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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. I've been keeping an eye on this forum for quite some time now while trying to decide on our next vehicle which will be mainly driven by my significant other.
The car will be her daily driver and we plan to use it for road trip vacations, up to a week long usually, so it should be comfortable for long drives and able to carry the two of us with lots of clothing and shopping and gear for preparing road food. That would be things like a camp stove, cooler, lawn chairs, bicycles, dishes (including pots and pans), water jug, etc. As you may have guessed I am wondering if the Q3 would have enough space.
Other requirements are that it should have decent ground clearance and drive well in winter. No off-roading for us but unplowed streets, potholes, and large chunks of frozen slush are common. Priced under $45,000 Canadian with taxes in.
I do not have an Audi dealer anywhere nearby so I may not even have a chance to drive one or even see one in person. Our local VW dealer had a used Q5 which I drove and almost purchased on the spot because it drove so well and I liked it a lot. But it wasn't much cheaper than a brand new one so I held off as it was over our spending limit.
I have never owned a "high end" vehicle other than my Honda Ridgeline which I consider high end. And yes, if our road trip gear becomes too much we will use the Ridgeline as it is very roomy and comfortable but not so great gas mileage.

Other vehicles that we have been considering are:
First was the Toyota 4 Runner because of Toyota's reliability. My SO has driven a couple of Toyota's and they have been very reliable. The 4 Runner however does not have all wheel drive unless you pay well over $50,000. Plus it looks a bit like a school bus and it's just too big and overkill for our needs.
Second was a Land Rover LR2. They had a great discount due to the model being discontinued but reliability without a nearby dealer was a concern otherwise we would have purchased one. The new Discovery Sport is even more interesting but ruled out for the same reasons.
Next was the Toyota Highlander. We certainly will never use the third seat and it reminds us of a raised minivan. A bit too big as well.
Some comments about other SUV's we have ruled out: Honda Pilot is too large and boxy. Subaru's are just too plain. No other Toyota interests us. Lexus is out of price range. Honda CRV is awkward looking from the back and so are Volvo's SUV's. VW??? Well I think I'd rather have an Audi.

We want to spoil ourselves with a midlife vehicle and it seems that we have settled on the Q3. It looks great, has great reviews, okay ground clearance, is well equipped, and of course Quattro. The only problem is we don't have a dealer so warranty work might be difficult to have done. Our local VW dealer will certainly do warranty work but I may have to fight Audi to have them pay for it.

Help convince us!
 

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Well, first welcome to the forum. I'm sure we're hopeful that soon you'll be a regular, cuz you'll be an owner too. This forum is a great place to discover all kinds of things for and about the Q3, the good, the bad, and nah, we haven't found too much or any ugly (at least with the car itself) that I know of yet.

That being said, we also have a mix of owners new to the brand, already have had other cars and SUVs to compare and comment, and Audi fans too. Just prowl around some more.

Meanwhile, I'll put my plug - We almost bought a Q5 TWICE, 2 years apart. Back in 2009, we had one of the first Q5s in the states in the delivery bay waiting on our pickup. The day was nice and warm and sunny, so my wife decided to drive home a TT Roadster instead. When I asked the sales manager if that was okay, his response was "Great, I'll have the Q5 sold in about 2 hours or so and make an additional $2K over what you and I had agreed on." And he did.

The second time was about 2 months before I went to Europe on business (2011) and we were looking for a AWD for the winter. I decided to wait when I learned of the trip and diverted to Neckarsulm for an Audi visit (we already had the TT and an S5). I also drove a Q3 TDI Quattro (and an R8 GT), but came away convinced that for a small, well-equipped SUV, the Q3 was ideal for us.

So we waited an agonizing few years for Audi to decide and announce, and offer the Q3 here. I ordered ours the very first day I could. Now I have to add that there are a few things I would've liked Audi to bring even with the first batch, that they haven't - but will fix some soon with the facelift. For me that's the 'normal' 2.0 TFSI (220 vs 200 hp) although 200 is really enough; and the DSG instead of normal automatic. But really, after having the car just a few months, neither is a deal-breaker for me - plus I actually like the front end styling of the current car vs the face-lift anyway, so that makes it easier.

The car is really quite nice - sure a little tight in spots (and I'm a big dude - 6'+, 250#), but I feel wrapped like a glove which for me is PERFECT, and moreover it's an Audi - handles well, drives right, built right and you can feel all of it. Features are great (not perfect) especially compared to what you'd spend to get equal in either of the other German brands. My wife loves it as well and her only beef so far is lack of memory seats (which I am working on -see http://www.audiq3forum.com/forum/393-interior/3481-q3-memory-seats.html).

