2015 Audi Q3 35 TDI Facelift Review
If you are stuck in a car on an uneven terrain, chances are it doesn’t feature Quattro all wheel drive system, something that Audi cars boast of strongly. They not only offer a stronger potential to challenge any surface but also come with the best and modern features to make everyday driving an experience to cherish.
Monetarily, Audi is doing fantastic business in India with its ever growing dealership network and a robust line up of vehicles which includes sedans, SUVs and high performance sports cars. Among these, the Q range of SUVs has been a major hit among Indian consumers with the range starter Q3 being the largest seller and also a leader in the compact SUV segment.
The brand new arrival of Mercedes Benz GLA into the compact SUV space did create some buzz until it staunchly stood against the Audi Q3. To make sure this fight gets a spicy garnish, Audi recently suited the Q3 with a facelift and also gave it an interior uplift. What’s the real deal behind it? We reveal in our review.
Things haven’t changed drastically in this small lil SUV as it still looks more macho than the Mercedes Benz GLA and definitely more enthusiastic than the BMW X1. Audi has given it a mid life facelift and thus it gets certain modern elements but still maintains its earlier charm.
At front, there is a crisper looking three dimensional single frame radiator grille sporting new edges around its shape with a contrasting brushed aluminium finish. The streamlined headlamps intrude this arrangement neatly. The fog lamp pockets too have got a new design except for a small change i.e. they no longer feature fog lamps as the headlight cluster gets LED day time running lamps. The creases and contours on the front make it look wider than before.
To the side, everything remains same as before except for new 5 spoke 17 inch alloy wheels. These wheels maintain the edgy theme and look neat compared to the ones offered earlier. The side skirts get a minor change whereas other features and traits are carried over. The Q3 has always looked more appealing than its rivals because it is not a faux looking SUV with fake muscular additions, instead its overall shape and size is properly scaled down from bigger SUVs like the Q5 and even the Q7.
There are sequential turn indicators which illuminate within two-tenths of a second at rear with new LED tail lamps, much like the ones offered in their flagship luxury and sport offerings. The rear bumper gets a new shape with a diffuser and chrome layered twin exhaust pipes. Also, buyers can avail the new Q3 in three brand new shades.
Inside, the changes in the interiors make it feel more upmarket than before. The basic layout remains same but with the use of refreshing materials and new colour schemes, the interior trims feel more delightful.
Here again the Q3 scores more over its rivals as it the cabin feels more airy and spacious. The interiors can be availed with optional dual tone beige and black or an all black trim. The wooden inlays have been substituted by 3D Aluminium tangent silver finished ones. Even around the automatic gear shift, there is a brushed aluminium surround. The same can be seen around AC vents.
It feels as comforting as before as the seats come stitched in fine quality leather with enough all round support everywhere. Be it the lumbar support or the under thigh support, it scores high on all aspects. There is enough knee room for front occupants and so is the case with the rear passengers. The electrically adjustable front row seats can be arranged in the desired position with the best possible convenience.
It comes better kitted as Audi has added more features in the premium line Technology as well as lower variants. Making it more entertaining, there is a new Audi Sound system with a 20 GB Jukebox, which can save up to 4000 songs. To help you drive on unknown locations, there is a new MMI Navigation System which can be viewed on the popup 5.8 inch infotainment screen. It has to be manually tucked inside the dashboard, not like the cooler auto descending one seen in the A3. It is also equipped with 2 SDHC slots and Bluetooth for phone and entertainment.
In terms of practicality, the Q3 has multiple storage options throughout the cabin. There is a smartphone cradle, under the central armrest, which makes use of the car’s antenna and boosts signal of the phone, very innovative indeed. The subtle updates on the multi information display and the infotainment screen has further improved the experience.
The 2.0L TDI diesel motor has been further tuned for a more engaging experience making it a fun to drive SUV. In terms of numbers, it makes 177 hp and 380 Nm of torque, more than that of the GLA crossover. To ease up often shifts and also to give it an enthusiastic feel to the self driven class, there are paddle shifters neatly tucked behind the steering wheel.
