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As the German automaker's smallest crossover SUV, the Q3 is a rival for vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Buick Encore and the BMW X1.
The Q3 sports a tidy, typically Audi shape that's appealing because it resembles the larger Q5 so strongly. It's an obvious lineage--and it has some lookalikes in the form of the Fiat 500X and Lincoln MKC. It's also more stubby than the Q7 and the Q5, Audi's larger utility vehicles. The size and shape look perfectly suited to cities, a bit teensy on the highway. It's a sensitivity to scale that's much more pronounced on its rivals. New this year on the Q3, on higher trim levels, are LED headlamps; all versions get a lightly restyled grille and rear end.
Handling is predictable. Ride quality takes priority over sharp handling, but that doesn't make the Q3 clumsy. It has the tidy, buttoned-down feel Audi delivers across the board. Audi makes its Drive Select an option: it allows drivers to tweak steering, transmission, and throttle settings for more gentle or more vigorous driving feel. It lets the pricier Q3s come a little closer to the sharp, quick responses of the Mercedes GLA and, more so, the outgoing, rear-drive-based BMW X1.
There's a long list of options with the new Q3. Some highlights are Audi's MMI navigation plus system with a 7.0-inch display, a powered tailgate, and a Bose sound system with 14 speakers. Audi Connect adds in-car data services (now powered by AT&T as a Mobile Share device on your plan), wireless hotspot functionality, Google Earth mapping, and Google Local Search by voice.
The Audi Q3's styling is nothing dramatic or avant-garde, but it works very well. It's a flattering imitation of the bigger Q5--so flattering the look's also been mimicked by the Lincoln MKC--and we find some similarity with the new Fiat 500X, too.
Styling a crossover is somewhat confining, given the length and roof height and the usual corporate cues that have to blend into the mix. The Q3 admirably heels all those constraints, and the tidy shape that results is something we think will look good for years--an Audi hallmark.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.