Road Test: Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI SE
Sector: Small SUV PRICE: £26,200 FUEL: 38.7mpg CO2: 174g/km
Surely this must be a mis-print… a petrol-engined SUV gracing the pages of a fleet publication?
Logic would dictate so, especially since the ‘diesel good/petrol not worth thinking about’ mantra has been banged into our heads for the past few years. But times are changing, and while diesel still holds the upper hand in fuel economy and CO2 emission terms, the petrol models are catching up.
Take the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine in the Q3. On paper it has more power but is less frugal than the ubiquitous diesel, but to live with on a day-to-day basis it really is more preferable as it is much more refined and quieter than a TDI.
In 2.0 TFSI form the Q3 offers 170bhp, kept in check by quattro four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s a peppy engine, willing to rev round to the red line but equally happy to pootle at low revs in peace.
Audi claims it will return nearly 39mpg and during a typical week of mixed condition driving I averaged 34mpg, which is far closer to the claimed figure than I have ever got in a diesel. The reason? Diesels simply don’t like slow, stop/start traffic and only start offering up their true frugality with plenty of fast A-road driving.
For a car like the Q3, which is more likely to be a user-chooser perk than an essential user’s mile-muncher, this is where the petrol Q3 starts to make more sense.
And you can see the appeal for a user-chooser as the Q3 has the Audi brand cache, looks different to a regular hatchback and its tall body and high seating position give a more commanding view of the road.
Drawbacks? There’s not a huge amount of room in the boot thanks to that sloping rear hatchback, but otherwise the cabin is a comfortable place for four.
Factor in the traditional excellent Audi build quality and decent specification and the Q3 starts to look like decent value for its £26,200 asking price. Low mileage user choosers should think carefully before dismissing a petrol Q3 out of hand.