Audi Q3 Alternatives

8 minutes Published: 26/03/2020
Alasdair Cherry

The Audi Q3 effortlessly fuses off-road prowess with composed city driving to deliver both an enthralling and relaxing driving experience.

The five-seater compact SUV offers more space than the Audi Q2, plus it’s much cheaper and better suited to city driving than the larger Audi Q5. The Audi Q3 Sportback is a sleeker alternative to the Q3 thanks to its coupe-style sloping roofline.

The Q3’s premium exterior styling is matched by copious amounts of cutting-edge technology and enormous amounts of cabin space which makes it a very popular family car option.

The small SUV blends unerring practicality with sophisticated performance thanks to a range of fruitful petrol and diesel engines. Depending on your engine choice, you’ve got the option of front-wheel drive or quattro four-wheel drive to accompany either a smooth six-speed manual gearbox or a slightly laggy and unresponsive seven speed S tronic automatic version.

Looking for some compact SUV inspiration? Our list of Audi Q3 alternatives offers a wide range of high-performance models to feast your eyes on.

Do you have your heart set on an Audi, but want to keep your options open? Check out our Audi A3 alternatives for some cracking family hatchbacks options. If you’re considering something a little more thrill seeking you’ll love our Audi TT alternatives list. Fancy something a little faster? Our Audi S3 alternatives list is sure to tickle your fancy. You can also check out our best small luxury cars and best family cars for further research!

1. BMW X1

RRP: £26,685 - £42,795
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P, H
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 43 - 179g/km

Pros

  • Practical boot space

  • Smooth drive

Cons

  • Annoying road noise

  • Outdated analogue dials

Accompanying the Audi Q3 in the luxury small SUV club is its fellow German buddy, the BMW X1. It’s incredibly practical, an absolute pleasure to drive and £3,000 cheaper than the Q3 at starting price.

From the outside, the Q3 has the edge in terms of body shape and style. The X1’s snouty-looking grille is a little pervasive compared to the Q3’s snazzy octagonal alternative.

On the inside, it’s a different story. The X1’s chic cabin is built from a number of high-quality and expensive materials that give the Q3 a run for its money. Even the doortops in the X1 are built from soft, squishy plastics which is more than the Q3 can say for itself.

The X1’s 505 litres worth of boot space blows the Q3 (420 litres) out of the park, while its eight speed automatic gearbox is much smoother than the seven speed equivalent in the Q3. Unfortunately, the X1 can be pretty noisy at motorway speeds in comparison to the quieter and more composed Q3.

2. Volvo Xc40 Estate

RRP: £24,700 - £42,250
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Crossover SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 166g/km

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable drive

  • Generous passenger space

Cons

  • Confusing infotainment system

  • Rear seats don’t recline

It’s no surprise that the Volvo XC40 is gaining huge traction from small families on the hunt for a compact SUV. The XC40 provides the perfect blend of cabin practicality and sophisticated comfort to give it dominating presence on the road.

The roomy rear seats are the most spacious you’ll find in the small SUV class, and despite the multi-purpose panoramic sunroof, the head room is still vast enough for six-footers to sit comfortably in the back.

Sadly, the back seats don’t recline in the XC40 as they do in the Q3, but there’s still more room to carry three adults in the back thanks to the Volvo’s wide body and big footwells.

The Volvo XC40’s interior is fittingly minimalistic for a Swedish manufacturer. The subtle driftwood inserts and the flashy embedded touch screen give the dashboard a sparkle, but there are slightly more scratchy black plastics than you’d find in the Audi Q3’s plush cabin.

3. Mercedes GLA Class

RRP: £24,535 - £63,415
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.1
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: A, M
  • CO2: 193g/km

Pros

  • Lots of standard kit

  • Chic styling

Cons

  • Cramped rear seats

  • Disappointing fuel economy

The Mercedes GLA is a premium small family SUV both inside and out. However, once you put it to the test, the A-Class based GLA lags behind its luxury rivals in terms of comfort and performance.

The GLA’s chunky SUV design is complimented by the cabin’s alluring dashboard. The intuitive infotainment screen is well positioned and there are plenty of glossy finishes that you can admire from the comfort of your man-made leather seats that come with plenty of adjustment.

Unfortunately things aren’t as luxurious in the back. The low roofline is a no-go for over six-footers and the small windows create a rather cramped atmosphere that you won’t find in the Q3.

Nonetheless, the GLA comes with a great deal of standard equipment. Although, we reckon this might be to mask the car’s disappointing fuel economy (45mpg) that actually makes it more expensive to run compared to other premium SUVs like the Audi Q3.

4. Range Rover Evoque Hatchback

RRP: £30,145 - £54,745
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.2
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: A, M
  • CO2: 43 - 199g/km

Pros

  • Off-road master

  • Big boot

Cons

  • Pretty expensive

  • Not so economical and environmentally friendly

The desirable Range Rover Evoque certainly has the brain capacity to back up its mighty brawn. The upmarket ‘small’ SUV boasts an exquisitely posh interior cabin to match it’s unrivalled off-road ability.

Similarly priced to the Audi Q3, both cars have 2.0-litre diesel engines with similar amounts of power and both come with four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive capabilities. While the Evoque may dominate the Q3 off the beaten track, the Q3 is significantly quicker and much more comfortable in the city and at higher speeds.

