Audi’s lineup is full of stylish, forward-thinking SUVs, and the 2022 Q3 is no exception. In fact, the Q3 bears a strong resemblance to the brand’s flagship Q8, albeit at half the price and size of the luxury behemoth. Audi has always been a leader in car technology, too, and some of the best features the brand has to offer have trickled down here. The interior and technology features are the main selling points of the Q3, and its overall modern design is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Price and value
The MSRP range for the 2022 Audi Q3 45 is $38,700-$42,000. It is available in two trim levels, with a suite of standard features including a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Some of the major differences in trim levels are noted below.
- 45 Premium: $38,700
S line styling kit
Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with paddles
Parking system plus
- 45 Premium Plus: $42,000
Driver's seat memory
Audi advanced key with a hands-free power tailgate
Topview camera system
Our tester was the 45 Premium Plus trim, and we think it’s the way to go given its long list of features for only a few thousand dollars more than the Premium trim. Audi’s warranty provides limited and powertrain coverage for four years or 50,000 miles, but no complimentary scheduled maintenance.
The Q3 is spritely enough, but it won’t be winning any drag races or canyon carving contests. Instead, Audi has opted for a composed performer, perfect for running errands or commuting to the office — especially with its Quattro all-wheel drive system. It’s more youthful feeling than its counterparts, but the features on the Premium Plus create a luxurious experience.
Every Q3 45 is powered by Audi’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This engine is well known in Audi circles, and for the most part it’s fun and relatively efficient. However, we were surprised by its fairly significant turbo lag and its good — but not great — fuel economy.
The Q3 45 is rated at 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving. We experienced just over 26 mpg in our week of combined driving, which was mostly highway. Not bad, but not as good as we’d expect from a small engine in a small car.
Seeing the Audi Quattro badge is always a comforting sight, and it remains so here in the Q3 — especially in adverse weather. The 8-speed transmission shifted smoothly and sharply when in Sport mode.
Acceleration and handling
The Q3 is peppy, but far from exhilarating. Its 228 horsepower is just enough to scoot it around, but there were times we were wishing for more. Car and Driver clocked its 0-60 mph sprint in 7.4 seconds. Handling was a bit of a mixed bag. While we appreciated the light on its feet demeanor, there were multiple dead zones in the steering feel and rotation. In the end, it handles well enough and is easy to maneuver, but at times feels detached and distant.
Our tester was equipped with automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Thankfully, it never had to engage in our testing. Normal braking felt good, providing progressive and predictable bite.
Interior comfort and convenience
The Q3’s interior is one of its main selling points. It’s modern, handsome and loaded with technology. The front seats are excellent, and there’s plenty of room for the driver and front passenger. The back seat is on the tighter side, but smaller adults and children will find it a reasonable place to spend time. The panoramic sunroof is a nice touch, as is the excellent ambient lighting package. Overall, the interior does a great job communicating what the exterior shows off: modern design with an upmarket feel and a hint of sportiness.
The front S Sport seats included in the Black Optic sport package are wonderful. They are heated, 8-way adjustable and supportive of a variety of body types. The leather feels high-quality, but it does lack perforation and ventilated features — a surprise given the price tag and brand. The rear seat, while roomy enough for small adults and children, is compact and doesn’t offer much leg or shoulder room. The rear seat does recline, slide and fold in a 40/20/40 configuration, which helps with comfort and practicality.
The Q3’s tri-zone automatic climate control is impressive. On our day of testing, outside temperatures reached 108 degrees. Inside, the air conditioning system had no trouble getting the cabin chilly after just a few minutes. All the buttons feel high quality and have a nice resistance.
Cargo space and cabin storage
Cabin storage is decent but not great, which isn’t a surprise considering how compact the vehicle is. There is space in the door pockets and center console for smaller items and trinkets, but not much else. Cargo space measures 24 cubic feet behind the rear seat and expands to 48 cubic feet with the second row folded down — plenty of room for a bike, gear, golf clubs and large grocery runs.
We’ll say this upfront: the infotainment system takes some time to learn. But, once you orient your way around the menus and sub menus, it’s nice to use. The 10.1-inch screen is attractive, colorful and sharp. Curiously, Audi felt the best spot for the volume/seek knob was way down the center console, with no graceful way to reach it unless you have gorilla arms. Wireless Apple CarPlay connected flawlessly every time, and the optional Sonos 3D premium sound system sounded amazing.
Exterior appearance and functionality
Audi sticks close to its corporate design for all its models, and the 2022 Q3 is no exception. If you squint, it closely resembles a Q8 — albeit a shrunken version. It’s handsome, modern and restrained, which is probably what most accountants and marketing managers will want in their Audi purchase. Our tester was finished in the beautiful Navarra Blue Metallic paint. Other color options include Pulse Orange, Ibis White, Turbo Blue, Chronos Gray Metallic, Glacier White Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic and Tango Red Metallic.
Our tester was equipped with optional 20-inch 5-double-spoke wheels shod with Bridgestone Potenza S005 summer tires. While the wheels looked nice and the tires offered plenty of grip on the hot days of testing, the thin sidewalls made for a stiffer ride than expected. We suggest sticking with the 19-inch wheels included in the Black Optic Sport package.
Lights and turn signals
The Q3 Premium Plus is treated to full LED headlights, taillights and interior lights. The headlights also have automatic high beam assist. The interior ambient lighting was a favorite feature, especially with the Quattro badge on the dash.
Cameras and side mirrors
As expected from a technology laden German engineered vehicle, the cameras are excellent in the Q3 Premium Plus. The top-view camera system is especially helpful in tight parking spots and when you need to see around the vehicle. The rearview mirrors are automatic dimming and folding.
Front and rear windshield
Visibility out the front and rear of the Q3 is good, with no significant blind spots. The windshield wipers worked well. It wasn’t cold enough to test the defrosters.
Loaded with technology and robust German engineering, the Q3 is a safe vehicle. It performed well in its government crash test ratings, earning some of the highest marks available.
The Q3 Premium Plus has a long list of impressive safety features. Here are just a few:
- Adaptive cruise assist with lane guidance
- Audi pre-sense for the front and rear
- Blind spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic warning
For a full list, visit the Audi website here.
Awards and ratings
The 2022 Q3 received a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2020 Q3 received the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award in the subcompact luxury SUV category.
The 2022 Audi Q3 does a great job imitating its larger, more expensive SUV family members. It’s small, spritely and carries the Audi mantle of luxury and technology just as well as the rest of the lineup. It’s reasonably fun to drive, with excellent front seats and a beautifully modern interior. Fuel economy is pretty good, and Quattro all-wheel drive is always reassuring — especially in the snow. If you’re looking for a compact luxury SUV, and don’t need acres of rear seat space, the Q3 Premium Plus is a great option.
Given the negligible price differences in trims, we’d recommend getting one fully loaded, with the exception of the 20-inch wheel package.
Curious about the Audi Q3? Check it out on KSL Cars.
Is it fun to drive?
It’s punchy enough, but it won’t be winning any stoplight drag races. Handling is also decent, but the steering feel is a let down, with vague responsiveness and a feeling of disconnect with the road.
Is it good for families?
Unless your children are small, there are better options in the Audi lineup for hauling a family. Our two children had barely enough legroom and there wasn’t much space for extra items such as backpacks and strollers.
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