Holiday Wheels: The Audi Q3

Each year I’m privileged to be offered a vehicle for the December period and 2019 was no different, with the busy folks from Audi kindly offering me one of their latest Q3 models.

A Mythos Black 35 TFSI arrived at the Autodealer office mid-way through December and so began a month’s worth of commuting and cruising in the brand’s latest SUV.

The press unit

The elephant in the room with many a press car from premium brands is the list price versus the price as tested, which in the case of my press car was R599 000 without options and a rather painful R744 750 as tested. The caveat here is that press cars are often specified to the brim to demonstrate to the automotive media just what is available within a given model range.

Niceties in my Q3 tester included the Comfort Package which includes parking aids, an electric tailgate, heated electric front seats and a luggage pack. Other options include the sublime Bang & Olufsen sound system, orange Alcantara interior accents, a panoramic roof, a sports steering wheel and a fold-away tow bar. The Technology Package was also fitted, which includes aluminium interior accents, ambient lighting, the MMI navigation system as well as the virtual cockpit plus.

While not all of these options are strictly necessary, it is good to see Audi grouping various features into packages that it sees customers frequently specifying together.

Driving Q3

With the pricing and features now well outlined, it should be clear that the Q3 is marketed and indeed priced as a premium product, but does it feel three-quarters of a million Rand? The simple answer is yes, and no. You see, in terms of the way that the car is put together, the materials used and indeed how beautifully crafted the interior design is, it feels every bit as premium as you might expect at this price point.

Where the Q3 may struggle to impress buyers is in the powertrain department, with only a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine mated with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This is not to say that the 110 kW and 250 N.m on offer is not sufficient, but rather that buyers in this segment may find it difficult to justify the capital outlay for what is a relatively small powertrain.

Key rivals such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, BMW X1, the Range Rover Evoque and Volvo’s XC40 are available with more potent powertrains. Overseas markets get a 2.0-litre quattro Q3 as well as the newer 1.5-litre turbo petrol motor; however, these aren’t on the cards locally for now.

I didn’t take issue with the engine and gearbox combination throughout my near 4 000km stint with the car, which included an office commute, open road driving to a holiday destination and everything in between. The overtaking ability proved sufficient, the engine was whisper quiet, the gearbox was exceptional in all situations besides when you’re pushing on and consumption was respectable, with a final figure of 7.8 L/100km, despite the 5.9 L/100km claimed by Audi.

Perhaps it’s a newfound maturity, millennial speak for “I’m getting old”, but I found the SUV Q3 to be the perfect companion throughout my December period, whereas I am usually after the sportiest car available. There’s a 530-litre boot which swallowed luggage for two, or two sets of golf clubs, while the second row of seats can be individually folded, allowing for various items to be loaded while retaining some rear occupant space. The fold-away tow bar was also very handy for the Thule bicycle rack, as was the additional 12V socket in the boot, which charged the bicycle GPS on route to the trail.


For the past four weeks, I genuinely would not have traded the Q3 for any other automotive companion, given the sort of trips that I embarked upon. As a premium product that does the business of the urban commute while doubling as a lifestyle vehicle, the Q3 is a massive improvement upon its predecessor and very worthy of consideration when shopping in this ever-growing segment.


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