We’ve enjoyed towing with Audi’s Q3 in the past, but the 1.4 TFSI model doesn’t live up to the standards set by diesel versions we’ve tested.
It’s not the engine’s fault – at least not directly. The high-tech 1.4-litre turbocharged engine uses cylinder cut-off technology to reduce fuel consumption, returning 50.4mpg. It’s not sluggish, either, pulling a Swift caravan weighted to 85% of its kerbweight from 30-60mph in 13 seconds.
However, the petrol is much lighter than any of the diesel models, and it’s front-wheel-drive, which also cuts down on heft. Perhaps that’s why this Q3 just doesn’t feel as stable as others we’ve towed with, needing steering corrections in a gentle breeze at 60mph. Data from the Al-Ko ATC system shows some instability when slowing down from high speeds, too. The Q3 didn’t particularly enjoy the hill-start test, either, spinning the front wheel and sounding strained and laboured.
It’s a shame, because without a caravan to pull, the Q3 is a very fine car. The ride is controlled and supple, and at motorway speeds the car stays hushed and quiet.
Space in the back of the car is relatively tight, but anyone travelling in the front two seats has plenty of room and the cabin is well put together.
The small boot is another downside to living with a Q3 – we couldn’t come close to finding room for a full load of holiday luggage. On the plus side, Audi considers the space-saver spare wheel to be suitable if you have a puncture while towing.
Audis aren’t cheap, but this model is better value than most.