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2021 Audi Q3

Starting at $35,095

8.5/10 C/D RATING
2021 audi q3 front
8.5/10 C/D RATING

Select a year

  • Highs Sharp styling, plentiful tech features, spunky driving demeanor.
  • Lows Tight rear quarters, noticeable turbo lag, a few cheap interior materials.
  • Verdict Audi's cheeky little SUV offers exactly what we expected from the tech-loving German automaker in a handsome and mostly practical package.
By Drew Dorian


If you took Audi's mid-size Q8 SUV and hit it with a shrink ray, it would turn into the 2021 Q3. From its large trapezoidal grille to aggressively canted rear hatch, the junior Audi SUV does its best impression of the brand's larger crossovers. Inside, buyers will find a tech-heavy interior, which is expected from modern Audis, but it offers youthful flair in the form of optional brightly-colored suede dash trim and multi-color ambient interior lighting. A turbocharged four-cylinder and standard all-wheel drive provide decent pep and all-weather assurance, but those seeking outright speed may be disappointed. Still, its agile chassis gives it the moves to challenge driver-favorites such as the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-class.

What's New for 2021?

Audi has simplified the Q3 lineup for 2021 by dropping the top-flight Prestige trim level and splitting its features into available Technology or Convenience packages on the remaining Premium and Premium Plus trims. The entry-level Premium model now comes standard with power-adjustable front seats, lane-departure warning, and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. The Convenience package now includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated compass, heated power-folding exterior mirrors, and LED interior lighting. The Premium Plus model gains adaptive cruise control as a standard feature and can be equipped with a new Technology package that includes a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a larger 10.1-inch infotainment display, a Bang & Olufsen stereo system, and built-in navigation. All Q3s now come standard with the previously optional S line Exterior package, which includes 19-inch wheels and S line-branded door-sill inlays. A Black Optic exterior package (unique 19-inch wheels and black exterior trim) is now available, as is a Parking Assistance package, which includes a 360-degree exterior camera system and a self-parking feature. A new 184-hp four-cylinder that Audi is referring to as "40" joins the lineup as the base engine; the previously standard 228-hp version gains the "45" moniker.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Although it's now the most expensive model, the Premium Plus trim still represents the best buy in the Q3 lineup. Its relatively affordable price tag equips it with many desirable features, including a wireless charging pad, blind-spot monitoring, passive entry with push-button start, LED headlamps, and adaptive cruise control. We'd also suggest the aforementioned Technology package, which unlocks the coolest tech features Audi has to offer. We'd also choose the more powerful 45 model.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Q3 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes either 184- or 228-hp; either way it comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. In our time behind the wheel of a Q3 with the more potent of the two engines, we noted that the engine provided ample power, but our 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). Still, its transmission shifted smoothly during normal operation and provided sportier reactions when shifted into S mode. 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.

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Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA estimates the 2021 Q3 will earn up to 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are similar to rivals such as the X1 and Volvo XC40. The Q3 we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, earned 31 mpg—matching the real-world result of the X1 we tested.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Q3's cabin addresses all of our complaints about that of the outgoing model, with a much improved driving position, a user-friendly layout of its controls, and finer materials. Its standout standard features include a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats with eight-way power adjustments and lumbar support for the driver. More luxurious options include ambient interior lighting, a fully digital gauge cluster, and contrasting microsuede on the dashboard and doors. The cabin is also more spacious than the previous model, but its back seat still lacks sufficient legroom to keep adults comfortable on long slogs. We managed to fit six carry-on suitcases in the cargo area and another 12 bags with the rear seats folded. Those are both less than we fit in the X1 but on par with the Jaguar E-Pace.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Audi equips most Q3 models with an 8.8-inch touchscreen MMI infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 10.1-inch touchscreen is also available with the same content. We found the interface to be attractive and mostly easy to operate due to its large icons and haptic feedback. However, its low position on the dashboard can be distracting. Top options include SiriusXM satellite radio, wireless charging, and a 15-speaker, 680-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

View Crash Test Results

The Q3 also offers a wide range of driver-assistance technology, such as automatic high-beam headlights and automated emergency braking. For more information about the Q3's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning
  • Available adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Audi provides a competitive limited and powertrain warranty on every Q3. However, it lacks a complimentary scheduled maintenance plan which both BMW and Jaguar offer.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance



2019 Audi Q3

front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

$44,990 (base price: $35,695)

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
121 cu in, 1984 cc
228 hp @ 5000 rpm
258 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm

8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.4-in vented disc/12.2-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S005, 255/40R-20 101Y AO

Wheelbase: 105.5 in
Length: 176.6 in
Width: 72.8 in
Height: 64.1 in
Passenger volume: 94 cu ft
Cargo volume: 24 cu ft
Curb weight: 3915 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 7.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 19.3 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 34.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.7 sec @ 91 mph
Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 160 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91 g

Observed: 21 mpg

Combined/city/highway: 22/19/27 mpg


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