Q FOR THE GARDENS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 73
Back in 2015, Audi more specifically targeted the growing market for compact five-seat Crossovers with a much-improved version of its first generation stylish little Q3. In this form, the car became cleverer, smarter and more efficient, all of these being attributes that translate well into the used segment. When it comes to this kind of car, there are certainly cheaper options. The question though, is whether there are really any more desirable ones.
Modelsword count: 14
5dr SUV (1.4, 2.0 TFSI petrol / 2.0 TDI diesel) [SE, Sport, S line])
Historyword count: 310
Sales of five-seat Qashqai-class Crossovers have certainly taken off in recent years. Nor is it only the mainstream brands that are offering us cars of this kind - family hatches with raised ride heights and a dose of SUV-style attitude. The premium makers are at it too and Audi's done well with its compact Q3, first launched in 2011 but usefully updated in early 2015 to create the car we're going to look at here as a used buy. The 2015 update was timely because by then, this model was facing much tougher competition. Its closest rival, BMW's X1, had upped its game and Mercedes had also entered this profitable market niche with its GLA model. On top of that, mainstream-brand Crossovers like Nissan's Qashqai were offering higher quality than they'd ever previously managed to provide. Nor was it escaping the attention of potential Q3 buyers that for the same kind of money being asked by Ingolstadt, they could have a slightly larger RAV4 or Honda CR-V-style compact SUV. For all these reasons, this Audi needed to evolve - and it did. It continued to be based on a Volkswagen Golf platform, with a simple 'on demand' quattro 4WD system and production farmed out to SEAT in Spain. As for what was different with this facelifted model, well the looks were slightly smarter and there was a bit more equipment, but the main changes lay beneath the bonnet. There, buyers were treated to a completely revised and fully Euro6-compatible turbocharged engine range that offered more power, yet considerably greater levels of efficiency. There was also improved safety, slightly sharper handling and as much on-the-move connectivity as you could ask for back in 2015, courtesy of the brand's clever optional 'Audi connect' multimedia system. This MK1 model sold until mid 2018, when it was replaced by an all-new second generation design.
What You Getword count: 322
Those who, perhaps understandably, think that Audi did little more than shrink a Q5 in a hot wash to create this model might be interested to find that it's actually based on a concept car (the 'Cross Coupe Quattro') announced in 2007, well before that larger SUV saw the light of day. That prototype seemed pretty avant garde back then on the motor show circuit, but in finished production form, this Q3 has always seemed a conservative-looking thing, though the coupe-like roofline and sharply sloped D-pillars do give its silhouette an expressive and sporting demeanour. With this revised facelifted MK1 model, Audi's design team tried to further build on this, primarily at the front where the brand's familiar Singleframe front grille is more distinctive, with a 3D-effect emphasised by chromed vertical bars on the S line variants and enlarged top corners that extend to revised headlights that use either 'xenon plus', 'all-weather' or full-LED technology, depending on the trim level you choose. Up-front, there's the slightly raised driving position this class of car usually delivers and it's easy to get comfortable thanks to plenty of flexibility, both from the supportive height-adjustable sports seats and the reach and rake-adjustable three-spoke steering wheel. Is it all classy enough? It's a fair question to ask, given fears that Spanish construction of this car alongside humbler SEATs would lead to a cheap-feeling interior. Such worries continue to be groundless with this revised model which, like its predecessor, manages to offer exactly the same high quality finish you'd get in an Audi Q7 costing three times as much. Out back, plusher variants get a power-operated tailgate that rises to reveal a 420-litre cargo area. The capacity's very usable too, with four lashing points and a reversible boot floor made from velour on one side and plastic on the other so that you can flip it over for the carriage of things like muddy boots and muddy dogs.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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