When one pictures SUV’s, a certain stereotype comes to mind. Big brawny vehicles, a certain type of person driving it, fuel chugging vehicles, the perfect off-road companions… And so forth.

Does this still hold true for SUV’s? Well they are still big, more lean than brawny now. Off – roading capabilities are world class. Fuel chuggers they are not. In today’s day and age where fuel prices are rising, environment concerns are a reality SUV’s can’t afford to carry that tag. One of the companies that always get it right time and again with their SUV’s is Audi. Audi makes some of the most powerful sedans and sports coupes in the business. Their SUV’s are no different.first.jpgThe Q3 is one of the smaller SUV’s in their stable. The front bumper comes with a silver skid plate with LED headlights and LED DRLs to complete the package. The sides feature a Y design with spoke alloy wheels. There is black cladding running all around the car. The SUV credentials are reflected in the overall design language which is strong and butch in character.34.jpgStep into the car and you are greeted with a dual tone black and beige interiors and upholstery with aluminium tangent inlays. The Q3 comes packed with features such as a panoramic sunroof, cruise control, MMI infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, electrically adjustable front seats, automatic climate control and rear AC vents. The front seats are comfortable in terms of head and knee room. Headroom in the rear seat is good as well, but passengers will feel a little cramped for legroom. The boot offers 460 litres of storage space which is more than enough for those weekend trips with the family. 25.jpg

The Audi Q3 35 TDI comes with a 2.0-litre diesel motor that produces 185 HP of power from 3500-4000 RPM and 380 Nm of torque from 1750-3000 RPM. The SUV comes equipped with Audi’s famous quattro system with the powerplant which is mated to a 7 speed S-tronic dual clutch transmission with electrohydraulic control. The NVH levels are good inside the cabin making travel a very comfortable experience.

HOW IS IT TO DRIVE

Start the engine, step on the accelerator and immediately you get a sense of the refinement and power available in the Q3.1.jpgThe Q3 is one of the nimblest cars to drive whether in peak hour traffic conditions or on the highway. The compact design and driving dynamics of the car, play a big role in that regard. I forgot at times that I was driving a mid-size SUV and not a small car. That’s how good the handling and manoeuvrability of the Q3 is. All the cars in the Volkswagen family have the best gearboxes in the business which makes up and down shifts through the powerband an effortless affair. The Q3 is no different.

The Q3 comes equipped with Audi Drive Select which offers comfort, dynamic individual and off-road modes. Most times one will end up driving in the comfort mode in the city, where the car moves in a very relaxed fashion.

It’s still very quick but switch to dynamic mode, and immediately you can tell the difference. The only time I got to experience the dynamic mode was on the highway. Throttle response time is much quicker and the whole setup feels sportier while driving.

Fuel efficiency is very good. The time I spent driving it in different road conditions, the Q3 ended up returning an average of 12-13km/l. The ARAI-claimed figure is 15.17 km/l.

After spending a few days with the Q3, I can tell why its been a success for Audi. This is an SUV which lets you enjoy all the comforts and features of one without being difficult to drive.last.jpgThe Audi Q3 prices start at Rs. 34.73 Lakh ex showroom for the 30 TSI Premium FWD for the petrol base model. Prices for the 30 TDI Premium FWD for the diesel base model start at Rs 36.53 Lakh ex-showroom.

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sanjeev joshi

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