From £20,0157
Facelifted compact crossover eyes class crown with styling tweaks and new tech
21 October 2020

What is it?

The compact crossover class is more cut-throat than most, with almost every manufacturer worth its salt trying to get a slice of this crowded sector. Audi’s Q2 has been one of the more successful players, racking up around 17,000 sales a year since its launch in 2016, making it the firm’s best-selling SUV. Crucially, 50% of buyers are new to the brand, making this an important gateway model.

To keep those sales ticking over, the Q2 has been under the knife for a nip and tuck. Unsurprisingly, given the jacked-up supermini’s youthful target demographic, the updates revolve around some sharpened looks and enhanced technology, including the new options of adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.

The stylists haven’t exactly been too bold, so you’ll need your ‘Audi Q2 Spotters Guide’ to identify the exterior changes. At the front, there’s a new bumper with an even larger lower grille that’s flanked either side by reshaped ‘implied’ (read ‘fake’) air intakes. LED headlights are now standard across the range, with adaptive matrix technology standard on flagship Vorsprung trim and optional on others. The rear bumper is similarly tweaked and features a new lower diffuser peppered with prominent polygon shapes. There are also some new paint colours and a sprinkling of extra alloy wheel designs.

Inside, the eyeball air vents have been reprofiled and there’s a more angular gearlever (for both manuals and S tronic autos), although it’s arguably less comfortable to hold. The seats and door trims have new fabric finishes, while all models other than entry-level Technik now have the slick 12.3in Virtual Cockpit instruments as standard. The MMI infotainment is still Audi’s last-generation set-up that’s accessed by a rotary controller and hot keys, but it’s more intuitive to use than most touchscreen units.

Otherwise, it’s as before, which means it is just roomy enough for a family of four and for the most part oozes premium appeal.

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What's it like?

The driving experience remains very familiar, being capable and composed but not getting the blood running hot. The progressive-rate variable steering remains as reticent as ever, but the well-calibrated set-up lends the Q2 a real sense of agility, smoothly ramping up its rate of response as you wind on the lock.

It allows you to fully exploit the surprisingly generous front-end grip, helping you carry speed into a corner without it being overzealously scrubbed off by torque-vectoring brake nibble. Taut body control helps, too, and this pint-sized SUV can be hustled harder than you would think, even if there aren’t huge tactile rewards for doing so.

The trade-off for this control in the corners is an occasionally lumpy ride. Even on our car’s relatively modest 17in wheels, the Q2 followed rather than swallowed imperfections at low speeds. Picking up the pace helps smooth things out, but the Audi always remains just on the comfortable side of firm.

The engine is the real highlight, and our test car’s 108bhp turbo triple remains the pick of the bunch, thanks to its smooth and punchy delivery. On paper the numbers look a little anaemic, but with a healthy 148lb ft from as low as 2000rpm it pulls harder than you would think, with enough roll-on acceleration to execute most overtaking moves without raising a sweat. Its thrummy backbeat adds to the appeal, as does the distant sighing, whistling and fluttering from the turbocharger.

And squidgy clutch action and awkwardly shaped gearlever aside, the six-speed manual gearbox is precise and accurate.

Should I buy one?

Overall, these subtle changes do little to alter the Q2’s place in the class pecking order. There are still more appealing driver’s cars in this category, while many offer greater space and more kit for less cash, but overall the Audi is a likeable package.

For many buyers, though, what matters more is this car’s style, perceived substance and the opportunity it gives them to get a foot on the first rung of the Audi ladder.

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superstevie 21 October 2020

Don't like this car, never

Don't like this car, never have. Never a huge fan of SUVs anyway, but something about this car just annoys me. A Juke is a marmite car because of how it looks, and cars like that I appreciate more for at least trying. This doesn't make any attempt at that. It doesn't look good or exciting, the interior is lifted directly from the last A3, and I am not sure what benefits it has over an A1 or A3. 

Will86 21 October 2020

@superstevie

I'm with you on the styling. The whole car is just bland and unimaginative. The one good thing though is that it's got the dash from the previous A3 rather than the new one. Curious though at the criticism of the clutch and gearknob. The last time I drove an A3 it had a lovely clutch and a nice golfball esque gearknob. Why would anyone want a square one?

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