Bantam-sized luxury SUVs are a trendy and growing niche. Tight European streets and high fuel prices explain their popularity there, but here they promise posh brand cachet and SUV attributes for a more attainable price. Unlike some direct competitors, the little Audi Q3 actually delivers a premium experience in a small package. Just don't expect a bargain price.
Based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, itself not too plebeian, the Q3 is quiet, rides comfortably and has a well-finished interior with comfortable seats and high feature content. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine supplies the goods with smooth, effortless acceleration. But this doesn't make the Q3 a rocket ship and its 22 mpg overall is somewhat disappointing, given the minute size.
The cabin looks simplistic, but imparts a sense of quality. The Q3's generous standard features -- similar as in other Audi models -- includes dual leather and heated power seats, a panoramic sunroof and Audi's comprehensive infotainment system.