Audi Q2 Review
Small SUVs are all the rage these days, and the market is exploding with small, high-riding cars from just about every major manufacturer. The Audi Q2 aims to bring a premium vibe to this type of machine, and prove that just because your car is small, that doesn’t mean it’s not swanky. The Q2 is available in several well-equipped trim levels, and was given an overhaul in 2020, which means it’s as fresh as its rivals. It’s also comfortable and classy to drive, with a sporty model if you want it, and some new engine options coming very soon.
Select's rating score* - 3.6 / 5
You can pick from several well-equipped trim levels, and while a 2020 refresh has seen the engine range cut to one, several more should be arriving shortly, meaning customers will have a choice of punchy petrol and diesels. Should you be after something with extra adrenaline, the SQ2 is one of the fastest small SUVs you can get.
All models get alloy wheels and LED headlights, as well as a Virtual Cockpit digital driver display behind the steering wheel.
Opt for the sporty SQ2 and you’ll have a proper hot-hatch-style performance SUV, with lowered sports suspension and a large amount of propulsion power under the bonnet, but still with a good smattering of luxury features.
As of late 2020, one engine is available in the standard Q2, and it’s a 138bhp, 1.5-litre petrol, badged as the 35 TFSI, and you can have it with either a slick six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic. Those that do longer distances might yearn for a diesel (although it’s less important in small cars) but the petrol is actually a very good all-rounder, striking a nice balance between cost, fuel efficiency and punchy performance.
When more engines were available, this was the big-seller, and it’s easy to see why. If you are set on a diesel, however, don’t fret; two are on the way, along with two more TFSI petrol engines, at least some of which will be available with all-wheel drive. However, most buyers will find the standard front-wheel drive to be more than adequate.
Those buying an SUV for a soft, cosseting ride might find the Q2 quite firm under them to start with, especially if you have one of the higher trim levels, which come with lowered, sports suspension and larger alloy wheels with thinner tyres. But that said, it’s never uncomfortable; you’ll just find that you’re well aware of what’s going on with the road surface, especially if it’s not in great repair. The top-spec Vorsprung model comes with clever adaptive suspension that allows you to change the stiffness at the push of a button, and that does a better job in Comfort mode of massaging away the worst rumbles.
The driving experience is calmed by impressive noise insulation, even at motorway speeds, although again, larger wheels will give you a bit more road noise than the smaller ones.
The upside of the firm suspension is that it keeps the physics of the Q2 well in check through the corners. This is a car that feels much like a hatchback, with little of the top-heavy leaning that some SUVs can be prone to. It’s easy to manoeuvre around town too, thanks to a clever steering system that gets quicker the more you turn the wheel; no more endless turns from side to side when parking. It’s a stretch to call the Q2 sporty, especially when compared to its more dynamically-focused rival, the BMW X1, but the Audi is nippy enough.
That said, if you’re looking for more poke, the SQ2 is the sporty version. This gets a potent 296bhp petrol engine and Quattro four-wheel drive, which combine to give a sub-five second sprint from standstill to 62mph. Very fast, in other words, and there are few cars of this size that can match it for pace.
The Audi Q2 is marketed as a premium product, so it will cost a bit more to lease than other comparable cars from less premium marques. At the time of writing the 35 TFSI petrol engine is the only one available in the standard Q2 range, and that will give you an official fuel consumption figure of 47.9mpg.
The SQ2, with its focus more on performance than fuel economy, has an official consumption figure of 40.4mpg, which is actually pretty impressive considering its power. But remember that these official figures are arrived at through lab tests, and you’ll be lucky to get close to them in the real world, particularly in a car designed to be driven in a spirited fashion.
Audi has long claimed peerless interior quality as one of its trump cards, and the Q2 maintains that tradition. It’s a lovely car in which to sit, with beautifully finished materials that feel like they’ve been really solidly screwed together. The overall feeling of class would put plenty of larger, more expensive cars to shame.
All models get Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which is a 12.3-inch screen where analogue dials would normally be, showing various driving information layouts that you can tailor to your liking, and the overall cabin design is understated and classy .
Audi’s MMI infotainment system is one of the best and easiest to use of any on the market. It shuns the touchscreen technology favoured by some rivals in favour of a dial between the front seats, and most of the time, it’s an easier way of navigating, especially on the move. Sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on every model.
