Yes, Buying a Car is Like Dating. I Took the Plunge With an Audi Q3

It takes time, consideration and risk; good chemistry and appeal are a must before committing: Buying a car is like dating; this swipe right ended in an Audi Q3.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Id Say She Looks Pretty Good In My Driveway
I,d say she looks pretty good in my driveway. Photo: Cindy Stagg

Sporty and Fun + Safe and Secure = the Total Package

No doubt, buying a car is a huge commitment. For most of us, it’s the second-biggest purchase we make after our homes. Additionally, searching for a new car can feel a lot like dating: it’s a little awkward, you often remember why you hated it in the past, and it can take a while before you find the right one. At least, that’s what it felt like for me.

Related: Car Buying Made Easy if You’re on a Budget

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Falling In Love With The Q3S Lines

Falling in love with the Audi Q3’s lines was easy. Photo: Cindy Stagg

I Swiped Right and Found the Audi Q3

I was in an accident, which left me searching for a new car. I loved my Lexus IS 250 and had no plans to trade it in anytime soon, so it was a painful process. While I waited for the insurance company to do their thing, I would half-heartedly browse online, scrolling past 99% of the cars that popped up.

I’d look at one and think, is this just a rebound car? Or is this a car I could see myself spending a lot of time with? As a first for me, I decided to use the Carfax app, among others. I liked that I could enter in makes and models, a price range, and a geographical search area.

Since I was looking at used cars, I liked that I could see if there were accident reports. Truth be told, I’ve been dealing with some car-related anxiety the past couple of years (even before the accident), and I thought maybe the taller ride height of an SUV would help.

So that’s where I began. I didn’t want or need anything too big, but as a car girl at heart, I knew I wanted something sporty and fun. The Mazda CX-30 and CX-5 were in the running, as was the Mini Cooper Countryman. Then, one day, my husband and I were on a road trip, and an Audi Q3 passed us going the other direction. It caught my eye, so I expanded my online search. I came across a silver 2017 Q3 at a nearby Volkswagen dealership. It was cool, sporty, and fell within my price range.

Related: Why I Bought a Mini Cooper Countryman

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - I Love A Good Grille

I love a good grille. Photo: Cindy Stagg

First Impressions of the Audi Q3

I have long loved Audi’s styling cues: their big grilles and sleek lines always catch my eye. The Q3 doesn’t disappoint where that’s concerned.

It may be the smallest Audi SUV, but it definitely packs in a lot of style. This particular Q3 sports the trademark grille in all black, which lends a nice contrast to the metallic silver paint job, and it has nice swept-back lines that make it look both elegant and sporty.

When I arrived at the dealership, it was parked next to a Q5, so it was easy to get a good size-comparison perspective of its size. The salesman opened up all the doors, including the rear liftgate, and I was actually surprised by how roomy it was on the inside. It could have been the fact that I was coming from a sports sedan, but legroom, headroom, and cargo space all seemed abundant.

One long-standing pet peeve of mine is when I can’t raise the driver’s seat to a suitable height – not a problem here. I was able to adjust the seat to a comfortable position with room to spare. I did wish I could have lowered the steering wheel just an inch more, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

Related: The Audi Phone Box is so Cool, and it Comes with a Q3

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Enough Cargo Room For A Roadtrip Or Bringing Home A Small Diy Project On The Weekends

Enough cargo room for a road trip or bringing home a small DIY project on the weekends. Photo: Cindy Stagg

First Drive

With the seat, steering wheel, and mirror adjusted and set, I was ready to take it on the road. I was able to drive it on busy rush-hour streets, up the freeway, and even along a few back streets as well.

As I considered buying it, I realized this would be the first turbo-powered car I’d ever own (not to mention my first German car). The power is definitely enough. It didn’t take much pressure on the gas to get going and feel that little rush I’m always looking for in a car.

The steering felt tight and precise, which I appreciated because my second pet peeve is a loosey-goosey steering wheel with a lot of play before the wheels actually respond. The ride height felt good, and I could definitely feel some of that anxiety being alleviated.

In the accident, I was t-boned by a Honda Accord. However, I live in a small town where lifted trucks are very common, and I was thankful I wasn’t broadsided by one of those. I feel like I stand a better chance in an SUV if it happens again. But let’s not go there.

