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Small SUV crossovers are all the rage lately, with everyone from Kia to Porsche jumping into the fray. The most recent addition is the all-new Audi Q3, a small crossover that is one of the few on the market that comes with all-wheel-drive as standard, offers a suite of technology, and gets a total redesign for 2019. We traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to get a first drive of the all-new 2019 Audi Q3.

All About the Audi Q3

2019 Audi Q3 Parked near desert mouuntain

The Audi Q3 has been around since 2011 but only made its debut in the U.S. in 2014 (as a 2015 model year). It’s a compact crossover made by the German company Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen.

While Europe gets a variety of engine and fuel options for the 2019 model year, the U.S. only gets one variant of the Audi Q3, a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine that puts out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Rather than focusing on engine options, Audi chose to focus on packaging the new Q3 upright. That means added technology, more space, and standard all-wheel drive.

When did the Audi Q3 come out?

The Audi Q3 first made its debut in the U.S. in 2014 as a 2015 model. The European version of the Audi Q3 appeared in 2011 and got a variety of different engine options. In the U.S., we aren’t nearly as lucky as only one engine is offered.

The 2019 model year is the second generation of the Audi Q3 in the U.S. It made its debut in Frankfurt in 2018.

The 2019 Audi Q3 comes with a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine paired with Audi’s eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Audi says that the new Q3 will do zero to sixty in 7.0 seconds. While that is 1.4 seconds faster than the previous generation, it still feels a bit sluggish if you are merging into highway-speed traffic.

On our drive through the Nashville countryside, the transmission felt a bit clunky, especially if you stepped on the gas from a stop on a hill. While the engine and transmission are tuned for efficiency, it does take a little bit of time for the car to calibrate to the way you drive. At lower speeds, you’ll need to modulate the pedal to get a smoother response from the transmission.

How many people does the Audi Q3 seat?

The Audi Q3 seats five people, though four adults would be far more comfortable. The rear middle seat is more of a short-ride only seat if you are taller than five feet.

2019 Audi Q3 Sportback Dashboard

The 2019 Audi Q3 is bigger than its previous model year, and that helps add to the room throughout the cabin. It gets 3.8-inches longer, 0.7-inches wider and 1.5-inches taller. Additional height is helpful for those who like to sit up above the road.

The added dimensions really add to the presence that the Audi Q3 has on the road. It gets a much more bold and athletic stance with sharp creases and angles as well as blister fenders that emphasize the Q3’s width. The grille at the front of the Q3 also gets a bit more vertical, adding to the visual height of the small SUV. The 2019 Audi Q3 looks a lot better than the previous generation.

The added length and width also add to the upgraded seating in the rear, which is one of the best features of the new 2019 Audi Q3. You can slide the rear seats back to allow for 5.9 more inches of legroom. That legroom was sorely lacking on the previous model, making the backseats almost unlivable for passengers.

The rear seats are firm and bolstered but comfortable enough. The ride in the back seat is nicely compliant without being mushy.

One issue that many small crossovers tend to have is limited visibility from the back seats because of tiny rear windows. In the new Q3 however, the visibility out of the rear seats is good enough that, should you need to haul passengers (whether they are kids or adults), they won’t get carsick.

Audi Q3 Orange dashboard

The rear seats also fold down in a 40/20/40 configuration allowing for more cargo room and space should you need it. The cargo area also has an adjustable floor with two different heights to make space for taller items you might need to stash back there.

One really gorgeous addition to the Audi Q3 line up is the optional added orange Alcantara dash. It looked absolutely stunning on the Q3 we drove in Nashville and really makes the small SUV stand out in a largely homogenous field.

Audi Q3: Packed Technology and Features

In addition to more room, Audi upgraded a whole bunch of technology, safety and features in the new 2019 Audi Q3. In fact, the major appeal of the Q3 is just how much it offers at the base level.

The Audi Q3 serves as the entry point for most Audi buyers, according to the company. It’s also the fastest-growing premium segment. In fact, Audi says that it expects that almost 60% of buyers will be female.

With that in mind, Audi focused on packaging the 2019 Q3 just right.

