I was trying to explain the concept of a small crossover to my mom over the phone. She likes the idea of a crossover, but hates climbing up into a vehicle.

“You sort of plunk down into the Audi Q3, a little bit. It’s more like getting into a car.” Later on, I took mom out for a coffee, and she gave the Q3 two thumbs up: one for being easy to board and exit, and one for feeling roomy and sitting us up high – higher than in a car, but not towering over the road.

Lately, it seems like every week sees the release of a new small crossover model as shoppers demand more options for downsizing out of a larger SUV, or upsizing out of a smaller car. Vehicles like the Q3 are the new answer for many shoppers. Competing with current and upcoming machinery from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Buick, Infiniti and others, it represents an offering of conventional looks, proven powertrains, and interior and exterior cues that are largely familiar and well executed.

Existing Audi drivers looking to upsize or downsize into a Q3 will feel right at home: the central-command system is of the MMI variety, utilizing a central control knob and four peripheral buttons to control hundreds of functions with minimal dial and button clutter. It’s a bit complicated and intimidating at first, but powerful and slick once you get it down.

Instrumentation, controls, and even switches and buttons are all familiar to the brand, too. Even the signature feel of heavy doors, durable handles and switches, and a thick and solid build quality throughout the cabin are all in attendance. It feels like an Audi through and through: good news if you’re returning to the brand, as well as if you’re new to it.

Notably, though the tester’s cabin looks simple and tidy at a glance, closer inspection reveals plenty of detailing via nicely finished edges, first-rate materials, and thoughtful little trim bits scattered throughout. There isn’t a single, flashy element adding to the upscale feel, but a comprehensive scattering of small details and touches see this cabin hit harder than the price tag suggests.

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