Only 1 SUV Beat the 2021 Audi Q3 on This List of Luxury SUVs This Year

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Audi offers various SUVs in all sizes, but the Q3 is perhaps one of the best. It’s among the most affordable vehicles in the segment, making it a good buy for entry-level luxury vehicle shoppers. It has also won awards from various critics, like the Autotrader award for Top Luxury Subcompact SUV for 2020.

The 2021 Audi Q3 also ranked second on the “22 Most Luxurious SUVs” list from U.S. News. Despite all its good qualities, it couldn’t take the place of the Lincoln Navigator. Still, what makes the Q3 so much better than its many rivals?

Few luxury SUVs can top the Audi Q3

Audi Q3 | AUDI AG

The BMW X1 is one of the Audi Q3’s most popular competitors, most likely because of its energetic handling. However, unlike the Q3, the X1 feels too stiff after long drives. The interior of the BMW X1 also has some hard plastics that make it appear less glamorous than its rivals.

As you’d expect from this automaker, the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class also has one of the best interiors in this segment. However, the infotainment controls can be hard for newbies to navigate, which is why the Audi Q3 ranked higher. The Q3 is also a better value, considering even its fully-loaded trim is less expensive than the base GLB-Class model.

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is no doubt the best luxury subcompact for off-roading adventures. Unfortunately, it’s not very fun to drive, and many critics report rough shifting from the transmission. It’s also around $20,000 more than the base price of the Audi Q3.

Why the Lincoln Navigator gets first place

As for the Lincoln Navigator, it has one of the most spacious interiors by large SUV standards. All three rows can fit adults, the seats recline, and the cushions retain their comfort during long trips. The Navigator also has a big list of standard features to justify its large price tag.

One of the biggest flaws of the Audi Q3 is its limited cargo capacity, which obviously isn’t a problem for the Navigator. Behind the rear seats alone, it offers almost 21 cubic feet of storage on the longer-wheelbase model. It’s predictably heavier to handle than the smaller Audi Q3, but the suspension provides a smooth and velvety ride.

The Audi Q3’s best qualities

While it’s not the sportiest subcompact, the Audi Q3 feels lively around corners and accelerates quickly from the start. It gets its power from a turbo-four engine capable of 228 hp, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, unlike many of its rivals, the Audi Q3 comes equipped with AWD as a standard feature.

The 2021 Q3’s suspension absorbs almost every bump in the road, adding to the interior’s exceptional level of comfort. It has some nicer materials than its 2020 model, and the driver’s seat has been adjusted to accommodate taller individuals. Additionally, the driver and front passenger get treated to heated seats with many adjustability options. Meanwhile, the rear seats can recline, and every seat has adequate cushioning for extended trips. The reclining rear seats also make it easier for tall passengers to remain comfortable despite the limited space.

For 2021, Audi simplified the Q3 model’s infotainment controls to make them more user-friendly. The standard 8.8-inch touchscreen registers inputs with haptic feedback, so users don’t have to press too hard on the screen. Wireless smartphone integration is already installed, and nice options include a Bang & Olufsen speaker setup and a wireless charging pad.

The base Audi Q3 doesn’t have many standard driver’s aids, but the next trim up isn’t a huge price increase. You can also get a package that includes Audi’s Virtual Cockpit on the range-topping Premium Plus trim. This feature functions like a larger head-up display, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

RELATED: Why a Used 2019 Audi Q3 Is Good Enough

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