Interior view of the 2016 Audi Q3. (Courtesy: Audi)
If, as a parent, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the family car, driving the equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle of Parenthood — school, grocery store, home, repeat – then you really should travel the trails in something comfortable. And with enough juice under the hood to make the trip amusing, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt. (#Siliconeer, @Siliconeer, #2016AudiQ3, Lifestyle)
Here’s a contender for the role: The 2016 Audi Q3 2.0T. It’s a compact SUV that Audi first launched in 2011 and in just these few years it has been met with positive feedback. For 2016, the Q3 gets some upgrades from the original version, including a boost up by 10 horsepower, and 17 percent lower fuel consumption, as well as some fine-tuning on the exterior design.
Whatever fine-tuning they’ve done to the Q3 for this model year, what you end up with is a tight and truly enjoyable driving experience in a comfortable SUV with some quality touches. For me, that meant really wishing that my test drive didn’t have to end.
What was so great about the 2016 Audi Q3? It’s a sharp-looking SUV that isn’t so large that won’t fit into the garage, yet right-sized enough that it offers comfortable seating for five passengers and a very generous rear cargo area. It has lots of top-drawer safety features that we parents crave, and then there is the 2.0-liter TFSI 200 horsepower, 207 lb. ft. engine. It’s swift, smooth and quickly responsive, which makes the Q3 fun to drive, even on those boring trips back and forth to sports practice or the orthodontist.
So, what about those safety features? They include all the regular seat belts, but with some extras, such as a driver and front passenger three-point safety belt with pre-tensioning and adaptive force limiters and pyrotechical lap pretensioner; side air bags in the front seats, and side curtain airbags with ejection mitigation features. There is also a side assist feature that uses radar to notify you when someone is in your blind spot, making changing lanes easier. Audi’s active lane assist feature helps to keep the car in the driving lane, and park assist autonomously steers the car into a parking space. A secondary collision brake assist feature is standard.
As for convenience features, a power tailgate is very helpful for those times when your hands are full of packages or babies. Just hit the unlock button on the key fob, and the tailgate lifts up, without you having to set anything or anyone down.
Our test car was also equipped with a BOSE Surround Sound system, which was very nice to have. Since the car is whisper-quiet at freeway speed, nothing will detract from that concert-quality sound.
Behind the wheel, we found visibility to be very good. Our test car was equipped with a large panoramic sunroof with retractable sunshade, which brought in lots of light all the way into the rear seat. The steering system is tuned for sporty driving, which means the Q3 deftly hugs those curves.
Overall, we found the 2016 Audi Q3 to be a nicely sized and sharp-looking SUV. It has plenty of spunk under the hood, as well as safety features to keep the tribe safe as we negotiate our weekly travels.