The award applies to front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the 2016 Q3, along with the 2015 Q3.
The 2016 Q3 is on sale now at Audi dealerships.
To qualify for the Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must earn "good" or "acceptable" ratings for small overlap protection and "good" ratings in the other four crashworthiness tests. The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole. The Q3 received the best-possible rating of "good."
"The Q3's structure held up well in the small overlap test, with maximum intrusion of 4 inches at the lower door-hinge pillar," the IIHS said in a statement. "The driver dummy's movement was well-controlled. Measures taken from the dummy indicated a low risk of injury in a crash of this severity."
The Q3 did not qualify for the highest Top Safety Pick+ award because it does not have an optional front-crash prevention system, IIHS said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the 2016 Q3.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Q3 includes six airbags, antilock brakes, stability control and a rearview camera. A $2,600 Technology Package bundles several items, including the Audi Side Assist blind spot warning system that is standard on the Q3 Prestige trim level.
Key Q3 competitors include the BMW X1, Infiniti QX50 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. The X1 earned "good" ratings in the other IIHS tests, but a "marginal" rating in the small overlap test. The QX50 earned "good" ratings as well, but has not yet been subjected to the small overlap test. The GLA-Class has yet to be tested by the IIHS.
Edmunds says: For now at least, the Audi Q3 can lay claim to having the best IIHS crash scores in the small luxury SUV segment.