Audi Q2 SUV review
"The Audi Q2 takes the small SUV class upmarket, boasting a luxurious interior along with style and practicality"
- Huge scope for personalisation
- Stylish, high-quality interior
- Great range of engines
- Many rivals are cheaper
- Limited kit on entry-level model
- Large wheels affect ride comfort
The small SUV has been a sales hit in the UK, with the Audi Q2 being one of a number of smaller models from premium marques that have previously produced much larger SUVs.
The Q2 is the smallest SUV offered by Audi, sitting beneath the Q3, Q5 and Q7, and was the brand’s best-selling SUV in 2019. As an entry point into high-riding Audi ownership, rivals to the Q2 such as the MINI Countryman, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur, along with the segment-pioneering Nissan Juke, are likely to be most worried by its luxurious interior and desirable badge.
A midlife facelift for 2020 ushered in some subtle changes, making the grille wider and adding three narrow slots above it - a styling cue inspired by the original Audi Quattro. As we've come to expect from Audi, there's also updated exterior lighting, which uses LED technology as standard.
The best value is found at the start of Q2 the range, with the excellent 114bhp 1.0-litre '30 TFSI' petrol offering enough performance for most crossover drivers. If its performance doesn't satisfy, there's also 148bhp and 187bhp petrol engines from 1.5 to 2.0-litres in size. Drivers with lots of motorway miles may also want to consider the 2.0-litre diesel. Front-wheel drive is prevalent and saves fuel, but if you really need quattro four-wheel drive, you can get it with the 2.0-litre engines.
As an all-rounder, it's the 1.5-litre, badged 35 TFSI, that's likely to win the most fans, thanks to a greater turn of speed. It also features clever 'cylinder-on-demand' technology that can switch off part of the engine when it isn't needed to save fuel. It’s capable of 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, while fuel economy of up to 47.9mpg means it isn't too far behind the smaller petrol for economy. Fuel consumption figures for other facelifted derivatives haven't been confirmed yet but as a general rule, it's best to stick with front-wheel-drive and the smaller alloy wheels for the lowest running costs, particularly if you're a business buyer.
The Q2 is a lot like the Audi A3 hatchback to drive, feeling safe and comfortable whether pottering around town or on the motorway. There's more excitement to be found in the BMW X2, but not many customers in the small SUV market consider performance a top priority.
Nevertheless, the Q2 displays little body lean in corners despite its raised ride height, while broken tarmac and potholes are nicely ironed out and cause little discomfort. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard for petrol engines, although the excellent seven-speed automatic has a lot to recommend it – not least a slight improvement in fuel economy. This isn't available with the 1.0-litre petrol engine, but it's optional with the mid-range engines and standard with the 2.0-litre models.
Inside, it’s a similar story: the Q2 feels comfortable, safe and solid. Audi’s interiors have long drawn praise for their pleasingly simple yet luxurious design and the Q2 is no exception. The materials used in all but the most out-of-reach areas are soft to touch and feel suitably upmarket. We wish Audi had gone further in upgrading the interior tech as part of the 2020 facelift, however, namely making the infotainment display a touchscreen. The control wheel can be fiddly for adding long addresses and the system doesn’t use Audi's latest infotainment software. There’s enough space for adults in the front and rear and, although anyone over six feet tall will find the back seats tight, the Q2 is more spacious inside than its direct competitors.
Boot space is also reasonable for a car of this size and shape; at 405 litres, the Q2 comfortably outstrips the Nissan Juke, although it’s outdone by the Renault Captur by 50 litres and family buyers used to more conventional SUVs are likely to miss this extra capacity.
Q2 customers can choose from entry-level Technik, mid-range Sport, S line, Black Edition and top-spec Vorsprung trim. Sport, S line and Black Edition versions get a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel along with an 8.3-inch infotainment display. A powered tailgate is also standard, along with rear parking sensors and cruise control. Top trims get Matrix LED adaptive headlights and styling tweaks, along with luxurious items for the class like Nappa leather upholstery and a Bang & Olufsen stereo.
S line trim includes a subtle body kit, front and rear LED lights, a choice between standard and sports suspension, part-leather seats and 18-inch alloy wheels – although if the Q2 behaves anything like almost every other Audi, larger wheels will make it uncomfortable over bumps, as will the sports suspension. Opting for a Black Edition car adds 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black exterior detailing, a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel and privacy glass.
The 187bhp 2.0-litre 40 TFSI quattro model offers hot hatchback-like performance together with the reassuring traction and grip of Audi’s famous four-wheel-drive system. It’s only available in S line and Black Edition trims, though. If you'd like even more power, you'll be after the performance Audi SQ2 SUV, which we've reviewed separately.
As regards for reliability, the Q2's engines and mechanicals are well proven, but in our 2020 Driver Power satisfaction survey, owners told us they were impressed with the reliability of the Q2, as well as the infotainment system. They were less impressed by the expensive servicing costs, finishing in 52nd position from the 75 best cars to own. Audi fared little better when it comes to the overall ownership experience, though, rating 20th out of 30 manufacturers overall.
Audi does do a lot better in terms of safety, the Q2 also scored five out of five in its Euro NCAP safety tests and all cars come with autonomous emergency braking in addition to mandatory safety systems like electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.
As the first premium rival to the Nissan Juke, the Q2 is something of a pioneer and has carved itself a very narrow niche, and one that's bookended by the slightly cheaper Audi A3 Sportback hatchback and the more practical Audi Q3 SUV.