If you’re looking for a small but upmarket family car, the new Audi Q3 Diesel Estate is a great shout. It’s battling it out for your recognition in a tough sector but the question is: Do Audi do small Estate cars well enough?
Last time around, the Q3 proved to be a massive hit with buyers who needed a spacious car but didn’t want something too big. It represents a premium-badged alternative to offerings from the likes of Nissan and Renault, and it boasts good economy and a set of strong engines.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Audi Q3 Diesel Estate review.
On The Road
The Q3 is fun, powerful and agile out on the road and performance should be more than enough to satisfy buyers. All models can get you from a standstill to 62mph in less than 10.0 seconds, which is brisk enough for a car of this type.
However, there are a few deficiencies. Body lean is fairly well managed, but there are definitely rivals who are more composed on winding roads. And while there’s lots of grip available, we can’t help but think that keener drivers would – as always – be better suited to a BMW.
On the other side of things, the Audi is comfortable but again there are rivals who are able to offer smoother ride quality. Audi’s engineers clearly had a remit to improve the cars handling and comfort levels but have excelled at neither.
The brands Quattro four-wheel-drive system is on hand to arm you with more grip when you need it and it will certainly prove its worth in slippery conditions. It makes the Q3 feel safe and secure and is one of the best four-wheel-drive systems in this sector.
Meanwhile, adaptive dampers are optional. They cost a bit over £1,000 but they make for a useful addition if you want to tweak your suspension to firm things up or soften them. It’s especially worth adding if you buy an S Line model, its overly firm suspension won’t be to your liking all the time.
In terms of the engines, there’s only one diesel available but it comes in two separate power guises. It’s a 2.0-litre unit that develops 150bhp in entry-level form, which is enough to get you from rest to 62mph in 9.6 seconds. Specify four-wheel-drive and you can knock that time down to 9.3 seconds, and you can also specify a 7-speed S Tronic gearbox.
A more powerful 184bhp variant tops the range. It can do 0-62 in 7.9 seconds and can be mated to either a 6-speed manual ‘box or the 7-speed S Tronic auto. Both versions get Quattro as standard, but the S Tronic box will take some time getting used to if you haven’t used one before.
That said, you can always let it do its own thing by leaving it in Auto mode.
Audi Q3 Diesel Estate Interior, Design & Build
Inside, it’s once again hard to find fault with an Audi interior. This might be one of the most affordable Audi’s on the market but it still sports a cabin that’s bursting with quality. There are soft-touch plastics here and there, the controls for the stereo are gorgeously finished, and insulation is excellent.
That said, Audi hasn’t used the VW Group’s latest technology and as a result, it is beginning to feel a bit dated inside. Build quality is still good, though, and there are nice touches, such as the MMI integrated entertainment system and ambient lighting.
How practical is the car? It’s not much bigger than a VW Golf but it has more usability. Its high roofline creates the illusion of more space as do the large windows. Add the panoramic sunroof for £1,000 and it’ll feel even more spacious.
Adults in the rear will have no complaints with the amount of space on offer and leg and headroom is good. There are plenty of storage spaces, including an air-conditioned glovebox and some massive door bins, while the boot measures 420-litres. Its square shape makes it easy to use and its capacity extends to 1,325-litres when you fold down the rear seats.
Equipment & Safety Of The Audi Q3 Diesel Estate
Standard kit across the range is good, with all models getting Bluetooth phone connectivity, climate control, sat nav, Audi Drive Select and the brands MMI integrated entertainment system. All models also get LED daytime running lights, stop-start tech, parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.
The S Line Edition adds bigger 18” alloys, more exterior chrome, a leather gear lever, a sports steering wheel and leather and cloth sports seats.
Is the Audi Q3 Diesel Estate safe? It was awarded all five stars by Euro NCAP for its crash test performance while its standard safety kit includes ISOFIX child seat mounts, 6 airbags and electronic stability control. The likes of blind spot monitoring, hill descent control and hill-hold assistance are optional.
Costs Of The Audi Q3 Diesel Estate
Prices for the new car start out from £27,910 and rise to £37,900. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the diesels are as pleasingly efficient as they are pleasingly powerful. The 2.0-litre 148bhp engine is the most frugal and can return as much as 62.8mpg economy while emitting 117g/km of CO2.
Adding Quattro four-wheel-drive makes sense if you’ll be heading out into slippery conditions fairly frequently, but it will also have an adverse effect on the car’s running costs. With Quattro, the turbocharged 2.0-litre 181bhp diesel model returns 54.3mpg and emits 136g/km of CO2.
All models under £40,000 cost £140 a year to tax, while they fall into insurance groups ranging from 22 to 29.
Pros and Cons Of The Audi Q3 Diesel Estate
There are mainstream alternatives, such as the Jeep reviewed below, but the Audi stands out with the sense of prestige that comes from its famous four rings.
