'Affordable' and 'Audi' are not typically found in the same sentence. They are never, ever, synonymous. Well, at least, they aren't if you exclude the Q3. The 2021 Audi Q3 takes everything there is to love about Audi and puts it into a neat-but-affordable package. It might not be the most powerful SUV Audi has to offer, but it is loaded with enough luxury-oriented features to make it feel like every other Audi. However, buyers will have to accept the fact that the Q3 has a less-than-average fuel economy, which isn't saying much for a luxury SUV. Also, this vehicle lacks practical, well-sized small item storage areas inside of the cabin and, overall, isn't as much fun to drive as other Audis. But we will let you be the judge of that. Read on to learn more about the 2021 Audi Q3 and whether you should give it a test drive.
What's New For 2021?
No serious changes were made to the line-up, so the 2021 Audi Q3 essentially carries over from the previous iteration. It was just redesigned for 2019, so there are few changes of which to speak. The one big change we know to be happening for 2021 is the dropping of the Prestige trim level and the divvying up of its features into the Convenience and Technology packages on the Premium and Premium Plus trim levels.
The 2021 Audi Q3 is exclusively available as a luxury small SUV.
For 2021, you still get the three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and the extinct-for-2021 Prestige. Each one is powered by a 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that puts forth a power output of 228 hp. Its torque comes out at 258 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is a standard feature across the entire line-up, as is an 8-speed automatic transmission.
On the Premium trim level, you get treated to an array of standard features, starting with a power liftgate and LED headlights and taillights on the exterior. There is also a nifty panoramic sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control for heating and cooling the cabin, heated front seats, chic leather upholstery, an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen system, and standard smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Additionally, a bundle of driver aids comes equipped, lending you access to helpful features like forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection with the automatic emergency braking feature.
If you decide to go for the Premium Plus (which is the line-topper for 2021 but the mid-tier trim level for 2021), you will have access to even more standard features. This trim level has parking sensors for the front and rear of the vehicle, keyless entry and ignition, and a wireless charging pad. More driver aids get added, including blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.
2021's line-topping Prestige trim level has just about everything you could possibly want: a bigger touchscreen display, adaptive cruise control, side mirrors that are power-folding, a fully digital instrumentation panel, and a premium sound system. A built-in navigation system also comes standard.
What is it like to be behind the wheel of the Q3? Well, it's... okay. If you have driven any other Audi before, you might feel disappointed in how lackluster of a power output the engine has; an acceleration speed of 7.8 seconds going from 0 to 60 mph is fairly slow for the segment. Many rivals do better than this, including most Audis. Also, when you are trying to launch from a stop, the 8-speed seems like it needs extra time to get going through the gears.
Handling and steering are a different story. Handling is much spunkier, and the steering provides plenty of feedback to the driver. Taking a curve at a higher speed feels remarkably secure, but daily driving feels comfy too. You just won't get much of a sporty performance is all.
Most luxury buyers do not pay a lot of mind to fuel economy, but in case you do, here's the scoop on the Q3. It isn't good news. The Q3 gets an EPA estimate of 22 mpg combined. This places the Q3 at the bottom of the barrel numbers-wise. Most other small luxury SUVs manage to make it to the mid-20s at the very least. The tougher rivals can close in on 30 mpg combined. Real-world tests reveal that, in heavy traffic scenarios or in slow-speed city driving, the Q3 barely makes it to 20 mpg combined. In mixed driving evals, the Q3 did best the 22 mpg combined mark by several mpg, so it really depends on how you push the Q3.
The 2021 Audi Q3 is the affordable alternative to the more expensive Audi SUVs. It isn't a cheap vehicle by any means, and it is packed to the brim with standard features. Just be aware of the lackluster engine output, and you should be set to make your decision on whether or not this is the vehicle for you. If you are looking for more performance, look to one of the bigger Audi SUVs. But if you want to keep things within a reasonable budget, give the Q3 some consideration.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All Audi Q3 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.