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14 Mar 2023

What We Dislike
At $253,445, it is costlier than most of its peers
Not the most engaging car to drive

The Audi Q3 may look the same as before, but the main difference is the 1.5-litre turbocharged mild hybrid engine that offers improved fuel economy.

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you, and it isn't the often cited post-pandemic brain fog either. Save for the set of optional-equipment wheels and the fact that it isn't in orange, this compact SUV you see here looks identical to the Audi Q3 that we reviewed more than three years ago.

The main difference in this unit lies underneath the bonnet. Gone was the rather fuel-hungry 1.4-litre engine, and in its place is a shiny new 1.5-litre turbocharged mild-hybrid engine. With most of the car retained, the biggest question of the day is just how the car drives, and whether this modern engine manages to be more fuel-efficient despite being marginally larger…
So, how much of the car is actually new?

The highlight of the new Audi Q3 is this state-of-the-art 1.5-litre turbocharged mild-hybrid engine
A great thing about Volkswagen Group is how the technology is shared among its brands. And you can be sure that the tested and proven stuff will eventually find its way to all products that can benefit. That is exactly the case with the Audi Q3.

The 1.5-litre turbocharged mild-hybrid engine that is powering the new Audi Q3 is similar to what you'll find in the Skoda Scala, Kamiq and the Volkswagen Golf, which bodes well for efficiency. These engines puts out the same amount of power and torque (148bhp and 250Nm) as the previous 1.4-litre engine. But, with the aid of a mild-hybrid system and Active Cylinder Deactivation, the 1.5-litre Audi Q3 now has a combined fuel economy of 14.5km/L on paper.

After 180km of a healthy mix of city and expressway driving and some idling, I've managed to achieve a fuel economy of 12km/L, a great improvement from the 1.4-litre's somewhat paltry real-world economy of 9.2km/L.

OK, so how does it drive?

You won't feel much feedback from the road, but the heavily-assisted steering makes driving easy
The first thing that came to mind when I drove the new Audi Q3 is just how easy it is to drive. I have just gotten behind the wheel after a long day and I felt right at home.

A quick check against our review of the previous Q3 confirms that the essence of the car remains - it is an easy-to-drive compact SUV.

You see, having just driven the fun and communicative GR86, the Q3 just seemed way too cushy.

You won't feel the coarseness of the road through the steering wheel, there's little to no road and wind noise, and you can barely even feel anything when driving over speed regulating strips. But this isn't a two-door low slung sports car, no.

The Q3 is a compact SUV that's meant to be easy to drive, and Audi has nailed it!
Its proposition is comfort and ease of use, and it all makes plenty of sense when you look at it in this light.

Having a healthy amount of power means that you put your foot to the ground and the Q3 will overtake with ease.

That said, you would want to keep the transmission in sport and the drive mode in Dynamic if you are interested in driving in a quicker pace.

In Comfort mode, the power delivery feels lethargic and attempts to pick up speed seem laborious due to the low rpm and high gears that the car tends to prefer.

Easy to live with

Don't let its rather compact size fool you, there's plenty of space within the Q3
What isn't laborious is living with the Q3. Being a compact SUV with a tall ride-height, getting in and out of the Q3 is a simple affair.

And don't let its compact exterior fool you. The cabin is surprisingly spacious, with generous legroom and headroom.

In fact, the entire interior is a lovely place to be in. Finished with plenty of soft touch and leatherette surfaces, electrically adjustable front seats, along with ambient lighting, riding in the Q3 is a premium experience.

And despite the car being first introduced back in 2018, the amenities and features within remains up to date.

The pleasantly-designed space within the Q3 has all the features that you need
A large Virtual Cockpit Plus display offers the convenient feature of overlaying the speedometer and tachometer on the map for easy navigation, while the Audi MMI infotainment system comes with smartphone connectivity features along with Audi connect and navigation functions.

In addition to all the features that makes life easier, the Q3 also has some interesting and functional details.

These include the large door bins and the little cubbyholes between the rear door and the rear seat, which seem like the perfect spots for rear passenger to put their smartphones or other barangs in.

A renewed proposition

From the sleek head lights to that iconic grille, the Q3's clean and simple design has aged well
Right from the start, I mentioned how the Q3 looks exactly the same as before, and it isn't a bad thing. The Q3's simple and clean look has, like its interior, withstood the test of time and aged really well.

From the sleek LED head and taillights to the iconic Audi Singleframe grille, you could tell a bystander that this is a fresh new design and no one would think otherwise.

While it looks the same as before, has the same power figures, and is indeed easier on fuel, there is a major difference. At $253,445, the Audi Q3 1.5T costs around $80,000 more than the 1.4-litre version did back in 2020, COE prices be damned. It is also costlier than the current BMW X1, which now enjoys a Cat A COE.

There is no argument that the new engine has definitely made the Q3 a better proposition than before. However, its price might be a point of contention.

Looking for a compact SUV? Here are some other options that you might be interested in:
Kia Niro Electric: Great looks, genuine capability

VW T-Cross faces off against the Kia Stonic

The BMW X1 is an upbeat urban explorer
Also read our comparison article on:
Audi Q3 1.5 TFSI (A) and BMW X1 sDrive16i M Sport (A)
Car Information
Audi Q3 Mild Hybrid 1.5 TFSI S tronic (A)
Rate it


: $253,445

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap





110kW (148 bhp) / 6000 rpm



250 Nm / 3500 rpm



7-speed (A) S tronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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