This was based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.
|At a glance||2023 Audi Q3 35 TFSI|
|Warranty||Five years, unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$3330 (5 years)|
Is the Audi Q3 fuel-efficient?
Audi quotes a respectable fuel consumption average of 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres from its tiny turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
However, this was not our experience during our 130km test loop, which includes a mix of city, suburban, inter-urban and a stretch of freeway driving.
Our test recorded an average fuel consumption of 8.2L/100km, which we consider thirsty given the size of the engine and the vehicle – and the efficiency claim.
Fuel Consumption - brought to you by bp
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||6.9L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||8.2L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||58L|
What is the Audi Q3 like to drive?
The Audi Q3 35 TFSI might be the entry point to the range but it doesn't feel basic.
The interior has a simple but classy layout with good perceived quality.
There is a large, digital widescreen for the instrument cluster and a high-resolution display for the infotainment system.
The only parts of the Audi Q3 interior that don't quite live up to the luxury feel are the door trims and the basic plastic panel in the front seatbacks.
Helpfully, the Audi Q3 still has plenty of physical dials and buttons – rather than touch surfaces found on rivals – and this makes it easy to adjust volume or air-conditioning controls while on the move without taking your eyes off the road.
The engine is not designed to be a powerhouse and its acceleration is understandably lethargic, but it is fair for the class.
Audi claims the Q3 35 TFSI can do the 0–100km/h dash in 9.3 seconds. Audi must have tested it downhill because the best we could get was 9.9 seconds.
Of course, this is not intended to be a performance car, but this data is an indicator of how the Audi Q3 35 TFSI can handle a hill or a full load of people on board.
In essence, the Audi Q3 35 TFSI moves along smoothly and elegantly and easily keeps pace with the traffic. We just wish this level of performance delivered better fuel economy, especially as the vehicle insists on 95-octane premium unleaded petrol.
The steering is light and easy, and the brake pedal has a precise and reassuring feel.
We were impressed with the emergency braking performance (100km/h to zero in 37.4 metres), which is slightly better than average for this type of car in our testing.
Downsides? The tyres emit more road roar on coarse-chip surfaces than one might expect from a luxury car, and not everyone will be a fan of the dual-clutch automatic transmission.
While the gearbox is smooth and intuitive once the car is up to speed, there can be a hesitation in the gearbox when moving from rest. This is particularly apparent when trying to perform a three-point turn – or park on a hill.
Be sure to take it on a decent test drive on familiar roads before you sign on the dotted line.
|Key details||2023 Audi Q3 35 TFSI|
|Engine||1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||110kW @ 5000–6000rpm|
|Torque||250Nm @ 1500–3500rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||6-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Spare tyre type||Space-saver|
|Tow rating||1800kg braked|
Should I buy an Audi Q3?
The Audi Q3 is ageing well and remains one of the better options in the small luxury SUV class. It is worth adding to your list of finalists when deciding what to test drive.
How do I buy an Audi Q3 – next steps?
The Audi Q3 is not quite back to free supply and wait times apply to most variants, but the situation is improving every week.
When comparing models, try to not get bamboozled by the complicated extra-cost option packs.
More often than not, demonstrator vehicles in dealerships are loaded with the works, so some features on the car you are test-driving may not be standard on the model you are ordering.
Luxury brands also have a habit of only ordering cars with lots of options added. So if you want a basic car, you could be waiting a while.
You can also find Audi Q3s for sale at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale.
We strongly recommend taking a test drive at a dealership before signing on the dotted line. In this instance, please check you're comfortable with the gearbox in stop-start traffic, making a three-point turn, and parking on a hill.
If you want to stay updated with everything that's happened to this car since our review, you'll find all the latest news here.