While we waited for the Q3, we bought a Kia Sportage SX AWD, a very nice alternate (and also Audi inspired designs underneath), but frankly it's just not the same as German build - the engine while very powerful (260+ hp) made the car quick for sure, but it was pretty rough and thirsty too. I can't/won't badmouth it though, it was 2/3rds the cost of the Q, it held its value well, and never let us down.

See what others say - they're not shy - >:D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ha! I'm pretty sure if we had an Audi dealer we would drive out with a TT Roadster too.
In fact that is the car that piqued our interest in Audi. We have decided to wait until we are retired and preferably someplace with much less winter before getting one.
Thanks for the welcome and your thoughts, rnlabas.
Memory seats would be nice for sure since we will be fighting over who gets to drive it but I've never had them so I won't know what I am missing.
 

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Hello-

I recently ordered a Q3 having looked at several of the other vehicles you mentioned. No one can argue Japanese reliability but I like the German design, ride and road feel. Although I am an Audi fan what set the Q3 apart from its MB and BMW competition were the standard features; the basic model had what I desired without having to add expensive packages.

In your case however, I'd be concerned with dealership proximity. Perhaps your local VW can perform warranty work as you mentioned but I'd hammer that out beforehand. Also, depending on how long you like to keep your cars, do you have a reputable independent shop that knows Audis? Audis do require attention as the miles build.

All that said, might the Tiguan meet your needs? I considered it strongly but preferred the Q3's shifting points and appointments. I found the Tiquan was better discounted as well.

Good luck with your search and know there is a lot of great information on this site!

Best,
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good advice JohnJ and thanks. Yes the German design is unmatched. That being said my wife does not care for the looks of the Tiguan.
Well, the local VW dealer sells all manner of used Audi's and they claim to be an authorized repair shop for Audi's, whatever that means. They are also "trying" to become an Audi dealer, again whatever that means. Yes I should try to get something in writing about warranty work. We keep vehicles as long as they remain reliable and that tends to be over 10 years.
 

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Welcome to the forum, PJH. There is great information here and I have learned a lot. I was looking for a compact SUV and looked at american, Japanese, and European models. My previous SUV was a MB ML and it ran well but was too big. Similar to you, I had a price cap in mind as I don't believe in spending too much for cars. Frankly, we don't like the look of X1 and GLA. The Q3 was priced right for all of the options we were looking for. Additionally, I am encouraged that we can add more functionality ourselves by programming. Having said all that, I would be concerned about not have a dealer around unless you are handy with cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks RKM.
I agree with not spending too much on a vehicle. I find it hard to justify. I have no problem spending on something safe and reliable.
We have been looking for a long time and the Q3 seems to be the best fit. We don't have dealers for most of the higher end vehicles so I might have to take a chance on Audi. I prefer not to be handy with cars anymore and I don't have a garage, but oil changes, tire changes, and brake work I can do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Okay so the official word from Audi Canada is that my local VW dealer does not qualify as an Audi dealership and therefore cannot perform warranty work.
The thing is that I have owned a Ford, Toyota, and Honda and have never had repairs required under warranty. Is the Q3 so complicated, and prone to minor issues, that I should worry about not being able to have repairs paid for under warranty?
I suppose there is always the potential of a major defect showing up on my particular Q3. Also urgent re-call repairs will not be possible.
I really don't like the Highlander enough to part with that much money.
Any thoughts anyone? What would you do?
 

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Okay so the official word from Audi Canada is that my local VW dealer does not qualify as an Audi dealership and therefore cannot perform warranty work.
The thing is that I have owned a Ford, Toyota, and Honda and have never had repairs required under warranty. Is the Q3 so complicated, and prone to minor issues, that I should worry about not being able to have repairs paid for under warranty?
I suppose there is always the potential of a major defect showing up on my particular Q3. Also urgent re-call repairs will not be possible.
I really don't like the Highlander enough to part with that much money.
Any thoughts anyone? What would you do?
Tough call.....while it's usally not a problem there's the what if. What if you need warranty work or a recall..
 

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Any thoughts anyone? What would you do?
Thats a tough one...
I can say that we love both our A5 and Q3. We have had the A5 for almost 2 years with no issues and but the Q3 for only 2 weeks so hopefully all will be good there too. I guess it would come down to how much I want the car and how far I would be willing to drive for routine maintenance. From my view that would be something to think about but then again that would probably only be about once a year... There is the Audi assistance so that my help you if there were a breakdown but the decision really comes down to you.

By the way how far to the nearest dealer? Is that dealer a good one? If its not too far away and the dealer is good, then I know what I would probably do... On the other hand if the dealer is just so-so I might reconsider. If there were a issue and I had to drive xx miles to go to a poor dealer that might just... Hum... I'll just say put me in a very bad mood...