Well Put Together Interior
It might be a more rugged Audi, but there’s still a sense of occasion in the cabin.
Excellent Quattro System
It’s there if you need it and it provides a reassuring amount of grip.
As ever, Audi has played it safe with their exterior styling.
There’s a sense of occasion in here but the layout is dated.
Audi Q3 Diesel Estate vs Porsche Macan Diesel Estate vs Jeep Grand Cherokee SW Diesel
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Audi Q3 Diesel Estate review.
Audi Q3 Diesel Estate vs Porsche Macan Diesel Estate
The new Porsche Macan Diesel Estate is a stunning-looking family car that’s easily the best to drive in this market.
The Macan takes to the road like a duck to water and is easily the most fun you’ll ever have with a car full of people. Its four-wheel-drive system impresses in the worst conditions while the suspension setup is none too shabby either.
Ride quality is good, and while air suspension is available as an optional extra, it’s a tad on the expensive side and might be worth overlooking.
In terms of the engines, there’s just one diesel available. It powers the Macan S model, develops 258bhp and is the most sensible engine in the whole range. That said, it still has enough power in its tank to get you from rest to 62mph in 6.3 seconds, which is faster than a fair few hot hatches.
Fuel economy is good for a car of this type, and Macan S diesel can return 46.3mpg while emitting 159g/km of CO2. It has a BiK rating of 33% and costs £140 a year to tax. Not bad.
Inside, one of the things that stands out about the Macan S diesel is how quiet it is. It’s smooth, refined and sounds like a petrol engine.
Other than that, the cabin is well-built, durable but also rather sporty. There are the typical Porsche luxuries, such as an elegant clock, as well as more useful features like electrically-adjustable seats, front and rear parking sensors and climate control.
Is the Porsche Macan Diesel Estate practical? The driver and their passenger get plenty of leg, shoulder and headroom, while the elevated ride height means visibility is good. Each model gets five doors, access to the rear seats, and three adults should be able to sit in relative comfort back there. Headroom could be better but knee room is fine.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 500-litres and can be extended to 1,500-litres by folding the rear seats.
Audi – £27,910 – £37,900
Porsche – £45,915 – £69,505
Audi Q3 Diesel Estate vs Jeep Grand Cherokee SW Diesel
The new Jeep Cherokee SW Diesel looks great, boasts excellent off-road ability … but ultimately can’t compete with the Audi as an all-rounder.
Since when did Jeep’s get this sexy? However, despite its obvious smouldering good looks, there’s nothing sexy about the noise its diesel engines make.
That said, it’s enjoyable to drive. Its high ground clearance, tall body and soft suspension setup ensure it’s very good off-road, but body lean is excessive and it means there’ll be no fun when taking corners. Moreover, the steering is too vague for our liking.
On the plus side, ride quality is good.
In terms of its engines, there’s only one diesel that can be paired up with a manual gearbox. It’s the entry-level 2.0-litre unit that develops 138bhp, but which it has light, precise shifting action, it pales in comparison to the 9-speed automatic ‘box.
The entry-level diesel can be specified with either front or four-wheel-drive but it lacks power and takes almost 11.0 seconds to complete the 0-62 dash.
Next up are a pair of 2.2-litre diesel engines that develop 182 and 197bhp, and both come with four-wheel-drive and the 9-speed auto ‘box as standard. They’re both strong, a bit noisy, and complete the 0-62 dash in 8.8 and 8.5 seconds respectively.
Running costs? The entry-level 2.0-litre diesel is good for returns of 53.3mpg and emits almost 140g/km of CO2. Adding four-wheel-drive negatively impacts those numbers.
The bigger 2.2-litre diesel engine, meanwhile, returns around 50mpg regardless of which variant you plump for.
Inside, the Jeep is attractive enough and comes well-equipped. Each model gets the likes of a 6-speaker stereo, a DAB radio, a 5” Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, as well as Bluetooth.
The layout is impressive, there are flashes of chrome here and there, and the materials, though not absolute top quality, are decent enough.
Is the Jeep Cherokee SW Diesel practical? Its 591-litre boot completely dwarves the Audi. It’s a versatile boot that can be increased to 714-litres by sliding the rear bench forward, and a massive 1,267-litres by folding the rear seats flat. That actually makes it smaller than the Audi once you fold the seats, however.
Other than that, the interior is mostly spacious, but while headroom is good, legroom in the rear is a bit more compromised.
Jeep – £32,685 – £42,350
Verdict Of Our 2018 Audi Q3 Diesel Estate Review
The Q3 used to be the smallest Audi Estate but the Q2 is now smaller still. Instead, this one represents the middle ground – not too big, not too small. Does that mean it’s just right? It is if you can afford it. The new Audi Q3 Diesel Estate is practical, engaging and well-built as ever but it does come with a high price tag.