Audi’s smallest SUV was already our pick of the segment, and with this update, it’s even better than before.
What is it?
The Q3 is Audi’s best-selling model in India, and it’s not hard to see why. While sedans still, as always, hold a lot of appeal, SUVs are clearly the flavour of the moment. And this is the most affordable of Audi’s SUVs, which has opened the brand up to newer, younger buyers – a fact the company is quite happy about (the tagline for this new Q3 is ‘Start Young’). The outgoing Q3 is also the best-seller in its segment, and even came out on top in our comparison test with its closest rivals, the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Not one to rest on its laurels, however, Audi has been quick to bring the facelifted version of the car to India, and we’ve sampled it on Indian roads to see if it takes the successful formula further.
First off is the exterior design, which introduces Audi’s new family face to the Indian market. The headlamps are slimmer and, as you see on this car, will be full LED units on the top trims. The indicators at the front and rear ‘swipe’ outwards in the direction of the turn, much like in the A8 and R8. There are new 17-inch alloy wheels too, as well as three new paint shades, one of which you see here. But of course the thing you noticed first was the big new chrome-lined grille. Soon to be seen also on the all-new Q7, the wide chrome surround for the single-piece grille gives the nose a lot more presence, and combined with the angular new front bumper, it makes the Q3 look a lot chunkier than before.
On the inside, you can now get a choice of either all-black or black-and-beige upholstery. The basic layout hasn’t changed, but subtle modifications to the formula make it feel altogether more upmarket. The wood trim has been replaced by a nice textured metallic finish, and there are a lot more brushed aluminium inserts all over the cabin too.
The bigger news is the equipment list, which is an area where the outgoing Q3 did lag behind ever so slightly. It’s come in the form of a new top-spec add-on called the Technology Pack, although lower trims will likely get a few more goodies too. The Q3 Technology Pack, however, adds satellite navigation, a 20GB onboard hard drive, a second SD card slot, and a new sound system. It also gets a rear-view camera and a panoramic sunroof as standard. A smaller change is the new colour screen between the dials that gives you easier access to a lot of basic functions – like navigation directions and phone call information – without taking your eyes too far off the road. Subtler still is the new cradle for your phone in the cubbyhole between the seats that lets it use the car’s antenna to receive its signal, which saves you precious battery life. It’s the little things, you know.