The Audi doesn’t have as much rear leg room as my previous VW Golf, but my parents and 16-year-old daughter were happy enough on an hour’s drive to a pub for Sunday lunch. A Mother’s Day shopping spree was more of a challenge, but it turns out you can get three people, three hanging baskets, lawn edging, compost, various plants and a 5ft weeping willow in a Q2 – just. The front passenger does, though, have to sit in an overly reclined seat with tree branches poking him in the face.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Audi Q2 is all about appearances. After all, it’s built on the VW Group’s versatile MQB platform, which is the basis for the VW Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, as well as the latest SUVs, such as the Seat Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq.
So is the Q2 just a Golf wrapped in a tall, rugged-looking new body? We’ll find out in time, but every sign is that the Q2 is bristling with the kind of advanced ‘big car’ technology that makes Audi a premium playerin the car market. For example, the Q2 we’ve just taken delivery of is fitted with the VW Group’s engine efficiency technology. Audi calls it Cylinder on Demand, and its clever trick is that it can make the 1.4-litre engine run on two of its four cylinders to save fuel during periods of low revs.
When the engine is running at below 4000rpm and the amount of torque being used is below a third of its full 184lb ft, the technology shuts down the middle pair of cylinders of the inline four. The process itself is imperceptible, although you can call up a display on the instrument screen to show when the cylinders have been deactivated.
It’s early days, but so far I’m managing around 45mpg on gentle motorway cruises and just below 40mpg on urban commutes. While this isn’t as frugal as my previous 1.0-litre Golf Bluemotion, the Q2’sbigger engine is more f lexible, so I don’t have to change gear so often to make swift progress around town. Gearchanges from the six-speed manual gearbox are neat and precise when I do make them, too.
I’m also appreciating the opulence of the Q2’s interior, which is a comfortable and attractive place to be on my daily 45-mile each-way commute. We’ve splashed out on Black Milano leather trim, which is pricey at £1300, but it provides sports seats clad in fine, soft leather instead of fabric; it makes the hide in rivals, such as the Mini Countryman, seem overly thick and unrefined.