Audi now offers details like a digital dash on the base model, a high-resolution touchscreen that sits behind a black panel of glass making it appear to seamlessly integrate into the dash. This is a feature that Audi carried over from some of their higher-end vehicles like the Audi Q8 and A8.

Tech options that we’d absolutely suggest springing for include:

  • Audi’s Virtual Cockpit: This system is one of the best in the business and offers a configurable digital dashboard that allows the driver to put things like maps, infotainment or call details directly into the driver-centric cockpit. Things like speedometer and tachometer are automatically downsized and pushed to the right and left to allow for more screen space for the things you really want to see—like a beautiful, bright and clear map.
  • Adaptive Cruise control: An upgrade that is well worth it if you drive in stop and go traffic.

In addition to the technology features available at the base level, Audi also added some of their best safety systems to the new Q3 including:

  • Audi Pre-sense front
  • Rearview camera

For our money, we’d certainly suggest adding in the Convenience package which includes:

  • Audi side-assist with lane departure warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Audi’s parking plus system
  • Top view camera system

Where is the Audi Q3 made?

The Audi Q3 is a German vehicle that is built in Gyor, Hungary where the Volkswagen Group has a plant.

The Audi Q3 is built on Audi’s new MQB architecture. That means that the Q3 has modular underpinnings that allow for different size vehicles from the Audi lineup (and the larger Volkswagen group) to use the same bin of parts for a variety of different vehicles.

What is the Audi Q3 Sport Package?

Orange 2019 Audi Q3 Sportback parked near mountain

The new Audi Q3 comes in a variety of trim levels. These include:

  • Premium
  • Premium Plus
  • S Line
  • Prestige

The S Line or Sport package adds the following features to the Q3:

  • 19-inch wheels with all-season tires
  • Aluminum illuminated door sills
  • S-line styling kit with full exterior paint

In addition to these package levels, there are additional packages that you can add to the Audi Q3. One of those is the Sport Interior package. This package is an added $500 and offers the following added features:

  • Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles
  • Brushed aluminum matte dash inlays
  • S-line sport seats with contrast stitching

There is no horsepower or engine change for the U.S. models with the sport line. The entire Audi Q3 in the U.S. gets the exact same powertrain and transmission across the entire lineup.

How much is an Audi Q3?

The Audi Q3 starts at the Premium level at $34,700 plus a destination charge of $995. You can step up to the Premium Plus level for an additional $3,100.

Prestige is available only on the Audi Q3 S line. The Audi Q3 S line starts at $36,000 plus delivery.  To step into the Prestige level you will need to pony up an additional $6,500 above that. The total cost of a Q3 S Line at the Prestige level (without added packages) starts at $42,500 plus delivery.

Overall, the Audi Q3 gets a ton of technology and features for a really affordable price in the luxury crossover space. It’s a compelling vehicle if you are looking for something that will stand out amongst the sea of same SUVs, and want all the latest and greatest technology.

When will the 2019 Audi Q3 be available?

The 2019 Audi Q3 will be available in showrooms starting later this summer. Expect a short run of 2019 model years before Audi begins selling the 2020 model year (which won’t be any different from the 2019 versions).

Expect the Q3 to be a hot seller, too. Given its good looks, stellar price and luxury amenities, the Audi Q3 should prove to be a pretty successful vehicle for Audi.

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Audi Q3: First Drive, New Luxury
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Audi Q3: First Drive, New Luxury
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Audi Q3 is priced to get people into the luxury SUV market, and with upgrades to interior space and technology this small crossover is worth considering.
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Abigail Bassett is an Emmy-winning journalist, video content producer, and manager who has covered a wide range of world-impacting events including everything from the invasion of Iraq to Katrina and the financial and housing collapse. She has covered premiere automotive and lifestyle launches and unveilings all over the world over the last 15 years. Abigail has also extensively covered personal finance for a variety of outlets and start-ups including CNN Business, Money Magazine, and LendingTree. She spent more than ten years as a Senior Producer at CNN in New York and was most recently the Senior Director of Photo, Video and Social Media at Edmunds. She currently lives and works as a freelance writer and content manager in Los Angeles. Her clips have appeared in top-tier publications including Autoweek Magazine, Forbes, Arstechnica, Motor Trend, TheDrive, Fast Company and Fortune. She is also a U.S. juror for the World Car Awards.

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