The 2019 Audi Q3 Has An Off-Road Mode, But Can It Actually Climb A Mountain?

You may want to skip the 20" wheels if you plan on doing this yourself

Unlike body-on-frame SUVs of yesteryear, most crossovers aren’t built for serious off-roading. You wouldn’t normally take a 2019 Audi Q3 on a major excursion, but it’s nice to know the car will handle the trek up to the trailhead on an epic hiking trip. What’s more, it’s good to know Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system will handle whatever nature throws at it on the road. After getting our first look and on-road drive of the redesigned Q3, Tommy took it up Rocky Top to see how it handles rougher mountain trails.

Under the hood, the new Audi Q3 sports a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s more powerful than before, managing 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the previous model, this engine also comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. While the model starts at $34,700, this S line model with the Prestige Plus package costs $44,900.

2019 Audi Q3

The Q3 uses a Haldex-type Quattro all-wheel drive system as well, mainly sending power to the front wheels until they begin slipping. This updated model should be more proactive about engaging the rear wheels when needed, rather than waiting for the front wheels to slip dramatically before shifting power to the back. With open differentials, it’s up to the traction control systems to measure out the power to each wheel.

TFL Slip Test and Rocky Top results

Apart from real-world off-road testing, Tommy also subjected the Q3 to TFL’s slip test. Audi’s smallest U.S.-market crossover performed admirably well in most of the slip tests. When it came to the three-wheel test, with only the right passenger-side wheel on the ground, the system struggled a bit until Tommy applied some throttle. After that, the wheels actually stopped for a moment as the system worked out where to send the power.

2019 Audi Q3

Even with 20-inch wheels, the 2019 Audi Q3 made it up Rocky Top, though not without some issues. If you are going to take the Q3 off-road more often, then the S line trim with larger wheels is not an advisable way to go. However, the car performed well in our off-road tests and should make it wherever you need to go, including that epic hiking trail or campsite.