Looking every bit like its larger siblings, the 2022 Q3 is the smallest Audi SUV, but it offers much the same experience. It looks expensive on the outside and its cabin is lined with many of the same fine materials and technology features that you’ll find on the more expensive Q5, Q7, and Q8 crossovers. Rear seat space isn’t as generous, of course, and to keep costs down there’s some subtle cost-cutting inside. To make up for it, the Q3 offers a slightly more youthful ambiance and its chassis delivers a more agile feeling than the larger Audi SUVs do, putting it right in step with key rivals such as the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-class.
The Q3 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes either 184- or 228-hp; either way it comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. In our time behind the wheel of a Q3 with the more potent of the two engines, we noted that the engine provided ample power, but our test vehicle wasn’t as quick as some rivals, and we noticed a delay between our right foot’s action and the engine’s response (read: turbo lag). Still, its transmission shifted smoothly during normal operation and provided sportier reactions when shifted into S mode. Thankfully, its suspension damped out all but the harshest road imperfections. Direct steering with a light-to-the-touch feel gives the Q3 a sense of agility. The little SUV also moves with the same grace as its larger siblings when pitched down a twisty section of road.
Volvo’s fun and funky XC40 blends everything we love about the brand’s large SUVs with a more youthful appearance and a charming driving demeanor, which earned it an Editors’ Choice award. Volvo offers two different turbocharged four-cylinders: The 184-hp T4 engine comes with front-wheel drive, and the more powerful 248-hp T5 gets all-wheel drive as standard. Inside, buyers will find a thoughtfully designed cabin complete with plenty of storage cubbies and a smattering of high-tech features. Compared with most of its subcompact-crossover rivals—such as the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class—the XC40 has a more commanding driving position, making it feel larger than it is.
Under the hood of every XC40 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making either 184 or 248 horsepower (called T4 and T5, respectively). The more powerful T5, which pairs exclusively with all-wheel drive, helped our Momentum test vehicle scoot to 60 mph in a reasonably brisk 6.2 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission handles gearchanges without delay and transmits no harshness to the cabin while doing so. When cruising, the powertrain is quiet and refined. The XC40’s towing capacity—a rarity among subcompact-luxury crossovers—is a stout 3500 pounds.