2022 Audi Q3 S Line 45 TFSI quattro
2.0-liter turbocharged four (228hp, 258lb-ft)
Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, U.S.
21 city / 28 highway / 24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG))
Fuel Economy, Canada
11.4 city / 8.3 highway / 10.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
$39,895 U.S. / $44,545 CAN
$48,740 U.S. / $53,350 CAN
Prices include $1,195 destination charge in the United States and $2,295 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
Ever since the late David E. spaketh his missive and/or advertorial on behalf of a sports sedan, a pair of German brands have been the symbols of having made it…or at least being on a clear path to making it. Audi, on the other hand, was the third wheel – occasionally gaining respectability, but too often finding itself fighting against the memory of a vengeful Sunday evening “news” program.
Lately, however, Audi has been cutting their own path, with a distinctive style unlike any other automaker. The four rings within a gaping black grille are being recognized and appreciated as genuine markers of a fine luxury automobile – and not, as once was the case, as simply a nicer Volkswagen.
Ok, so when you dig deep I suppose this 2022 Audi Q3 really is a nicer Volkswagen – it’s basically a lifted five-door GTI when you play mix-and-match with powertrains, platforms, and bodyshells. The thing is – most modern Veedubs are pretty damned good already. With such a solid foundation upon which to build, it’s no wonder that Audi has garnered a solid reputation as a veritable alternative.
For a brief refresher on Audi naming conventions, it seems that Q is Ingolstadtese for crossover. The larger the number after the Q, the larger the crossover – thus, this Q3 is the smallest of the bunch. The engine sizes are similarly denoted by a two-digit number – this is a “45”, which doesn’t correspond in any logical manner to the 228 horsepower or any other SI measure of power that I can figure. The entry Q3 is powered by a “40” engine – producing 184 hp. Yeah, I’m confused too. Just buy the more powerful engine.
I’ve seen other reviewers call the 228 hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four underpowered – I suppose, if comparing compact crossovers back-to-back on a dragstrip, you could make that assertion. I don’t have the luxury of a racetrack at my disposal. All I can tell you is the power here is plenty adequate for virtually any situation you’ll encounter. Launching at a light to beat a tight merge is effortless, made even easier with the standard all-wheel drive. Turbo lag is present, certainly, but not overwhelming – and it’s smoothed out by the crisp-shifting eight-speed automatic.
The steering is light and numb, without communicating much of what’s going on at the contact patch. The ride is quiet, firm, and well-damped. Road and wind noise are at a minimum. And visibility to all four corners is excellent, making the Q3 a great urban runabout that can be parked easily anywhere.
My tester was fitted with the optional 10.1-inch touchscreen which appears quite similar to the one in the Volkswagen GTI I tested earlier this year. Mercifully, however, the HVAC controls are divorced from the screen – and there is a dual-function knob for volume and tuning. It’s strangely set away from the driver below the HVAC panel, to the right of the engine start switch, but it’s there.
For those playing along at home, you may have noticed in my reviews over the years that there is occasionally some sort of message within the choice of music displayed on the central audio display. Whether to amuse, to comment on the car, or to simply share a favorite tune, there are times when I put some effort into what is appearing on the screen.
Not this time. Read nothing into the song playing here other than “Chris was in a hurry to photograph the interior before the kids got in and he would be forced to find the wet/dry vacuum deep within the musty bowels of his garage.” Clearly, my care at maintaining a fine detail does not extend to the fingerprints on said screen, but alas.
The exterior styling clearly is inspired by the larger Q-ships within the Audi lineup. It’s handsome without being memorable. I do appreciate the lack of black lower body cladding other than a splash of gloss black at the rockers. The Glacier White paint here looks fantastic.
The interior is similarly handsome and looks at first glance to be quite posh. However, if picking at nits, the materials in some spots are a bit cheap feeling – the metallic patch above the glovebox feels especially low-rent. At this price, I’d hope there’d be more attention paid to interior surfaces. The second-row legroom is a bit tight, too – you’d think a car built by Germanic people would better cater to their generally stout nature. I say that as my family tree has deep roots in Prussia, as witnessed by my kids occasionally pressing their knees into my back whilst driving.
In all, however, I’d definitely consider the 2022 Audi Q3 a solid competitor in the hotly-contested luxury compact crossover market. It’s a stylish, comfortable ride that requires little from a driver – which is perhaps a prime definition of luxury.
[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]
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