Q3 turns glamper van
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.