Good Things Come In Small SUV packages: the 2014 Audi Q3 Review
Premium buzz with the 2014 Audi Q3
If you’ve looked over car lease deals on SUVs in the past but have been put off the idea by their bulkiness (and high running costs), the 2014 Audi Q3 might be the car for you. It shares many characteristics of the Q5 – albeit in a compact form; making it a highly attractive entry-level option for anyone drawn to the Audi SUV range. The 2014 Audi Q3 is also a significantly cheaper alternative to the likes of the Range Rover Evoque.
The Look and Feel
If you imagine a slightly shrunken down version of the Q5, that pretty much sums up what you get with the Audi Q3. In terms of length, the Q3 is 24cm shorter – but from a distance it’s hard to tell the two cars apart. If you’re put off by the ‘boxiness’ of some SUVs, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by the 2014 Audi Q3: the gently sloping D-pillars give it a roundness that softens the edges for a less angular appearance.
Inside, you get the tasteful styling you’d expect from Audi. So far as seating is concerned, the Q3 offers the type of accommodation you would expect from a decent sized hatchback. There is plenty of room at the front – whereas at the rear you get just about enough space for three adults. The 2014 Audi Q3 offers a 460-litre boot – together with the option of 1365 litres of space in total should you choose to put down the rear seats.
Performance and Drive
The range of petrol engines consists of a 168 bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged model – available in a choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive. You also have the option of a 208 bhp 2.0-litre unit in four-wheel drive mode only. This 208 bhp model is pretty impressive in terms of acceleration; managing to cover 0-60mph in just 6.9 seconds.
Motorists who prefer car leasing deals on diesel models will find that Audi has kept the choice simple when it comes to the 2014 Audi Q3. There’s the option of either a 138 or 175 bhp version of the Audi 2.0-litre engine. You do however get the choice of two or four-wheel drive on the lower-powered variant – whereas the 175 bhp model comes in four-wheel drive only.
With the extensive use of aluminium, Audi has been careful to keep the weight down on the 2014 Audi Q3 – something which is an important factor in delivering an agile ride. Other useful technical tweaks help to make the driving experience as enjoyable as possible. This includes a seven-speed paddle shift S-tronic dual clutch gearbox gearbox featuring a lightweight clutch.
Looking for car lease deals on an off-road Audi? You’re probably better off opting for the Q5 or Q7 rather than the Q3. The Haldex multi-plate clutch on the four-wheel drive models gives you plenty of grip on roads – and even the odd grassy slope or track, but it doesn’t have the same capabilities of the heavy duty Torsen-based four-wheel drive system on the Q5 and Q7. This, along with the fact that you get a maximum of just 170mm of ground clearance (or 150mm if you opt for the S-line sports suspension) means that off-road capabilities are limited.
Options and Efficiency
If fuel economy and efficiency are the two factors steering you away from car leasing dealson SUVs, the stats on the 2014 Audi Q3 are likely to make for interesting reading. All of this is helped by the inclusion as standard of a handful of efficiency-minded innovations such as Stop-start technology and brake energy regeneration. There’s also an Efficiency mode designed to help further with keeping fuel consumption down. It disengages the clutch each time the driver lifts the throttle. Audi claims that this mode has the potential to reduce annual fuel bills by between one and two per cent.
If you opt for the lower powered diesel option, you get a rather impressive 54.3 mpg on the combined cycle. Step up to the higher-powered diesel engine and there’s an inevitable fall: but only down to 47.9 mpg. This compares very favourably to Audi’s competition in this class – and also happens to beat the figures for the BMW X1 2-litre diesel model. The combined cycle figures for the two petrol options are 38.7 mpg and 36.7 mpg.
The final word
The Audi Q3 will certainly appeal to motorists looking for car lease deals on a premium quality SUV that isn’t too overwhelming in terms of size or price. The 2014 Audi Q3 is fuel-efficient too – and makes an ideal family car.