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Celebrating the change of the Audi Q3's gender identity

Celebrating the change of the Audi Q3's gender identity

A small car is for women. Do some civilized countries still have such a strong dogma as ours? The small crossover Audi Q3 is driven by the fair sex in 70% of cases in Russia, and, according to the manufacturer, mainly at the age of 35. The situation should change with the new generation of Q3. Belatedly moved to the MQB platform, the brother of Volkswagen’s Tiguan has become more versatile and attractive for both sexes. Even this formulation is no longer suitable for a world where Facebook offers over 70 gender identities.

Nevertheless, the Q3 remained an option for single or childless: there are no sensors for unlocking in the rear handles, and the openings of these doors remain narrow. The space has slightly increased: with a height of 6’1, I sit behind the tall driver without touching the back with my knees. But also without a reserve. At the same time, the seat is pushed completely backward ― the resulting adjustment of the longitudinal position and the angle of the backrest should be considered only as a way to lengthen the trunk for specific luggage. The cargo compartment itself with a rearranged floor is spacious and convenient. There is even a place for a shelf under the floor. The loading height decreased by an inch, but remained large: 29.5 inches.

Logically, all this is due to the increase in length by 4 inches — up to almost 14.7 feet. See what happened: the Q3 no longer looks disproportionately tall, it has a serious and quite harmonious appearance. It’s a pity, devoid of noticeable features, according to Audi tradition, except for the light pattern for expensive kits with animated turn signals and matrix headlights.

The sills should remain clean, because they are covered by the lower part of the doors. It is necessary to slam the door with a swing, which, according to people from Audi, is explained by more developed seals that resist noise. The interior door handles are unusual, bent down. It’s not discomfortable; you can put your fingers both from below and from above. But every time you need to open the door, you fall into a momentary stupor: how would you take hold more skillfully?

The increase in length and base (by 3.03 inches) relaxed the pose behind the wheel. The column is tilted four and a half degrees less, and the fit no longer causes bus associations. The driver’s seat pleases with a verified profile, but it is too tight in the hips. Curiously, the right front seat is freer. A steering wheel with a strongly sloping bottom is an option that should be abandoned. Also because heating is provided only for normal round steering wheels. It’s a sin to complain about visibility. The combined jet-fan nozzles of the washers are unusual. But all-round cameras with excellent picture quality lack protection from dirt.

The technogenic interior is pretty and not poor. What are the fabric inserts, including on the armrests, even on the rear ones. Electronic devices are included in the “base”. I liked the optional 12-inch version with completely different design options. In the middle of the cabin, you can find the MIB media combine of the latest version 2+. Functionality and responsiveness correspond to the spirit of the times, however, the screen is terribly glaring, especially when the curtain of the panoramic roof is shifted. An inconspicuous start button is located a couple of floors below on an empty surface, as if it was left without the attention of designers.

The Russian range still consists of two modifications. The powerful all-wheel drive Q3 40 TFSI quattro is equipped with a two-liter turbo engine with a capacity of 180 hp. (If more powerful engines appear, it will be only on a coupe-like Sportback, except for the RS Q3.) The single-drive Q3 35 TFSI is equipped with a 150-horsepower 1.4 engine. Judging by the predecessor, the popularity of the basic unit is seven times lower.

I am pleased with the lack of a start/stop system and generally good dynamics if you push the accelerator into the floor. The response is logical at the very beginning of the pedal stroke. But at partial loads, the six-speed DSG robotized gearbox is furious, staying in high gear, then shifting two or three down at once. Fortunately, the brakes are unambiguous: the short-stroke pedal provides a clear dosage of deceleration.

In warm Italy, where the temperature is from +59°F to +68°F, test cars got on winter tires, so I won’t say much about handling. It is not a pity to pay extra for the steering mechanism with a variable pitch of the rack. Trajectory control with it is accurate and logical, and when turning, you don’t need to wind up on the steering wheel, which makes only one turn in each direction. In terms of the behavior in turns, rolls, feedback on an artificially, but not extremely heavy steering wheel, I can’t distinguish the Q3 from the Tiguan. Everything is familiar, strict, Volkswagen-like.

The level of driving comfort can also be called medium-Volkswagen. The suspension is a little stiff, but it transmits less small and medium irregularities to the body than you see with your eyes. Isn’t that noble? In our market, the Q3 lacks adaptive shock absorbers, but you can order a lowered sports chassis. Is it necessary? Even with the usual one, deep pits with sharp edges are marked more strongly than you expect. Especially against the background of silence in the cabin, where there are almost no sounds from the street, and only the hum of the rolling rear wheels is noticeable at highway speeds.

Note that neither the ergonomics nor the character of the car have traces of specific female features. It turns out that the Q3 is no longer “teeny-weeny”, but quite an adult and, I admit, a man’s car. Only a 6.6-inch ground clearance under a strong, but plastic protection seems to be a compromise. As compensation, the Offroad item appeared in the menu of driving modes of Audi Drive Select, logically changing the gearshift program and the throttle control algorithm.

In general, if the 180-horsepower option behaves just as sane, I would drive this with pleasure. The main thing is to keep the presence of mind after paying the bill: the car in the photos pulls on a large amount! And comparing the prices of the Q3 imported from Hungary and the localized Tiguan is quite a thankless task. Direct competitors ― the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA ― are also not more expensive. It seems to me that the gender-variable Q3 will not set sales records.

This is a translation. You can read the original here: https://www.drive.ru/test-drive/audi/5dcd0037ec05c4f138000110.html

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