Q3 turns glam­per van

The Advertiser - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER

A GLAMP­ING pack that re­vives mem­o­ries of the Holden To­rana Hatch­back Hutch from the 1970s is the high­light of the up­dated Audi Q3 for 2015

There are other changes for in the midlife up­date, in­clud­ing up to $7000 in ex­tra value, but the op­tional tent is the big sur­prise.

Rated to re­sist winds of 70km/h, although that’s not an in­vi­ta­tion to tow it be­hind the Q3, the tent comes as Audi Australia in­tro­duces camp­ing packages on its Q-car range.

The tent is not cheap at $3278 but it looks good with its in­flat­able sup­ports. It is de­signed specif­i­cally to be an­chored to a Q3 for hol­i­day times and then col­lapsed into the boot for the run home.

The Q3 al­ready has plenty go­ing for it, as it tops sales in its seg­ment, but the up­date brings a new look to the nose with a big­ger grille, more stan­dard equip­ment and up­dated pow­er­trains. Fi­nally, a re­vers­ing cam­era is stan­dard on all mod­els.

With so lit­tle to look at, Audi Australia has fo­cused on equip­ment and even the base car now gets xenon lamps, du­al­zone air­con, leather on the seats, “dy­namic” sus­pen­sion, cruise con­trol and tyre­pres­sure warn­ing.

The Sport trim level adds 18-inch al­loys, full leather sports seats, sports steer­ing wheel, Audi Drive Se­lect and an auto-dip in­te­rior mir­ror.

The sta­bil­ity con­trol can be de­ac­ti­vated in two stages, to make it eas­ier to han­dle dirt roads and sandy tracks, and the torque vec­tor­ing has been im­proved for bet­ter on-road han­dling.

The Q3 opens at $42,900 for a front-drive with 110kW petrol en­gine and rises to $56,900 for the auto qu­at­tro diesel. Of course there are op­tion packs, up to $5600 for the S Line deal that loads 18-inch al­loys, bet­ter trim and bright­work and black roof lining.

“We’ve fo­cused on the equip­ment that our cus­tomers reg­u­larly opt for when they make a pur­chase,” says Audi Australia man­ag­ing direc­tor An­drew Doyle.

He says slim­ming the model choices to four — and keep­ing the un­changed RS Q3 at the top — with more at each price point, is in­tended to keep the car as class leader de­spite all sorts of new ri­vals.

The best driv­ing in the Q3 is at the top and the bot­tom of the line-up and, pushed for a choice, I’d go for the front-drive starter car with a petrol en­gine and au­to­matic. It rides smoothly, has good cor­ner­ing grip and has enough fea­tures to make life en­joy­able.

Put on your glamp­ing shoes, fold the rear seats and the boot ex­pands from 460L to 1365L.

All of the Q3 mod­els are well equipped and com­pet­i­tive on price but I’m not con­vinced about the big wheels. The big­ger you go, the harsher the ride and it’s not pleas­ant in the mid-level cars on bumpy back­roads in the far north of NSW.

What’s more, the com­pe­ti­tion is get­ting much tougher with so many baby SUVs in the sub-$30,000 bracket.

The ba­sic car‘s 1.4-litre turbo petrol en­gine has cylin­der-on­de­mand tech­nol­ogy, ef­fec­tively “idling” on two cylin­ders when cruis­ing on a light load and im­prov­ing econ­omy by up to 10 per cent. It can re­turn 5.8L/100km.

To be hon­est, the mar­ginal in­crease in out­puts was not some­thing I no­ticed when I was driv­ing. And that’s good. Fur­ther up the line, I was pam­pered more, which is also good.

The ex­tra urge of the Sport diesel, es­pe­cially its 380Nm, pushes it to 100km/h in 7.9 sec­onds. But a top-line car cost­ing nearly $60,000 is a fair spend on an SUV that’s too small for fam­ily du­ties. It might be all right if you only have one young­ster, and a limited num­ber of toys, but it’s re­ally for sub­ur­ban cou­ples who like to get away on week­ends.

Which brings us full cir­cle to the glamp­ing tent, which is some­thing I def­i­nitely plan to try. Once the weather gets warmer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.