Good luck with your decision? Please let us know which way you go!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Nearest dealer is 7-8 hours drive away. Oh well back to the drawing board.
If it was a $30k car I might not mind. I don't think I will take a chance. I'm not a gambler who wins ever.
I will let you all know if I ever decide on a vehicle. All wheel drive is a must.
 

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Okay so the official word from Audi Canada is that my local VW dealer does not qualify as an Audi dealership and therefore cannot perform warranty work.
The thing is that I have owned a Ford, Toyota, and Honda and have never had repairs required under warranty. Is the Q3 so complicated, and prone to minor issues, that I should worry about not being able to have repairs paid for under warranty?
I suppose there is always the potential of a major defect showing up on my particular Q3. Also urgent re-call repairs will not be possible.
I really don't like the Highlander enough to part with that much money.
Any thoughts anyone? What would you do?
Given the Q3 has been out for almost 4 years in the RoW, and this engine/gearbox for 10 years, I think MAJOR warranty concerns are reasonably slim - at least for me, I'd be willing to drive or even have towed the car for up to 100 miles or so. As others asked, just how far away is your Audi dealer - and what do THEY have to say about it. Your relationship with them may go much farther than even Audi Canada's response to sooth your soul with this...

From just MY perspective, the Highlander wouldn't even be on the same list as the Q, so that's a dead no-brainer for me -
AND, given that the Tiguan is SO close to the Q3 in so many ways, it's almost impossible for me to understand Audi Canada's response - so much so that I'll ask AoA about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Arabay. Yes I see that :)

BobInPa is very spoiled ;-)

rnlabas, You may be right, I haven't even spoken to any Audi dealerships about how they would handle warranty repairs in my situation.
That will be my next move for now.
I know the Highlander is a completely different vehicle but we keep coming back to Toyota and that is the only vehicle that we would consider from them. Well, just barely if forced.
We do have a MB dealership so I may take the GLA 250 for a spin. 8 inches of ground clearance is a good thing.
 

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PJH-

I was pretty impressed with the GLA (although I have been referring to it as the CLK ( I'm mildly dyslectic)). It was very peppy and had a lot of storage compartments but I was turned off by the packages required to get it the way I wanted it, the fact that it has two batteries. and the rod needed to hold the hood open. That said, in your dealer proximity suitation, it may be a consideration.
 

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PJH-

I was pretty impressed with the GLA (although I have been referring to it as the CLK ( I'm mildly dyslectic)). It was very peppy and had a lot of storage compartments but I was turned off by the packages required to get it the way I wanted it, the fact that it has two batteries. and the rod needed to hold the hood open. That said, in your dealer proximity suitation, it may be a consideration.
Isn’t it amazing how cheesy a hood prop looks on a “luxury” car.

A few years ago we replaced the hood strut on our 2003 Passat wagon after ten years and 110K miles. The new strut cost us $18 and my wife and I installed the new one in less than 15 minutes. About a week later I was checking out a $37K Acura TSX Sportwagon (Euro Honda) when I noticed it used a hood prop. I asked the salesman why not a strut and he said it was to eliminate the labor and material costs involved in replacing a strut. I laughed and told him of my recent maintenance costs.
We still have the Passat.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I went to my local MB dealer to have a look at the GLA 250 and was very impressed. Nice looking vehicle that. But we decided that it might be a bit too showy and I can't have run flat tires. I run winter tires and not having a spare would be a problem.
We watched a YouTube review of the GLA vs Q3 and when they were side by side the GLA made the Q3 look very boring and plain. My wife and I were very surprised because we have always thought that the Q3 was the best looking vehicle. Then I saw a Q3 in the wild (a very rare thing around these parts) and again thought, that is a great looking vehicle. Understated elegance is how one reviewer described the Q3. I have to agree with that.
 

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I went to my local MB dealer to have a look at the GLA 250 and was very impressed. Nice looking vehicle that. But we decided that it might be a bit too showy and I can't have run flat tires. I run winter tires and not having a spare would be a problem.
We watched a YouTube review of the GLA vs Q3 and when they were side by side the GLA made the Q3 look very boring and plain. My wife and I were very surprised because we have always thought that the Q3 was the best looking vehicle. Then I saw a Q3 in the wild (a very rare thing around these parts) and again thought, that is a great looking vehicle. Understated elegance is how one reviewer described the Q3. I have to agree with that.
This must have been a MB propaganda youtube video, because the ones that I've seen put the Q3 well ahead of the GLA.
 

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more than likely that was the case, something i have noticed more and more of, making it even more of a reason to read and watch a wide range of reviews to get a better understanding, then of course... seeing the actual thing in person.
 
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