Volkswagen and its luxury arm Audi are mostly known for their austere interiors and contemporary, trend-setting styling. Masters of Teutonic design, VW and Audi often feature interiors with little or no adornment and exteriors where a lack of panache is actually a design element unto itself. The 2022 Audi Q3 features all of that tradition combined with a reasonable price tag, fast pace, and solid mix of functional technology.
The 2022 Q3 is a small crossover-SUV that is nearly compact, but not quite so. First redesigned for this generation in 2019, the 2022 model year for the Q3 finds it gaining the latest in Audi’s infotainment (MIB3), improved acceleration and handling, and a slightly refreshed interior look. These are standard for the new 2022 Audi Q3. Even more things are added as options as well.
There are two options for the 2022 Q3 when it comes to power plants. The 40 TFSI model has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that outputs 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Those are respectable numbers that the eight-speed automatic transmission puts to good use with its standard all-wheel drive (aka “Quattro”) system. The other engine is the same 2.0L upgraded to output 228 HP and 258 lb-ft in the 45 TFSI. This one mates to the same transmission, but obviously adds more interest in terms of acceleration and punchiness.
From those two engine options there are two trim level choices: Premium and Premium Plus. The Premium trim is the base level, but features LED lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, tri-zone climate, digital instrument cluster, leather upholstery, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with MIB3, and a panoramic sunroof. That can be upgraded with the Convenience package that adds a hands-free liftgate, auto-dimming and folding side mirrors, keyless entry, satellite radio, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Teh Premium Plus trim level adds the Convenience package to the Premium as well as ambient lighting, a wireless phone charging pad, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and a 360-degree camera system. A Technology package adds to all of that with navigation, a larger instrument panel, a larger infotainment screen, Amazon Alexa integration, and an upgraded audio system from Sonos. The price difference between the base model Premium and a loaded up Premium Plus model Q3 is less than $10,000. So most buyers will find themselves in the $36,400 (base model) range or splurging at just over $41,000 for a fully-loaded Q3.
With either engine option, the 2022 Audi Q3 is not a race car. More a daily driving workhorse with some pep. The 45 TFSI propels the Q3 to 60 mph in about 8 seconds, which is a bit slower than most rivals. But those not looking to take pink slips on the weekends will appreciate it’s feeling of quickness and delivery of confidence in most driving situations. Most drivers will also enjoy the positive feedback that the steering and pedals give and the well-tuned turning and body control the Q3 delivers in most everday driving situations.
What drivers might not be as enthusiastic about is the fuel economy returns the 2022 Audi Q3 brings. The EPA rates the Q3 at just 30 mpg on the highway with the base model and 26 mpg with the higher-HP engine. In our testing with the 45 TFSI, we averaged 26.7 mpg on our usual 42-mile highway loop at 65 mph. We feel that most drivers will probably slightly exceed EPA estimates most of the time, but that still puts the Q3 below most of its rivals when it comes to fuel economy. Even when comparing only AWD-equipped models.
On the other hand, living with the Audi Q3 on the daily is an easy experience. While cargo space is limited given the vehicle’s dimensions, it’s useful and easy to access. Interior comfort is good with a lot of roominess as the norm in this vehicle. Better than that is the technology within the Q3.
The new MIB3 system, which wounds like a film sequel, is very well done. The 2022 Q3 has excellent voice recognition, allows for menu-skipping while using that feature, and has fast responses to inputs from any method. We especially liked the crisp navigation and easy-to-read driver information and instrument cluster screens.
So although the 2022 Audi Q3 lacks the bling factor of most luxury entrants into the small SUV segment, it has plenty of appeal beyond that initial “meh” feeling it gives. It’s ergonomic, nice to drive, and comfortable to use. We like it.
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