What you need to know:
The compact family sports utility vehicle earned the top score of five stars in the Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), one of the most important automobile safety tests in Europe.
After Mercedes Benz, BMW and Volkswagen, one of the other car brands manufactured in Germany include the Audi. Audi not only manufactures station wagons and saloons but also sport utility vehicles (SUVs). One of these SUVs is the Audi Q3 35 TFSI 2020 model.
Engraved on the lower rear right side of the boot, the acronym TFSI stands for turbo fuel stratified injection, meaning the performance of the car is a combination of direct injection with the turbo charge or supercharge.
I took the Audi Q3 for a two-hour test drive within Kololo starting at Kabojja Junior School through Prince Charles Drive, among other roads. At the Lugogo Bypass, I discovered that even with a relatively small 1500cc turbocharged petrol engine, the Audi Q3 picks up speed faster from zero to 50km/hr in less than 10 seconds. It is a high speed performer, built with a maximum speed of 280km/hr.
When reversing, the smart screen on the dashboard displays and prompts you to use your side and driving mirrors which clearly show you the right way to go. It also draws red boundary lines on the left and right side of the car within which it is safe for you to reverse. Apart from navigation, the smart screen also displays car applications such as phone, shortcuts, settings, telephone, media, radio and other applications to interact with as you drive.
To drive the Q3 on Kampala roads that have potholes, you need to drive cautiously since its ground clearance is not that good. If you are not careful, you will scratch the underneath parts such as the suspension, the Z-links, bushes and the oil sump, among others.
Fuel consumption, performance
Isaac Moshen has had the three-year old SUV for two months now. He mainly uses it for urban drives, much as it has the capacity to perform off-road. When he fills the tank (60 litres) that costs Shs350,000, this fuel can last a month in Kampala, allowing him to make several drives to meet his clients.
“It is very economical with fuel consumption. All you have to do service it on time and use the right fuel. A well serviced car greatly impacts how much fuel it consumes, especially since some serviceable parts such as a fuel filter are directly connected to the consumption system of a car,” Moshen explains.
Many Ugandans believe German cars are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. Moshen agrees with this belief but he argues that they are expensive for a number of reasons.
“They are very safe cars to drive. For example, the Audi Q3 has an automatic braking or anti-collision system. When there is an object at the rear or front and you are driving or reversing when absent minded, it stops immediately without the need for you to brake,” Moshen adds.
For service, the Audi Q3 uses fully synthetic Castrol oil, the type used by and recommended for most European cars. The oil not only gives you more mileage but also keeps the engine in the best functional condition.
Using any other oil that is not recommended might end up damaging the engine. The Audi Q3 uses eight litres of oil, with a litre costing between Shs35,000 and Shs40,000, depending on where you buy from.
On average, normal service costs Shs650,000. But when you include brake pads, the cost increases since the front brake pads cost Shs500,000 while those at the rear cost 400,000.
As a reminder, when driving, the dashboard displays when your car is due for service. When fully serviced, it covers a mileage of between 3,000km and 4,000km.
The serviceable spare parts are a bit expensive and can be imported from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The challenge with South Africa is that parts take longer to be delivered.
“It is not a car you should share unless you trust the person you are giving it to is a careful driver. One day I gave my car to a friend who drove it for approximately 30 minutes but by the time they brought it back, they had run into into a pothole and a part of the suspension system had fallen off. I spent about Shs720,000 to replace it.
Also, not all drivers understand that you have to refuel from trusted fuel stations. They may end up using adulterated fuel,” Moshen advises.
Before acquiring this car, you should be able to afford it, not in the context of buying it, but maintaining it. Affordability means that whenever it shows something on the dashboard, the fault must be fixed immediately, unlike some cars that could, for example, show the check engine light and you can still drive for some time before servicing it.
When the Audi Q3 shows you that brake pads or tyres need replacement, you have to replace them immediately.
If you buy the Audi Q3 2020 model locally, you will part with Shs220m. When you import, it will cost between $40,000, which is equivalent to Shs148m, and $45,000, which is equivalent to Shs166m, taxes excluded.