My opinion/review is based on performance mainly. I personally don’t see a car as an entertainment centre, although there are some things I do look for regarding music etc.
My biggest disappointment is the frequent erratic take-offs. Sometimes, bordering on often, it’s just way too slow to accelerate from stationary. At times I find myself near screaming at the car “Come on! Move!”. I am in my late 50s, so I am not looking for Formula 1 capabilities, but sometimes I just need to enter traffic or overtake quickly, but I’ve come to be mistrustful in doing that with this car.
And too often, when it does ‘move’ it’s a sporadic jolt forward like it’s being catapulted into motion. A similar thing happens after slowing down to ride over a speed hump – when accelerating after the hump, that catapult happens unless I press the accelerator very carefully. I find that leaving either of the ‘auto-engine switch off’ or the ‘auto electromagnetic brake’ features active also interferes with the performance, so most of the time I leave those inactive. A waste of a feature considering what I paid for the car.
Also, on subsequent reading, it turns out that the gearbox is perhaps not the highest regarded one and doesn’t match well with the turbo. This makes more sense now, when I experience what feels like a mismatch or poor feeling of automatic gear changes when driving around the city.
Some reviews speak of numb driving regarding the steering and the feel of the road. Quite frankly, I had no idea what they were talking about, but I have since been enlightened. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I simply can’t feel the road like I did in other cars. I guess that’s something one experiences when you drive the car.
As an example, in other cars, even if you looked away from the road for a few moments, you could feel the veer, but not in this car. And that’s a completely different thing from the suspension, which I believe is a bit ordinary. It’s reportedly good on the open road, but in my opinion it is a bit ordinary in city driving, where for a relatively new car it’s almost a little too rough at times again, considering what the car is worth.
I find the seats uncomfortable but that’s me, and I experienced the same thing with my previous car (Subaru Forester), but I got used to that as I am confident I will here. (As an aside, I found the Forester a much more responsive and enjoyable car to drive, performance-wise.)
As for the infotainment, all I need is a radio and the SD card and they work perfectly fine. I hardly use the hands-free/Bluetooth feature for the phone, but when I have, that too works perfectly fine. I have no hangups with there not being any USB ports (I personally would like to see mobile phones scrambled out of cars, but I think at least one USB port should be available as an option for the consumer). There are a number of 12V points in the car, so the use of an adapter is a workaround for this.
The MMI screen, in my opinion, is small. My only gripe with that is when I use the navigator, a larger screen would have been ideal for visibility. Also, when using the navigator without a destination, it would have been wonderful to have had names available for most of the visible streets. At present, only some street names are presented, and these are often placed ambiguously so that I can’t make out which street is being named.
Also, I would love to have had the central driver display more customisable. Some items are displayed that I have no use for, while others can’t be displayed together. For example, having the option of displaying the trip meters, digital speed, time, and outside temperature all on the one screen, but this can’t be done.
As for cabin space, general comfort, back seat comfort, visibility, lighting and boot space, I am happy with all of these.
One other general gripe I have – I have come to believe that the blind-spot assist package is a waste of money. The side rear-view mirrors, especially on the driver’s side, are nice and large with a hint of fish-eye. They provide very ample viewing of traffic on both sides, and nothing beats a direct eyeball visual. As it is well stated in the manual, the blind-spot warning is not to be exclusively relied upon, so it serves purely as just an assistance.
I will always look over the shoulder before overtaking and find that the warning signals, nice enough though they are, for me serve only as a distraction – another piece of information presented amongst many others during driving. In my opinion, I am not flying a spacecraft at the speed of light where an electronic warning system like this becomes essential. It’s handy, but for the price of the option… But that is me, and my partner seems to like it. And it is an option, so it’s up to the individual to decide to buy it. Personally, I see it as a novelty.
On subsequent reading of numerous other reviews, the Q3 is also not well regarded for fuel economy, but I haven’t reached my own conclusions about that yet.
Ultimately, the car is a product of German engineering, so as far as safety is concerned, it is reputedly up there with the best. The same goes for manufacturing, where it has a strong reputation for reliability. That, and it falling within my price range, is why I bought it (and because my wife threateningly insisted on getting this car and would not consider any other, so for the sake of marital harmony…).
Personally, based on my driving experience with this 2017 Audio Q3 1.4-litre, I would not buy it had I known all this. The issues I have outlined are not major, but they become significant considering what I paid for this class of car. Some other cars I drove, albeit only briefly, were much more enjoyable to drive (performance-wise) with almost all the same features, and at a significantly lower cost. But then one has to factor in things like safety and reliability, which will only become evident over time.
It’s a great-looking car, but beauty is only skin deep, or in this case, metal deep.