All cars also get Virtual Cockpit, which is Audi’s name for its digital driver display. Rather than analogue dials, you get a screen that can be configured in a number of different ways, meaning you can show driving information alongside, say, satellite navigation directions or song information. It works together with the MMI system, looks great and it’s impressive to see it included as standard; a few years ago, it would have been an expensive option.
Other tech of note includes the matrix LED headlights that are available as an option, or included on the top-spec Vorsprung model. This uses a grid of LEDs to allow you to keep high beam on, even when there’s oncoming traffic. Cameras in the car track oncoming cars and keep them in shadow to avoid dazzling them, while you still keep the maximum visibility possible. They’re great on dark country roads.
Audi has done a good job of maximising space inside the Q2, and considering its diminutive size there’s an impressive amount of room. Two adults will fit into the back with few problems, although three is probably a squeeze too far for anything other than short journeys. Taller adults too might find legroom a bit tight, but there are rivals with less space than this. The boot’s a good size too; not the biggest in the class, but at 405 litres it’s a long way from the smallest.
This drops to 355 litres for all-wheel drive Quattro models (including the SQ2), due to the extra mechanical bits needed to send power to the rear wheels.
Rear parking sensors are standard in all models, and if you go for the top-spec Vorsprung model you’ll get front sensors and a rear-view camera to complement them, as well as an auto-parking system.
The Q2 scored the maximum five stars out of five in tests by safety organisation Euro NCAP, and all models come with a very decent suite of the latest safety technology. These include automatic emergency braking as standard, which will intervene if you don’t respond to an impending accident. You can also have adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a traffic sign recognition, depending on which model you opt for. Options include Audi Side Assist, which will alert you to any traffic in your blind spot as well as any oncoming vehicles if you’re reversing out of a parking space
There are Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats as well as on the front passenger seat, and front, side and curtain airbags are on all models.
Earlier Q2s were available in a Technik trim, but this was phased out with the 2020 overhaul, so the entry-level trim now is the Sport model. This was formerly a mid-spec trim, so comes well appointed. You get 17-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights, as well as sat-nav, cloth-covered seats and electric lumbar adjustment for those up front.
Upgrade to the S line model and you’ll find 18-inch alloy wheels and an exterior styling pack, which adds some visual beef to the bodywork. You’ll also get sports suspension and part-leather upholstery.
The Black Edition model has 19-inch wheels and a black styling pack to make the exterior a bit more stealthy, as well as tinted rear glass, while the top-spec Vorsprung model comes loaded with adaptive suspension, matrix LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and a Bang & Olufsen sound system, as well as leather seats.
The performance SQ2 comes in standard trim, with 18-inch alloys and sports suspension, or in Black Edition form, which rides on 19-inch wheels and has the black styling pack.
Options are plentiful, and range from leather upholstery to metallic paint and various features that are standard on higher-end trims. These include dual-zone climate control air conditioning, panoramic sunroof, tinted windows and matrix LED headlights. The Comfort and Sound Pack adds heated front seats, upgraded sound system and a rear view camera, while the Carbon Style Pack gives you various exterior elements finished in carbon fibre.
Direct rivals for the Q2 are other small premium SUVs, including the BMW X1 or the X2 if you want something a bit more stylish. Both are more involving to drive but not quite as classy inside as the Audi. There’s also the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Mini Countryman.
Then there are the more mainstream models of a similar size, which offer similar levels of comfort and features but with a less premium badge, such as the Volkswagen T-Roc, and more mainstream cars that compete in size but perhaps not in levels of equipment (although they’ll be cheaper). Such rivals are many, and include the Ford Puma, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and more.
The SQ2 has a couple of rivals that share the exact same engine, such as the larger Cupra Ateca and the Volkswagen T-Roc R, but they lack the classy feel of the Audi.
The Audi Q2 proves that being small is no barrier to being a very classy, premium car. Outside of the bonkers SQ2, it’s not the most exciting car to sit behind the wheel of, but it’s very comfortable and well behaved on the road. On top of that, it looks great and comes with some cutting edge technology across the trim levels. At the time of writing, the lack of engine choice might put some off, but there are more coming, and they may well be available by the time you read this. If you don’t want a big car but don’t want to scrimp on luxury, then make sure you check the Q2 out.
Where to next?
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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top six leading independent car website reviews of the Audi Q2
**Correct as of 11/11/2020. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2,236.68 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.