The 2016 Audi Q3 Premium Plus with Quattro all-wheel drive offers the flexibility of a compact crossover combined with a sporty drive experience.
Crossovers are the new go-to car for families, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring family cars.
What is it?
Compact crossovers are hot commodities these days for their ability to carry people and cargo in a more manageable size, but few focus on providing a fun driving experience at the same time. The Audi Q3 adds a dose of sporty handling and luxury styling to make it more appealing than the average compact crossover.
Pricing and trims
There are two trim levels available, with both offering a choice of either front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive. The base Premium Plus starts at $33,700 for the front-wheel drive model or $35,800 with all-wheel drive.
Move up to the Prestige model with front-wheel drive for $38,600 and you’ll get additional luxury features including a Bose surround sound system, LED headlights, and a sportier S line exterior package. Add all-wheel drive to the Prestige and the starting price edges up to $40,700.
The 2016 Audi Q3 Premium Plus with Quattro all-wheel drive we tested was priced at $39,375 with options, not including destination charges.
The 2016 Audi Q3 includes numerous standard safety features on both trims. There is a suite of airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability control, and hill descent assist.
However, the Q3 does not offer front crash prevention features like automatic emergency braking or forward collision warning.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2016 Audi Q3 high marks, with its top score of Good in all crash tests and earning the laurel of being a 2015 Top Safety Pick.
The IIHS did note that the child seat anchors are only Acceptable, which is one step down from the top rating due to being too deeply set in the seats and easily confused with other hardware.
Power comes from a 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine with 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. It has a top track speed of 130 mph and will do 0-60 in 7.8 seconds.
This might be a crossover, but it drives like a sport sedan. It is responsive, with quick acceleration that easily powers the Q3 into heavy highway traffic. Passing is easy with strong bursts of turbocharged thrust.
The engine is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and quickly. It’s well-timed so you’re never listening to the engine drone, waiting for the car to shift gears. Instead, it’s a seamless process that never interferes with the driving experience.
Ride and Handling
The Audi Q3 backs up its strong performance with handling to match. Steering is responsive and solid making this a fun car to drive. The Q3 proves you can have all the practicality of a crossover without having to sacrifice driving enjoyment.
The heated, leather front seats are 12-way power adjustable with four-way lumbar adjustment. They’re very comfortable with settings that make them soft and pliant, or they can be made stiff for those with back issues.
Rear passengers also get a comfortable ride with room enough for two adults. There’s technically seating for a third person in the middle, but that seat is stiff and best suited to shorter drives.
Rear seat headroom is 37.4 inches and legroom is 31.1 inches which is less than competitors and explains the tight fit for three people. The BMW X1, in comparison, will give you 39.7 inches of headroom and 34.9 inches of legroom, which makes the third person a better fit.
Rear seats are 60/40 split folding to accommodate passengers or cargo, but they do not fold flat. Fully folded, they still sit at a steep angle making it difficult to load longer items.
There are 16.7 cubic feet with the seats up or 48.2 cubic feet with the seats down, which is better than the competing Mercedes-Benz GLA250.
Infotainment and controls
The standard setup includes a 10-speaker audio system with CD, MP3, and SiriusXM. There is voice control and wireless Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio as well as an SD card slot for playing MP3 music files. Upgrade to the Technology Package for navigation with voice control and Audi Connect with a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices.
The screen sits atop the dashboard with controls below that easily run through the menus and toggle between selections like navigation and music. No touchscreen option is available. Connecting devices is quick and easy, but the absence of any USB charging port makes keeping those devices charged more challenging.
The 2016 Audi Q3 offers the appeal of a compact crossover’s flexibility with an enjoyable driving experience.
It lets you embrace the practical side of your nature with room for passengers and plenty of cargo without sacrificing driving enjoyment. Taking the Q3 out for a spin is fun and never a chore, even if it’s only to haul the kids off to soccer practice.
Those seeking a touch of luxury and performance in their crossover will enjoy the Q3. It’s also more affordable than its competitors but comes with less rear seat room and fewer available advanced safety features than other compact crossovers available.
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2016 Audi Q3 Premium Plus with Quattro All-Wheel Drive
Base price: $35,800
Price as tested: $39,375, not including destination charge
Technology Package: $2,600
MMI navigation plus with voice control system
Audi side assist
Color driver information system
Utopian Blue Metallic Paint: $575
Power Tailgate: $400
- Highly Adjustable Front Seats
- Responsive Engine
- Sporty Handling
- No USB Charging Ports
- Rear Seats Don’t Fold Flat
- Awkward Climate Controls