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The bottom line on the 2019 Audi Q3 is that for the price of a decked-out economy SUV, you can upgrade to a premium brand .

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2019 Audi Q3 is slightly larger and more powerful that the model it replaces, making it an even better buy.One of the fastest-growing segments of the automotive market is the "entry-premium" SUV. Simply put, these are smaller crossovers from premium manufacturers. They're designed to be affordable as well as luxurious, and buyers like that combination.

This year, Audi is bringing in the 2019 Q3 late in the model year for a short run before the 2020 models arrive. The new Q3 replaces the first-generation Q3 with some significant improvements.

PGM PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The dash features a digital driver information display and an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment center. The Q3 supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at all trim levels.

The 2019 Q3 is all-new, built on Audi's global MQB platform. The new Q3 is 3.8 inches longer than the outgoing Q3, and most of that length went between the axles to provide more space in the cabin. The new Q3 is also 0.7 inches wider and 1.5 inches taller than the old model. The result is a roomy two-row compact SUV.

The front seats are as comfortable as you expect from Audi, but the back seats are where the news is happening. The rear seats slide forward and back almost 6 inches, and they recline for excellent comfort. Depending on where you have the rear seats, you'll get between 18.7 and 23.7 cubic feet of cargo area in the back, or up to 48 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. This means the Q3 is good for carrying adults as well as children in the back, and you still have room for your things.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The front seats in the Q3 are as comfortable and supportive as you expect from Audi.

The Q3 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The new engine is up 20 horsepower compared to last year's model, and up by 51 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and every 2019 Q3 is equipped with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. That's huge news because it means you can buy the base Q3 and get the AWD you want for Portland winters.

On the dashboard, you'll find a digital driver information display and an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment center. Audi's tech is well-developed and easy to use. The Q3 supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at all trim levels. Advanced safety and driver assistance features are mostly optional, but available if you want them.

PMG PHOTO; JEFF ZURCHMEIDE - The rear seats slide forward and back almost 6 inches, and they recline for excellent comfort.

On the road, the Q3 is pleasant and right-sized for convenient driving. It's got the best balance between being big enough for comfort and utility, and small enough to handle and work well in parking lots. My only complaint is that the transmission has a tendency to rough shifts.

The bottom line on the 2019 Audi Q3 is that for the price of a decked-out economy SUV, you can upgrade to a premium brand and get comfort, performance, and a good set of features. There are good reasons why buyers are looking at entry-premium SUVs, and the all-new Audi Q3 is a great example.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Depending on where you have the rear seats, you'll get between 18.7 and 23.7 cubic feet of cargo area in the back, or up to 48 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

2019 Audi Q3

Base price: $35,695

Price as tested: $43,895

Type: Compact crossover SUV

Engine: 2.0-liter TYPE (228 hp, 258 lbs-ft)

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

EPA estimated mileage: 19/27

Overall length: 177 inches

Curb weight: 3,916 pounds

Final assembly: Gyor, Hungary


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