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Audi's smallest Q model arrives in the UK and makes a compelling case for itself; if not the most compelling in its class
Nic Cackett
1 November 2016

What is it?

This is the Audi Q2, Ingolstadt’s newest badge, signaling yet another manufacturer's debut entry into the small SUV market. The name is appropriate: the car is noticeably smaller than the family-targeted Q3 and is somewhere between a Mini Countryman and Skoda Yeti in scale. The new version of the latter will share the Q2’s underpinnings (a variant of the MQB architecture) when it lands next year. 

Vindication of the Q2's market position hardly needs a sales spreadsheet; this will be the cheapest way into a Q-model Audi, and should therefore be popular. Ingolstadt hopes – as it did with the supermini-sized A1 – that the Q2 will attract a younger audience than typically buys its larger SUVs, and claims it has set up the car to match. It gets the usual array of downsized engines; here, in the UK for the first time, we drove it with the 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI, twinned with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. 

What's it like?

Frumpy to look at or cleverly ruggedised? I’m not really sure, but what you think will decide much about your opinion of the Q2. I say that because underneath the shell, the car springs few genuine surprises. Certainly that it is nice inside is a given. The new car shares most of its innards with the latest A3, and while some of the trim materials are of a subtly inferior grade, it hardly dilutes the pleasant feeling of either sitting in and/or looking at the dashboard.

The Q2's internal proportions are satisfying enough, too, for a car that’s shorter than a three-door A3. Think big, well-packaged supermini and you’ll be in the ballpark. You could conceivably fill the Q2 with four adults, and on the proviso that none dramatically breach the national height average, you wouldn’t hear any complaints. They’d be able to bring a rucksack each too, because at 405 litres the Q2's boot (helped by a split-level floor) is actually larger than that of the five-door A3 hatchback.

However – and this is mild surprise number one – you’d certainly notice the effect of your carload on the Q2’s performance, as even when burdened with a solitary road tester its get up and go leaves something to be desired. It’s not that it's slow precisely (Audi claims a brisk 8.4sec 0-62mph) rather that it labours noticeably at the kind of low crank speeds you commonly find yourself negotiating a junction with – and, even on clambering away from the turbo lag below 2000rpm, never becomes what you’d call spirited.


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The impact of its occasional listlessness is all the more noticeable because, as promised, Ingolstadt has tuned the Q2’s chassis to handle with something approaching the agile manners of its lower-to-the-ground stablemates. Anyone expecting a markedly lazier degree of body control can chalk up another revelation here; the car’s taller body is well managed by a combination of structural rigidity and the consistent firmness of its passive suspension. 

Naturally, there is a centre-of-gravity sacrifice to take into account here, not to mention the larger serving of kerbweight (the Q2 might be smaller than an A3, but 1316kg on our scales suggests it’s heavier, too), yet the car handles astutely for something that’s been consciously jacked away from the ground. Surprise number three – on standard 17in wheels it rides moderately well, too. A little unyielding on all the nooks and crannies of UK roads, but decent enough for you to only occasionally pay it any mind. 

Should I buy one?

If you responded "cor blimey, yes" to the question of the Q2’s styling, then by all means. This is a modern small SUV to the core, and its fitness for purpose largely indisputable: credible to drive, comfortable to sit in and just practical enough to convince you that it makes some greater indefinable sense than a five-door hatchback. If, on the other hand, you think the car looks more like a hatchback having its tyres changed, then its wicket gets a bit stickier.

While it may be a reasonable steer in the compact crossover segment, that still places it midtable in the realm of the benign and uninteresting. Ultimately, Audi’s efforts to tack the Q2 down results in the usual driver ambivalence: you feel closer to the road, but no more involved in it. Added to which, our mid-level Sport test car was £28,655 with a smattering of options, and still needed a £900 Comfort pack to add dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors – both of which you’d get on the larger, more likeable equivalent Seat Ateca for free. No surprise there. 

Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI Sport

Location UK; On sale Now; Price £23,930; Engine 4 cyls, 1395cc, turbo, petrol; Power 148bhp; Torque 184lb ft; Gearbox Six-speed manual; Kerb weight 1265kg; Top speed 131mph; 0-62mph8.5sec; Economy 54.3mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 124g/km, 21% Rivals BMW X1, Seat Ateca

Join the debate


1 November 2016
The problem for Audi, as I pointed out over a year ago, is that they have to make it more expensive or very similar in price to the 5 door A3, otherwise the average family will turn their backs the hatchback and go for the better value SUV. So give it a several months as deals behind the closed doors should be possible.

Not sure if nearly £5000 worth of extras can be called "a smattering of options" more another car!

1 November 2016
SUVs have higher profit margins, because they contain very little added content but sell for higher prices. Audi's real problem is that some sensible buyers can see through this scam, and will prefer a less profitable A3 instead.

1 November 2016
I wonder if any other manufacturer could get away with putting such an awkwardly shaped grille on the front of one of its most mainstream models? As its an Audi it will be seen as a stylish adition, but I bet it would be heavily criticised if the badge were different.

1 November 2016
The design of this car does not bode well for Audi's new look.

The incoherent front end is particularly poor. The grille lacks formal definition and has inappropriate decorative infill. And there is that blanked-out slot below the headlamps framed by chrome thus highlighting a blank hole.

When Audi loses its simple rational well-proportioned looks I doubt whether there are many other reasons left to choose an Audi.

1 November 2016
Agreed. IMHO, the grille is overly large and a very odd shape, different to to the hexagonal shape on other recent Audis. It looks like something you might find on a Chinese clone, rather than the real thing! The d-pillar looks OK in gloss black on other models, where it gives a "floating roof" look, but otherwise is pretty awkward. Makes the Q3 look pretty attractive in comparison.

1 November 2016
Do you mean the silver infill in the grill? I believe you get a black infill with black side blades and a silver unfill with silver blades. This car as silver blades, hence the silver infill. The blanks below the headlights are nowhere near as bad as on the Honda Civic.

2 November 2016
Actually having had a fiddle on the configurator, it appears that the grill infill colour is dependent on trim level. Its black on SE. Grey on Sport and S-line and black again on the top edition 1 with black pack. The new A5 has it as well ie. its a fake grill. If it were purely functional, it would only extend above the bumper and there would npbe no need for an infill.

1 November 2016
For me yes, it's frumpy, like the Q3 is frumpy. Not sure there are any cars in this class yet that really cut it for either styling or road manners.

1 November 2016
it’s let down by its miserly kit, firm ride and cheap-feeling interior finish. You’ll just need to watch the options to stop the price spiralling out of control.

1 November 2016
I have a Q3 with this engine and I agree with the reviewer's comments. I find it's OK at town speeds but feels like it runs out of puff on the motorway and is not particularly economical on a run. Unfortunately the Q2 has the awful 1.6 Diesel engine (talk about agricultural). I'd wait for more engines to come on line.


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