Fit and material finish have long been Audi strengths, but the firm has added an impressively fine-tuned aesthetic to its interiors in recent years. The Q3 typifies this effort to meld function and premium feel in a clean-cut, purposeful environment.

The dashboard is a mix of the A1's and the previous generation A3's dashboard, but set higher and its upper and lower sections are subtly canted away from the occupants. Soft-touch trim and brushed buttons feature throughout much of the handsome matt black centre console. In daylight, it’s all pleasantly appealing, but at night the peerless use of subdued LED spotlighting bathes the cabin in a mesmerising glow.

Tim Dickson

Chief sub-editor
Tall passengers might feel short-changed by the Audi Q3's lack of rear headroom

There are mis-steps which stand out among the otherwise slick execution – the clickable climate controls (set unusually low, just above the centre console) are not satisfying to use, for example.

But most failings are so immaterial that they serve only to highlight the first-rate effort of the overall ambience. The fact that the Q3 is made in Seat’s Martorell factory is also irrelevant: this car is as tightly built as any German Audi.

You sit high, with a traditional SUV vantage point, but the car is sufficiently compact to pass as a tall hatchback rather than a full-on SUV. Nevertheless, up front, the overall impression is one of satisfyingly snug surroundings rather than an unfortunately cramped cabin.

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That perception alters in the rear. Moderate-sized adults should be able to fold themselves into the space adequately enough, but tall passengers might feel short-changed by both the legroom and the lack of headroom caused by an even-lower-than-it-looks rear roofline. 

Children will find the rear space more than adequate, but parents may, unfortunately, find the Q3’s luggage capacity less so. Although 460 litres of boot space sounds adequate, the steeply sloping hatchback and high boot floor make the volume less useable than the capacity suggests. Tip the rear seats forward, however, and there’s a full 1365 litres – 250 litres more than in an A3 Sportback.

As we said earlier, Audi has kept the Q3 range simple enough and with three trims to choose from - Sport, S-line Edition and Black Edition. The entry-level spec is fairly generous considering the size of SUV we are talking about, so expect to find 17in alloys, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, aluminium roof rails, cruise control and auto lights and wipers. The interior is adorned with dual-zone climate control, adjustable front seats, floor mats and Audi's MMI infotainment system complete with a pop-up 6.5in screen, sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and voice recognition.

Upgrade to S-line Edition and the additions include, 18in alloy wheels, LED head and rear lights, front parking sensors and an aggressively-styled bodykit, while the Black Edition models get 19in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, sports suspension, a Bose sound system, a part leather and Alcantara upholstery and numerous gloss black exterior details.

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