The Audi brand epitomises understated elegance and quiet sophistication, class and reliability – and the new Q3 is no exception

I recently spent a week with the Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Tronic – in gorgeous Cosmos Blue. It’s a classy set of wheels – both inside and out – and delivers the smooth drive that we expect from a premium SUV from a luxury German brand. I tested the Q8 last year and this compact SUV in the Q series – with its 6-speed S Tronic automatic transmission – was just as pleasurable to drive.

What’s more, the Q3 is spacious inside but steering is light and responsive, so it still managed to feel zippy when I had to turn in narrow roads and slip in and out of tight parking spaces. And another plus factor for me: it was light on fuel (it averaged 5,9 litres/100kms) and driven by a 1,4 litre engine

A family SUV and a compact crossover with all round appeal

It’s bigger sister, the Q5 has been a vehicle that my husband has had his eye on for a while. He’s overlooked the Q3, regarding it as more of a mom’s taxi – and wasn’t sure if it would have enough luggage space for family road trips. After a week with the new Q3, he’s a converted man.

The 2nd-generation Audi Q3 is a more mature vehicle in lots of ways: longer, wider, sportier and more aggressive.

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Sportier than ever before

The exterior is athletic-looking – sporty, with really cool Matrix LED headlights whose adaptive high beam intelligently illuminates the road.

Longer and wider means more interior space

It’s bigger too: 10cm longer, providing more interior space. Knee room, head room and elbow room are even larger. The rear seat bench can slide 15cms back and forth – adaptable for when you need more leg room in the back or more space in the boot.

New digital cockpit and large glossy MMI touch response

The operating and display systems of the new Audi Q3 have been overhauled from the ground up, firmly launching Audi into the future. The standard MMI radio includes a digital instrument cluster with a glossy 10,25 inch screen diagonal, which the driver operates using the multi-function steering wheel.

You can upgrade the instrument cluster as an option to the Audi virtual cockpit with impressive additional functions.

My test vehicle was fitted with a reverse camera (my favourite feature on new cars) and Audi’s phone box. This means that you can place your phone (certain newer cellphone models) in the compartment in the centre console and it charges wirelessly and a voice speaks to you and tells you that your phone is still in the vehicle when you park and prepare to get out of the car.

Reverse camera and Audi phone box

Audi drive select dynamic handling system

The new SUV takes bumpy roads with ease – thanks also to the longer wheelbase. As an option, the driver can vary the characteristics of the new Audi Q3 depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal needs using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. It offers six profiles – from markedly comfortable, highly efficient through to out-and-out sporty.

My verdict

You don’t need a family to justify owning an Audi Q3. If you’re single and want to spoil yourself with an SUV in 2020, this is a great choice. You don’t need to be a bundu basher either to justify this all-wheel drive luxury – it’s just as much fun to drive around town – and the fuel efficiency of the TFSI engine means that it won’t glug your fuel either. SUVs are safe choices for SA roads – they offer excellent visibility and good ground clearance… for those dreaded potholes.

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