On the freeway, the ride was smooth, solid, and quiet. Some days, as a school teacher, I really appreciate a silent commute home. The cabin of the Q3 seemed to provide some of that isolation without making me feel completely detached from the driving experience; in fact, I felt like the driving experience was enhanced.

Sometimes, a girl just needs to get in a car and drive. Fortunately, I had a salesman who understood that and didn’t try to oversell me with a lot of empty talking points. He let me discover the finer qualities of the Q3 on my own. For example, he didn’t question me when I took it into an empty parking lot where I could make some tight turns and figure eights and test out how it felt going over a speed bump. He was like the friend setting me up on a date and not saying anything more than, “I think you’ll really like him!”

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Turbo For Zippiness And Quattro For Peace Of Mind

Turbo for zippiness and quattro for peace of mind. Photo: Cindy Stagg

The Dealership Experience

Speaking of the salesman, his name was Marc, and he was awesome. He wasn’t pushy in any way and understood my story. The VW dealership itself was nice and clean. There was the dreaded “let me talk to my manager,” which presented me with the one thing I didn’t like: they took a hard line for me to finance the car. My philosophy (which has gotten me this far in life) is to avoid debt like the plague. It took a little back and forth, but I finally convinced them to let me pay cash.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Everything I Need Is Within Easy Reach

Everything I need is within easy reach in the Audi Q3. Photo: Cindy Stagg

Getting to Know You

I’ve spent a lot of time with my chiropractor recently thanks to that previously mentioned car accident. I told him I was considering the Q3, and his response was “Those always seem to have really nice interiors.” 

And he’s right. This particular car is the base model, which is called the “Premium” trim level. It has an all-black interior with brushed chrome accents – which feels refined – even for a base model. It also has a panoramic sunroof, which is a big positive for me. I don’t think there has been a day yet where I haven’t driven with it open.

I was really hoping to find a car with Apple CarPlay, and even though it was listed in the CarFax description, it was not actually included in this model. I’d have to find a Premium Plus to get that feature. It was almost a deal breaker, but there were so many other things I liked about it that I was willing to let it go.

One optional feature it does have is heated seats and side mirrors, which will come in handy during our cold Utah winters. I also like the confidence of knowing the all-wheel drive system will help in the snow. Audi refers to it as Quattro, but I call it peace of mind. While I appreciate all the safety features, Quattro is the most important to me.

As I mentioned before, this is my first German car. And it has some very German quirks. Like the way the dial on the multimedia system works or figuring out what the buttons on the steering wheel actually do. It’s not bad, just… different. But also as a German car, it feels solid and substantial, with nice heavy doors and good ride quality.

For me, that also translates into a greater sense of security, again addressing the anxiety I’ve had.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Letting The Sunshine In Through The Panoramic Sunroof

Letting the sunshine into the Audi Q3 through the panoramic sunroof. Photo: Cindy Stagg

Ready for a Commitment to the Audi Q3

After several test drives and a week or two of thinking about it, I decided to take the plunge and bought the 2017 Audi Q3. So why did I buy it? It was sporty and fun to drive, full of great features like the panoramic sunroof, and the ride height and all-wheel drive made it something I could rely on. I’ve owned it for about two months now.

The price was right ($21K), and miles were low for its age (60k), so was it the total package? I’d say so – and hopefully, with any luck, I won’t have to look for another car again for a long while. And yeah, after it was all said and done, I deleted the Carfax app.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - A Place For My Purse

This car has the perfect place for my purse. Photo: Cindy Stagg

Two Months In

One nice surprise I discovered about the Audi Q3 is that my little crossbody purse fits perfectly
inside the door cubby. That keeps it within perfect reach and off the floor when I have passengers with me. Maybe it’s strange, but that’s the feature I like the best. Everyone knows that where we keep our purses is a big deal.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Yes, Buying A Car Is Like Dating. I Took The Plunge With An Audi Q3 - Id Say She Looks Pretty Good In My Driveway

I’d say the Audi Q3 looks pretty good in my driveway. Photo: Cindy Stagg

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Cindy is a life-long car enthusiast who began writing about cars in 2001 for As a kid, she... More about Cindy Stagg