When it comes to robust build quality, the Evoque’s interior matches the impressive Q3. All the materials feel extremely polished and the heated front seats that come as standard are a perk that the Q3 doesn’t provide at entry-level.

Another big selling point for the Evoque is how well it holds onto its value compared to its premium rivals. It may seem like an expensive purchase at the time, but it’s definitely a sound investment.

5. Volkswagen Tiguan

RRP: £22,325 - £41,910
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Crossover SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 119 - 234g/km

Pros

  • Great handling

  • Very spacious

Cons

  • No sat-nav as standard

  • Higher trims get expensive

The Volkswagen Tiguan is an exceptionally spacious compact SUV with agile handling more reminiscent of a nippy hatchback. The only drawback is that other premium alternatives are more adventurous on the inside.

The Tiguan strives for comfort and practicality, and boy does it deliver. Passengers in the back seat will be able to stretch out more than they would in the Q3 thanks to the copious amounts of head and leg room provided. The Tigaun’s 620-litre boot is also a whopping 200 litres larger than what the Q3 offers.

Step inside the Tiguan and everything is well laid out, using plush enough materials. The intuitive infotainment system makes it a serious contender in the small family car class, but unfortunately everything’s a little dull and sat-nav costs extra on some of the cheaper models.

Handling is where the Tiguan excels. Steering is precise and the Audi Q3’s larger turning circle makes it harder to do a cheeky three-point turn in tight spots.

6. Lexus NX

RRP: £34,685 - £46,695
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.5
  • Fuel: P, H
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 116 - 183g/km

Pros

  • Low running costs

  • Attractive looks

Cons

  • Fiddly infotainment system

  • Not very practical

The Lexus NX is a commanding family SUV with a fuel efficient hybrid powertrain. Its bold exterior aesthetic fuses with the meticulously crafted cabin to create a relaxed and enjoyable environment.

Under the bonnet you’ll find a 2.5-litre petrol engine that combines with an electric motor and battery pack to deliver cost-effective running costs. Opting for the Lexus NX will reduce your CO2 emissions dramatically, although the limited engine range and mediocre performance is pretty disappointing.

The NX’s luxury cabin is brimming with soft touch plastics and glossy expensive materials. The soft leather wrapped dashboard is a highlight, but the awkward infotainment touchscreen is a nightmare to use compared to the simple, user friendly system aboard the Q3.

The Japanese manufacturer likes to treat their customers to a whole host of standard equipment, which really pushes the NX up the premium SUV pecking order. As standard, you’ll receive a 7” infotainment screen with reversing camera, adaptive cruise control lane-keep assist and much more.

7. Mazda Cx-5

RRP: £23,440 - £37,725
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.2
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 119 - 152g/km

Pros

  • Lots of standard equipment

  • Decent handling

Cons

  • Boot could be bigger

  • Firm suspension

We’ve thrown a larger SUV into the mix to show you just what you can get for your money. The Mazda CX-5 is a very well-equipped and practical car that has been given a recent facelift in its attempt to challenge the top dogs.

The CX-5 may not have seven seats or a premium badge, but line it up against the Audi Q3 and there’s little to choose between the two. The CX5’s standard kit is hugely impressive - adaptive cruise control, heated leather seats and sat-nav are all included. Unfortunately, if you want to add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to your armoury, it’ll cost you an extra £350.

The Mazda CX-5’s interior cabin may not be as flashy as its premium rivals, but then again, it’s also about £5,000 cheaper. The quality of materials are solid and secure, but the infotainment system lacks the sharp graphics to compete with the likes of the Audi Q3.

8. Nissan Qashqai

RRP: £19,080 - £34,935
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Crossover SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 208g/km

Pros

  • Cost-effective engines

  • Easy to drive

Cons

  • Dull cabin

  • Could be roomier

They seem to be everywhere you look, so what’s so special about the Nissan Qashqai? Well for one, the Qashqai is remarkably affordable, comfortable to drive and stylish enough for a car that starts from £19,000.

The Qashqai’s rugged looks offer a significant presence on the road, but sadly the interior cabin lacks the required level of flair to compete with the premium family SUVs. Nonetheless, the dashboard boasts a number of soft-touch materials and solid switches to ensure it doesn’t look budget.

You won’t have trouble getting comfortable in the driver's seat thanks to the Qashqai’s elevated driving position and well aligned steering wheel, seat and pedals.

Fuel economy is also worth noting. The entry-level, 1.5-litre diesel ‘Acenta’ trim returns a mighty 74.3 mpg, making it one of the most fuel-efficient and cost-effective family cars on the market.

Summary

There’s no shying away from the fact that practicality is King when it comes to choosing family SUVs. The benchmark has been well and truly set by premium brands like Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Volvo.

However, if you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, cheaper alternatives like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai provide the same level of practicality minus the premium vibe.

If you’re still head over heels for the Audi Q3, it might be time to look at our Audi Q3 lease deals.

If you’re still open to suggestions, our Audi TT alternatives provide a diverse range of sporty coupe’s. If you feel more at home in a hatchback, check out our Audi A3 alternatives for an accomplished list of small luxury cars. If high-perfoming hot hatches are your cup of tea, you're bound to love our Audi S3 alternatives post. You can also check out our best small luxury cars and best family cars for additional guidance!