Monday 19 February 2018

Audi's baby crossover: €30,000 and here by November ... but would you buy it or an A3?

Better than our Motoring Editor expected: Audi Q2
Better than our Motoring Editor expected: Audi Q2
Audi's virtual cockpit.
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Audi's smallest crossover to date is expected to cost around €30,000 when it gets to the Irish market in November.

It is built on the same platform as the A3 and at that sort of money will be in the same price region (€1,000 more on German market). It will be interesting to see how they 'interact'.

As it's a car for young urban couples and singles, it is mainly designed to get people currently driving a plethora of mainstream rivals to step up to a 'premium' SUV. And pay a premium for the privilege, of course.

It looks quite low for a so-called crossover, but there's great head room inside. I like the front, the way they have drawn a dip along the flanks, but the rear is far, far too like the existing A3. That's a minus.

The engines we'll be interested in are the 1-litre 3cyl petrol and 1.6-litre diesel, both developing 116bhp. I'd plump without reservation for the petrol. Where it was light, peppy and quiet, the diesel was heavy-footed, growly and not so quick.

I also drove the 2-litre 190bhp and wouldn't give it a second look, but the 150bhp version was sprightly. The 1.4-litre petrol won't be much of a seller either.

The cabin looks like someone thought it through; the dash, instrumentation and where things are placed made it easy to use. Some of the little adornment strips (one we had was illuminated) are tasty; some a bit tacky.

There's great headroom all round, but rear-seat space is tight. There is a two-level, decent-sized boot (405 litres rises to 1,050 with rear seat-backs folded).

Would I buy it over an A3 Sportback? Given the current Crossover trend, I probably could be persuaded if I were young and social. I'm neither, but still find it a difficult one to answer, because I'd need different things from it. If it didn't look so much like the A3 from the back I'd move much more quickly, I think. But young twenty/thirtysomethings won't mind that too much. I can see this becoming a player. I know a couple of young ladies who would embrace it without hesitation. It doesn't matter if it's a cleverly - some might say cynically - devised fit to get Audi into a small/urban/crossover market niche. It pushes a good few of the right buttons. One of the 'wrong' buttons is a silver 'blade' on the rear pillar. Ugh. Steer clear.

The cabin is typically Audi, with the added bonus of exceptional headroom. It took no time to get the seat/steering wheel combo the way I wanted. I'm making the point about ease of use because that is far more important for its buyers than the performance (moderate) and road-holding (ditto) that petrol heads look for.

The Q2 is built on the same platform as the A3; is taller (1.51m) and wider (1.79m) but shorter (4.19m) with minimum overhangs. It's chunky looking and I like that.

With a wheelbase of 2.6m it was nimble to turn. That was thanks also to Progressive Steering (standard) which gave a direct but smooth feel.

As you would expect, it is dotted with connectivity and infotainment. Wifi is optional. What you can get and order is mind boggling, so I'll not confuse you further. I'd love to say Audi's virtual cockpit with 12.3ins screen is standard, but it's not. It's a treat.

All in all, the Q2 was better than I expected in most, not all, areas. The diesels disappointed in the main but the petrol is a little gem. That's the one I'd encourage you to go for. This is an urban motor; you don't need diesel.

Indo Motoring

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