Test Drive: 2016 Audi Q3

Audi Q3

The Q3 is a bona fide perk. (Photo: Jack Kazmierski)

A welcome perk for deserving fleet professionals.

VEHICLE: 2016 Audi Q3

PRICE: Starting at $34,300

PRICE AS TESTED: $48,640

ENGINE OPTIONS: 2.0 TFSI (Turbo)

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed Tiptronic

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION (AS TESTED): 2.0 TFSI (Turbo), I-4 / 6-speed Tiptronic

FUEL ECONOMY (ADVERTISED): 12.0 L/100 km (city), 8.2 L/100 km (hwy)

FUEL ECONOMY (AS TESTED): 8.1 L/100 km (combined)

COMPETITION: BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Acura RDX

SELECTORS: Management

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: Although you won’t find the Audi Q3 on most selectors, a few fortunate fleet professionals will be given the option of driving one as a well-deserved perk… and good for them!

The Q3 falls into the growing category of CUV vehicles. More capable than a mere sedan, it offers a better view of the road ahead (thanks to its elevated sitting position), and is available with quattro all-wheel-drive, which is especially practical for business people who need to be places, regardless of the weather or road conditions.

Although the Q3 looks remarkably similar to its sibling, the Q5, it is smaller in size, inside and out. Then again, it’s also roughly $8,000 cheaper than the Q5, so the slightly smaller dimensions do make sense.

The question some might wonder is weather the Q3 is large enough to be practical. In other words, is there enough room in this smaller “Q” model for both people and cargo?

To answer that questions, we took the Q3 on a very long road trip: Four adults, plus luggage, on a 9-hour drive from downtown Toronto to Manhattan. The conclusion? The Q3 may be a bit smaller in size, but it’s engineered to take you places.

Although we’d be fibbing if we were to tell you that a bit more legroom for the rear passengers wouldn’t have been welcome (who doesn’t like to stretch out in comfort?), we wouldn’t call the rear quarters cramped, either. And although we had enough room for all our luggage, a little bit more cargo room is always welcome.

But unless your fleet is in need of a vehicle that will carry four adult passengers and all their luggage day-in and day-out, chances are the Q3 will be just about right for most drivers looking for a vehicle in this category.

So what is this “category?” In short, a perk. You see, the Q3 is sporty, stylish, fuel efficient, and fun to drive. The interior is quiet, and the ride is comfortable, but firm – very European! It’s packed with creature comforts, along with safety technologies, and a satisfying sound system. It’s the CUV that offers everything a fleet driver would want… and then just enough performance, handling and pizzazz to take it a step further into bona fide “perk” territory.

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