Audi's entry-level SUV will be updated in 2019 to feature the company's new platform, digital instrumentation, immersive audio, and a full-featured infotainment system. Plus, it's very fun to drive. One concern is that the changes are growing the Q3 out of its class with a few inches expansion here and there. Drivers will enjoy the configurable virtual cockpit, natural language voice commands, and driver assist programs, all of which are major expansions beyond the current first generation Audi Q3.
How has the switch to a new platform and the restyling grown the 2019 Audi Q3? How much bigger is it?
The new 2019 Q3 is not only larger than the previous model, but it's larger than traditional competitors such as the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA-class, and Volvo XC40. The wheelbase is about three inches wider, length is about four inches longer, and overall the 2019 Q3 is about an inch wider than the previous year's model. Cargo spaces have grown almost four cubic feet inside, to 54 cu ft.
What powertrain options are being discussed? Is there a hybrid in the works?
The planned powertrain for the U.S. market is a four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo producing 230 hp connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Overseas, there are three gas engines and a diesel for the Q3. All-wheel drive will be available in the U.S., possibly front-wheel drive as well. A hybrid version is rumored a bit further down the line, and of course the addition of an SQ3 high-performance model eventually.
Say more about the configurable instrument cluster and infotainment system.
Audi (and Volkswagen) now offer an instrument cluster "virtual cockpit" which can blend in aspects of phone information, maps, fuel status, outside air temperature and more, all configured by the driver alongside the critical instrumentation such as speedo and tach. Manipulation of the displays and functions is done through the steering wheel controls or voice commands. Reviewers are giving it a thumbs up as functional, organized and useful in performance driving. The infotainment system itself now seems less like an add-on tablet and more integrated, positioned for easier access and reference by the driver.
Is it fully ready for off-road exploring, or prettier than practical?
The 2019 Audi Q3 is definitely presented for enjoyable luxury driving, ready for all conditions and, in some models, tunable to an Offroad mode which prepares it for challenging driving. The small size is a scaled-down version of sibling Q models, and it can keep up when it needs to. A range of wheel sizes is available depending on the intended use.
What's the interior space like? How much cargo room?
The 2018 Audi Q3 got some review grumbles about the too-tight interior space. It is the smallest of a line of crossovers, but even so, reviewers reasoned, it should feel roomy. The 2019 Q3 model with its MQB modular architecture which is now VW/Audi standard has also provided a bit of extra space to make the interior roomier. Cargo space specifically has improved to 54 cu ft, leaving it still a bit short of the 2019 X1 and GLA models.
How's the suspension and handling for on and off-road?
An available sport suspension helps tune the Q3 from touring to performance driving, while available off-road mode helps a bit with rugged terrain. The bottom line, such as it is, is that the ground clearance limits adventurous travel in any case. Available hill-descent control will help with off-road driving.
What driver-assist features are there in this updated 2019 Audi Q3 model?
Lined up for the 2019 Audi Q3 are automatic emergency braking with eyes for pedestrians and cyclist, adaptive cruise control which can also handle stop-and-go traffic and active lane control. A 360-degree camera system and parking assist are also part of the driver assistance offerings of this year's Q3.
When is the new 2019 Audi Q3 likely to be available?
The consensus seems to point to a mid-2019 appearance in dealer showrooms, with pricing not available much earlier. The Q3 has some heavy competition in its class, and buyers will benefit from Audi's intention to exceed expectations.