2022 Audi Q3 S Line Review – Sporty or Just Weird?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Fast Facts

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (228 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 251 lb-ft @ 4,500)
Transmission/Drive Layout
Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy (U.S., MPG))
21 city / 28 highway / 24 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy (Canada, L/100km))
11.4 city / 8.3 highway / 10.0 combined (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$38,700 (U.S.) / $45,800 (Canada)
$47,040 (U.S.) / $52,640 (Canada)
Prices include $1,195 destination charge in the United States and $2,950 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The idea of a compact, sporty entry-luxury crossover is appealing.

It’s a sort of a “have your cake and it too” proposition – you get the utility of a crossover, but it’s also fun to drive and at least a little bit upscale. Sure, it’s expensive, but perhaps not out of reach for the upwardly mobile young (or youngish) urban professional.

That’s the proposition offered by the 2022 Audi Q3. Does it live up to what it promises?

The short answer: Well, maybe.

Let’s start with the good news: The Q3 is lively to drive in an urban environment, despite having a motor that doesn’t appear particularly robust on paper. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 228 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, and while the Q3 isn’t especially fast it still manages to feel spritely enough around town. There is some throttle delay and/or turbo lag at times.

An eight-speed automatic transmission gets the power to the ground via all-wheel drive. The Q3 handles with a lively friskiness that’s just fun enough to liven up the dreary commute, though the steering feels, as if often the case these days with VW/Audi products, a bit too light and disconnected. There’s also a bit of a ride punishment – the Q3 is definitely on the stiff side, though it never veers into punishing.

Where the Q3 confounds me is in the cabin. There’s good here – an easy-to-read digital gauge cluster, an infotainment screen that integrates nicely into the center stack, and appropriate buttons for the radio and HVAC. What’s not quite as good is the use of shapes and materials in its design. It’s a mishmash of angles that mixes black, aluminum inlays, and brown leather. I realize this design is subjective and I don’t find it ugly, just a bit incoherent. More concerning were some below-the-beltline materials that felt a little downmarket and plasticky.

At least the Audi MMI infotainment system is easier to use than it use to be. Audi has made great strides in that area.

I’m less put off by the angular exterior looks. It’s a cohesive design that gives off “upscale lifted sporty hatch” vibes. That’s what the Q3 is, of course, and it shows. The grille is a bit oversized here, as seems to be a trend these days, but not so much that it ruins the flow.

You can snag an S Line for a base price of $38,700, but it wouldn’t be a press vehicle if it wasn’t laden with options. Here we start the proceedings with the $595 Chronos Gray paint, then tack on $3,300 for the Premium Plus package. That includes adaptive cruise control with lane guidance, LED headlights and interior lighting, a top-view camera, driver-seat memory, and satellite radio.

Another $2,700 brought forth the Technology Package, which added navigation, virtual cockpit digital gauges, MMI, and Sonos audio. Eight-hundred more bones gave this one 19-inch wheels.

Slap on $1,195 in destination and you have a total of $47,290. An Audi phone box was deleted from my tester for a total of $47,040.

Fuel economy for the Q3 S Line is 21 mpg city/28 highway/24 mpg combined.

The Q3 S Line left me feeling a bit perplexed. It’s fun enough to drive and the price of entry isn’t too high. Audi’s cabin user experience is generally fine, and that’s true in this application. But some of the interior design choices seem odd – it’s almost like designers wanted more to stand out by being different than creating a cohesively handsome design. And while the price isn’t that far off of today’s newly insane average transaction price, it’s still hard to excuse the use of some downmarket materials, even if they are hidden below the beltline.

I doubt I’d kick the Q3 out of the driveway. But I don’t know if it would be my first choice in this segment.

What’s New for 2022

The 2022 Audi Q3 makes standard the newest generation of Audi’s MIB 3 infotainment system as well as side assist with rear cross-traffic. Also newly standard is the Audi parking system and the interior aluminum inlays.

Who Should Buy the 2022 Audi Q3 S Line

The yuppie seeking a compact sporty crossover at a reasonable price.

[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 22 comments
  • Make_light Make_light on Apr 27, 2023

    I had one of these as a rental once, and it is probably the most disappointing new car I've ever been in. And this is coming from someone who is an Audi fan and compact SUV apologist. It doesn't feel luxurious inside, the engine sounds buzzy and cheap, the ride is solid but has no hint of cushion. A CX-5 is superior in any conceivable way. Friends of mine have a Tiguan, and I can't see any reason to choose the Audi over it, not one. I'd even say a Forester is nicer (but slower).

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Apr 27, 2023

    Why? Not sure why these products even exist other than to be over priced and to make mega profits when a four door hatchback car would cost less to build, less to sell, and have better fuel economy without giving up much of anything.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bobby D'Oppo Bobby D'Oppo on Apr 28, 2023

      These people want a badge to flaunt and a commanding perched view of the road, and by God if they have to pay through the nose for a jacked up, flabby econobox to get there, they certainly won't be stopped!

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.