Audi Q2 SUV Review

Exterior

The Q2 has been designed with younger car buyers in mind, which goes some way to explain why it deviates from the same-old-same-old approach of the current Audi SUV crop to offer something that is much more visually bold and playful. There are strong character lines that run along the sides, plus enlarged rear quarter panels that Audi calls ‘blades’ and can be specified in contrasting colours. All versions receive alloy wheels, but the top spec S-Line package accentuates the car’s striking bone structure with bespoke bumpers and 18-inch alloys.

Interior

The modern-yet-minimalist style of most Audi cabins is hugely desirable if slightly austere, but the Q2 adds an uncharacteristic injection of vibrant colour that’s akin to wearing lipstick in a laboratory. There are red, yellow or silver themes available for the dashboard inlays, seats and contrasting stitching, plus gesture-controlled LED lighting that bleaches you in hot white light. Meanwhile, all the cabin controls are as robust, sturdy and precise as a surgeon’s tools. It’s a tad disappointing that the large, standard infotainment screen isn’t touch-screen sensitive and fixed into position on the dashboard, but all the information is clearly presented. The driving position is raised, but it feels more like you’re in a slightly taller hatchback than a ‘proper’ SUV.

Practicality

Despite the compact dimensions of the Q2 (it’s marginally shorter than the Audi Q3 SUV), it’s easy to fit one 6ft adult behind another comfortably. There are ISOFIX tethering hooks on the rear seats to make it quick and easy to install child car seats, too. The boot offers 405 litres of space, which is a little bigger than an Audi A3 and only slightly smaller than the Q3, but it cannot match the space given by a Mini Countryman. That said, there’s a through-loading facility for skis and, when the seats fold flat, there is a cavernous 1050 litres available. Unfortunately, that stylish rear pillar does create a pretty huge blindspot when reversing, so parking sensors are a must-tick option.

Ride and handling

The Audi Q2 is a composed and comfortable small car that does a good job of protecting you and your family from the rough road surfaces that cover most of the UK. And that’s with the lowered suspension you get on the Sport and S line cars we’ve driven, too; the SE’s suspension is a bit more jacked up, and should be even more comfortable. On the handling front, the Q2 has an agility that’s more hatchback than SUV. There’s not a great amount of feel through the steering, but it’s light and direct with a front end that’s as pointy as a Mini Countryman’s. Adjustable dampers are a pricey option for S-Line models, and the ride firms up noticeably in Dynamic mode, but we still don’t think it’s worth the extra cash.

Performance

There are six engines to choose from: three turbocharged petrol engines and three diesel units. The entry-level 114bhp 1.0-litre petrol has a cheeky three-cylinder thrum, and when combined with the light action of the six-speed manual gearbox, it works enthusiastically in town. The 114bhp 1.6 diesel is a far noisier affair, but it’s more comfortable and more economical over long distances, as well as being far more competent at high speed overtaking. That said, our pick of the range is the best-selling 148bhp 1.4 petrol, which is quiet, flexible and frugal, especially when matched with the seven-speed S tronic gearbox. The shifts are clean and instant, and you’re blissfully unaware of when the engine engages its clever Cylinder-on-Demand technology, shutting down two of its four cylinders to save fuel (52.3mpg) and reduce emissions (119g/km). We’re yet to test the permanent four-wheel drive versions of the Q2.

Running costs

The Q2 is priced competitively in the compact SUV segment, sitting between rivals such as the Mini Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Uncharacteristically for Audi, the Q2 also features a generous amount of standard equipment that would be optional extras on other models in its range. The 1.6 TDI is currently the cleanest offering from launch, emitting 114g/km of CO2, while strong residual values and a fixed annual service plan should help make your monthly finance costs on any version relatively easy to manage.

Reliability

All versions of the Q2 receive a three-year roadside assistance plan and three-year warranty, covering an unlimited mileage in the first two years. You also have the option of choosing an extended four- or five-year warranty plan. Reliability data on the Audi marque is mixed: the engines may be shared and proven with other models in the range, but there have been repeat owner criticism on electrics on the Audi A3, as well as longer term issues regarding the DSG gearbox on the Audi Q3.

Safety

All versions of the Q2 receive six airbags and Audi Pre Sense with pedestrian recognition, a safety system that can monitor potential low-speed accidents and initiate hard braking. There are further optional safety features, too, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and park assist. Further, head-up display projects driving speed and navigation instructions onto the windscreen, so drivers rarely need to take their eyes off the road.

Equipment

All versions receive alloy wheels, digital DAB radio and smartphone integration as standard, but the best-selling Sport trim adds 17-inch alloys, satellite-navigation, cruise control and Audi’s multiple driver modes. Short of curative powers, it seems like there isn’t anything you can’t have on an Audi Q2. First up is the dynamic, digital 12-inch screen that Audi calls the ‘virtual cockpit’, replacing the traditional speedometer and tachometer and is an option well worth ticking. Audiophiles will appreciate the Bang and Olufsen sound system, while tech-savvy drivers will want the wifi hotspot that allows you and your passengers to surf the internet and stream music into the cabin when it’s safe to do so. It’s all controlled via a permanently installed SIM with a flat-rate data card, meaning it eliminates high country-specific roaming charges when you’re driving abroad. There’s also an app that allows you to sync your smart phone with the car’s infotainment screen, so you can transfer calendar information and navigation instructions directly into the car. To help reduce costs, Audi even bundles some of these core features into so-called ‘Technology Packs’ or ‘Comfort Packs’.

Why buy?

If you want the look and chunky stance of a compact SUV, but without the need to go mud-plugging, the Q2 should be on your shopping list. The Q2 has all the Audi attributes of quality, technology and desirability we have come to expect, but it also has a more youthful, more adventurous feel.

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