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Audi q3 vs nissan qashqai

"The Audi Q3 is a compact, classy and high-quality crossover that rivals the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA"

The Audi Q3 is part of Audi’s range of Q-badged SUVs and crossovers. While the Audi Q2 is a development of the A1 supermini, the Q3 is related to the Audi A3 compact hatchback. As a result, it has a relatively conventional look and fits into the range below the larger Audi Q5. Its main rivals are the Mercedes GLA and BMW X1. while upmarket versions are an alternative to the Range Rover Evoque.

At the bottom of the range, cheaper variants have to justify their cost against a choice of increasingly capable and less expensive cars of a similar size. The latest Volkswagen Tiguan is a very attractive car for the money, while the Kia Sportage and Renault Kadjar are both practical and excellent value.

There are 1.4 or 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged petrol engines, or a 2.0-litre TDI diesel available in two power outputs. Most models are front-wheel drive, but Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system is available if you want some modest off-road ability to go with the car's rugged looks. It’s worth noting, though, that choosing 4WD and an automatic gearbox reduces the car’s fuel economy and increases CO2 emissions.

At the top of the range, Audi offers the extremely quick RS Q3. It has a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine with 335bhp, can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and hits an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. If that isn’t enough, the RS Q3 Performance has 362bhp, which gives it a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds. Both these versions have a rather narrow appeal and represent a significant leap from the more popular models.

On the whole, Q3 running costs are reasonable, especially if you choose a diesel. Over 60mpg is possible from the least powerful 2.0-litre TDI, dropping to around 58mpg if you select the optional Audi S tronic automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel-drive system.

The trim levels available for the Q3 range were overhauled in autumn of 2016. They now start with Sport, which is very well equipped for an entry-level model and includes sat nav. It has Audi's infotainment system with Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch retractable screen, DAB radio and dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning. Outside, it looks smart with 17-inch alloys and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights. Rear parking sensors are fitted as standard.

The S line Edition model has sportier styling on the outside, with bigger 18-inch alloys and lowered sports suspension, as well as full LED headlamps. Inside, the seats are trimmed in a sporty leather and cloth combination, you also get cruise control, and front parking sensors are added to the rear ones. The tailgate is also now power-operated.

Above that, Black Edition models feature standard metallic paint, tinted rear windows s and a Bose sound system upgrade, plus a black styling package. This starts in the cabin with piano black inlays, and continues outside to include everything from the 19-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch cappings and Single Frame grille surround to the roof rails, rear spoiler and exhuast pipes. The parking sensor system is upgraded to give you a visual display on the dashboard and the seat fabric is upgraded to Alcantara suede.

Whichever model you choose, though, you can be reassured that every Q3 is well equipped and has a very high-quality interior, with everything well-built and feeling solid to touch.

Despite its and bulk and height, the Q3 is quite good fun to drive. It’s also comfortable for passengers, with a smooth ride and resistance to lean in corners, although higher-spec S line cars can be on the firm side. The Q3 offers reasonable boot space, and there's enough interior space for most combinations of passengers, all of whom will be well protected in the event of a crash: the Q3 was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, inspiring great confidence.