At the very crank, there is no typical clatter, unlike most other motors, and that is a very good thing. Work your thumb around the newly planted paddle shifters and the motor obediently takes commands. The best thing about this TDI motor is, it doesn’t need whipping on its buttock to get prancing and instead a subtle push on the throttle is just fine.
The new Q3 also comes with Audi Drive Select with three settings. The comfort mode tackles the normal, less than perfect roads filled with undulations and uneven surfaces with softer settings while the auto mode does a seamless job of adjusting by itself depending on the condition around. It is the dynamic mode, my favourite, where you can throw the attire of well behaved for a more zesty driving style as the steering and throttle get tighter and aggressive to tackle bends and turns in the best way possible.
Open the panoramic sunroof and the cabin gets lit by natural ambience, paired with the soft beige interiors, it is exactly the place to be. Your knees too enjoy the airy feel, especially if there were inside a coupeish crossover trying to be an SUV. The driver’s seat, with its proper positioning and a wide front screen, gives a proper judgement of the surrounding. To further aid easy manoeuvrability, parking plus with reverse camera comes as standard.
There is one more thing that aids easy driving inside the city and that is its light steering. Have heard many criticise this trait, I am in favour of it as an SUV with a light steering is what one needs to quickly manoeuvre around that hatch or a sedan, parked irresponsibly in a lane. On highways, shift it to dynamic mode to bring more feel and there you are sorted for both conditions.
Another impressive thing about the Q3 is the way it rides over uncomfortable surfaces. You might close your eyes in its rival crossover as soon as a pothole is spotted but in the Q3, the suspensions muscle up to take on anything thrown to it. The commanding stance of the Q3 on such circumstances is amazing. How I wish I could grill the Q3 more as Goa has few of those and more of fine roads. Having chosen Dynamic mode with thumbs on shifter pedals, it was absolute joy. The shell and the chassis behave in unison without creating an awkward movement and all of that is complimented by the smooth diesel motor paired with 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
|Power in hp/RPM||177 / 4200|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||380 / 1750|
|Wheel base mm||2603|
|Fuel tank capacity L||64|
|Tyre Spec||215 / 65 R16|
|Mileage Claimed Kmpl||15.73|
|Features||Audi Q3 35 TDI|
|Deluxe automatic air conditioning||Yes|
|7 Speed S tronic||Yes|
|Xenon Plus with LED DRLS||Yes|
|LED Tail lamps||Yes|
|Auto Headlight range adjustment||Yes|
|Audi drive select||Yes|
|High gloss package||Yes|
|Electrically Adjustable front seats||Yes|
|Auto Release Function||Yes|
|Driver information system with colour display||Yes|
|Inlays, walnut balasmic brown||Yes|
|Audi Sound System (180 watts output, 10 speakers)||Yes|
|Parking aid plus||Yes|
|Tyre pressure monitoring display||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||35 TDI||sDrive20d Sport Line||GLA200CDI|
|Power in PS/RPM||174 / 4200||184 / 4000||135.96 / 3600-4400|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||380 / 1750||350 / 1750||300 / 1600-3000|
|Wheel base mm||2603||2760||2699|
|Fuel tank capacity L||64||63||NA|
|Tyre Spec||235 / 55 R17||225 / 50 R17||235/50 R18|
|Mileage Claimed Kmpl||15.73||15.06||17.9|
So what do we have here? A new SUV, which happily is not new in many aspects and that, is a good thing. The new design language, alloy wheels, sequential turn indicators, panoramic sunroof, modern in lays and a navigation system are convincing enough to take new Q3 seriously. About the not so new bits, they haven’t tinkered with the handling, ride quality, suspensions and it still comes with that marvellous of a small 2.0L TDI motor.
To spell it our clearly, if you are planning to buy a premium line range starter ‘SUV’, the Q3 is the only one to fit the tag. The GLA, no doubt looks snazzier, cannot crawl above its crossover type whereas the present gen BMW X1 looks better in terms of performance but loses on the raw appeal of an SUV.