For the 2015 model year, Audi introduced a newly re-designed Audi Q3 to help give them a more competitive edge in the luxury compact crossover/SUV market. That same year, Lexus entered the growing market with their new 2015 Lexus NX 200t. Both vehicles have their share of similarities but who does what better?
Both the Lexus NX 200t and Audi Q3 received high marks from International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and even given top honors in 2015. Audi’s Q3 received IIHS’ 2015 Top Safety Pick, while the Lexus NX 200t was awarded 2015 Top Safety Pick +. These compact luxury crossovers were given all good marks (the highest by IIHS), but what sets these two apart is the available Pre-Collision System (PCS) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) options on the NX. Additionally, if you would like a rear-view camera that is standard on the Lexus, that will cost you roughly an extra $1,400 on the Audi.
With how close these vehicles are in terms of their powertrain, you would expect them to be a lot closer in this department. Powering both the Lexus NX 200t and Audi Q3 are 2.0-liter, 4 cylinder, turbo charged engines. Audi has been known for their use of turbo powered models throughout their history whereas Lexus has created a brand first.
The Japanese manufacturer did it right in comparison to their German rivals on this match-up. Audi’s Q3 turbo engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque which is under powered in comparison to the NX (235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft or torque) and even the Audi Q5 that shares a similar powertrain. A six-speed manual-matic transmission races the NX 200t from 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds, where Q3 falls behind at 7.8 seconds.
Lexus has a strong reputation for creating a silky-soft and smooth ride for drivers. The NX 200t surly looks more sporty than any other Lexus model and houses a turbo-charged engine generally found in premium sport cars. All that being said, the NX still holds true to Lexus roots and gives drivers a ride they would expect. The seats in this luxury crossover are soft yet bolstered, and Lexus has created a low hip-point in the front seats to increase comfort and headroom. Blanketed on the dashboard and just about anywhere above your knees you’ll find soft-to-the-touch materials.
Generally, Audi creates some of the most appealing interiors. The Audi Q3 on the other hand has been criticized for lacking on interiors. Hard, flimsy, and clicky are just a few adjectives that have been used to describe the Q3. The seat cushioning is a lot flatter and less bolstered than that of the NX.
When it comes to space, the NX shines over the Q3 offering front and rear passengers a combined 7.8 inches more legroom. The Q3’s lack of legroom cannot be substituted by an abundance of cargo room as it only offers 16.7 cu ft of trunk space versus the NX’s 17.7 cu ft. With the second-row seats folded down, the NX 200t gives you 54.6 cu ft of space to cram in whatever you would like where the Q3 offers only 48.2 cu ft.
Some optional features that have yet to be seen on the Audi Q3 include memory seating and a Homelink system for garage door operation.
Only a couple thousand dollars separate these two vehicles, with the Audi being less expensive at it’s base price. If you’re looking for some of the NX’s standard features (like the rear-view camera), the difference becomes less. Both of the vehicles are highly competitive in terms of fuel economy with the NX offering only 1 mpg better as a front-wheel drive vehicle in terms of combined mpg. Driving in the city, the NX offers 22 mpg where the Q3 only offers 20 mpg.
Where the NX 200t really stands out is the 5 year cost of ownership. This is mainly due to Lexus’ lower depreciation cost as it was named as one of Kelly Blue Book’s 2015 Best Resale Value Award winners in the Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover segment. The NX 200t has an estimated 43.5% resale value after 5 years versus the Audi Q3’s estimated 37.3% resale value.
Over the past 4 years, there has been no other brand above Lexus in terms of dependability. The JD Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study, which tracks issues with vehicles over a span of 3 years and ranks brands in terms of issues per 100 vehicles, ranked Lexus top for the fourth year in a row in 2015. For Lexus, there were a reported 89 issues per 100 vehicles. Audi was still above the industry average of 147 issues per 100 vehicles with 138 issues per 100 vehicles.
This reputation for dependability and belief in their respective products shows in the brands’ warranties:
|2015 Lexus NX 200t||2015 Audi Q3|
|4 year / 50,000 miles|
6 year / 70,000 miles
|4 year / 50,000 miles|
4 year / 50,000 miles