Auto Trader verdict:
Audi may be new to the so-called 'crossover' segment, but it’s clear the Q2 offers enough talent, technology and desirability to make a very credible family car. We’re not used to Audi taking stylistic gambles, but this, combined with strong interior packaging and competitive pricing, makes the Q2 a worthy addition to your new car shortlist.
What is it?
It’s Audi entering a sector of the small family car market filled with cars known as ‘crossovers’: vehicles that take the best features from a regular hatchback, such as its handling and fuel economy, but combine them with the desirable traits of an SUV, notably the raised ride height and taller interior packaging.
It’s a segment that continues to grow in the UK, pioneered by cars such as the Nissan Qashqai, replicated by premium rivals such as the Mini Countryman, and now followed by Audi.
To join the fray, the company is introducing a car that is similar in length to a three-door A3 hatchback (4190mm vs 4237mm), yet moves away from the company’s often derivative, cookie-cutter approach to car design. Instead, the Q2 boasts a comparatively crazy bone structure, with sheer surfaces in the doors, a bluff, single-frame grille, polygon shapes in the LED lights and, in a stylistic nod to the R8 supercar, a pair of contrasting-colour C-pillars. This is Audi’s idea of wild.
What is it like?
Chiseled, contemporary and more visually entertaining than any other model in the Audi range. True, we’re not exactly talking Mini levels of playfulness here, but given how disciplined and austere Audi’s design language can be, this is like having a brushed stainless-steel kitchen finished with an acid green splashback.
However, the way the Q2 drives remains sensible and surefooted. The steering is light and direct, if slightly numb; the body control is taut; and, the ride quality, although firm on 18-inch wheels, remains comfortable on our test car’s optional adaptive dampers. It’s clear the Q2 hasn’t been engineered to get your pulse racing, but focuses instead on a feeling of solidity.
All versions receive Audi Pre Sense with pedestrian recognition, a safety system that can monitor potential low-speed accidents and initiate hard braking, but optional safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistant and traffic sign recognition also work imperceptibly.
Even more impressive are the 1.4TFSI petrol engine and seven-speed S tronic gearbox. The shifts are clean and instant, and you’re blissfully unaware when the engine engages its Cylinder-on-Demand technology to save fuel and reduce emissions.
Only a few areas disappoint: despite significantly better rear cabin space, the Q2 cannot match the boot volume of the Mini Countryman (405- vs 450 litres); the thick C-pillars impede rear visibility; and, the driving position, although set marginally higher than a hatchback, never feels SUV-tall.
Should I get one?
If you’re in the market for a small family car, then certainly put it on your shortlist. The Q2 is well priced, offers a superbly finished interior, excellent packaging, generous equipment and – we expect – strong residual values. However, Audi reckons more than half of UK buyers will go for Sport trim, which (for a £2,250 saving over our S line test car) forgoes the tweaked bumpers, 18-inch alloys and leather seats seen in our first drive video (above) for a cloth interior and 17-inch alloys, yet still comes with satellite-navigation, cruise control and Audi’s multiple driver modes.
Mercedes also makes a taller version of its A-Class hatchback, with better ground clearance and more forgiving suspensionMini Countryman
For young families, the Countryman is a welcome addition to the Mini range and is available with four or five seatsAudi Q3
Pricier and more predictably styled than the Q2, but a proper SUV that boasts a high-quality cabin and is available with the same 1.4 TFSI engine