Mini Countryman 2017 review
Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the new Mini Countryman Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S and Cooper SD All4 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in Canberra.
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With the Australian SUV surge showing absolutely no sign of subsiding, German brand Audi is hoping its newest Q is the A to tapping into one our fastest-growing car segments.
The pint-sized and fresh-to-death Q2 is the smallest vehicle to ever wear the Q badge, and it marks a new design direction for the brand, with Audi ditching some of the premium-ness in place of a funky, youthful look with the hope of attracting younger customers.
But those younger customers will want to have access to a swollen trust fund, with even the entry-level model we've tested here, the 1.4 TFSI, wearing a price tag of more than $40k.
Worse still, we've borrowed the tricked-up Edition #1 special edition, one of only 700 to be sold, which adds yet more dollars to the sticker price.
So, is Audi's hashtag-untaggable (quit your groaning, we didn't make it up) Q2 worthy of your extra investment?
The Q2 1.4 TFSI is entry point to the two-tier Q2 range (sitting below the 2.0 TDI model), and wears a slightly eye-watering price tag of $41,000. For that, you'll find dual-zone climate control, a leather and leather-look trim, keyless entry, auto headlights and wipers and a sat-nav-equipped 8.3-inch screen. You'll also find 17-inch alloys, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, but we'll drill down on the safety features in more detail under the Safety heading.
Inside, Audi's much lauded interior treatments take on a more spirited feel.
But we've opted for the Edition #1 - a kind of launch special - which boosts the price to $47,800 and adds 19-inch alloys, a very cool LED interior lighting pack, which looks like ribbons of red light that line the cabin, along with sport front seats wrapped in Milano leather, LED front and rear lights and a 40/20/40 split rear seat.
The two-tone alloys, the big and textured grille, the chunky rear lights and sleek and swept-back headlights - along with the perfectly used black body skirting - all give the Q2 a fun and funky presence, and might just earn it the mantle of the best looking offering in its segment.
Inside, Audi's much lauded interior treatments take on a more spirited feel, helped by the LED light strips that look like they've been painted on. But it's still a well-executed and premium-feeling space.
The Q2 is 4.2 metres long and a touch over two metres wide, and the front-half of the cabin (where you'll be spending most of your time) is a spacious and airy place, helped by the fact the minimalist dash layout is simple, easy to operate and uncluttered.
The dual air-con controls for front seat riders sit above two cupholders, but there's no storage for trinkets aside from the under armrest space.
The Q2 is a hugely pleasant way to navigate the city. It's small and easy to manoeuvre, but doesn't feel in any way tinny.
Having sprung for the Edition #1 model, the rear seat is separated by a pull-down armrest which houses two cupholders, but that's about it in an otherwise sparse layout.
The boot will swallow 405 litres with the 40/20/40 split rear seat in place, but that number grows to 1050 litres with the second-row folded completely flat.
The Q2's turbocharged 1.4-litre engine is a small-but-perky unit, producing 110kW at 5000rpm and 250Nm at 1500rpm. It's paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission which, in our entry-level petrol model, sends its power exclusively to the front wheels.
That combination will produce a 0-100km/h sprint in 8.5 seconds and a theoretical top speed of 212km/h - but we get the feeling you would need a lot of road (and time) to hit that number.
Claimed fuel use is an impressive 5.6L/100km on the combined (urban/extra-urban) cycle, with emissions pegged at 122 grams of C02 per kilometre.
We nabbed the keys to this German micro-machine in the midst of a near constant soaking in Sydney, and so were unable to put its "driver's SUV" claims to a true test, but the rain-slicked streets did introduce a couple of other issues with the overall drive experience.
The way the 1.4-litre engine delivers its power is anything but progressive, with moments of nothingness before what feels like every ounce of available power and torque leaping out from behind a table yelling 'surprise.' And, should you be turning a corner from a standstill (say, at a traffic light or stop sign), that moment usually occurs mid-turn, with the wheels already locked into the corner.
The result is an inevitable series of chirps from the front wheels and the flash of the traction warning light on the dash. It's annoying, and how annoying depends on how wet it is where you live. If, for example, you're in Atlantis, then you might want to consider the quattro.
The steering is well weighted and informative, with the Q2 feeling a more engaging and dynamic drive than others in the segment.
Elsewhere, however, the Q2 is a hugely pleasant way to navigate the city. It's small and easy to manoeuvre, but doesn't feel in any way tinny - helped by the premium-feel interior and a general sense of quality at every touch-point.
Once you work out how much pressure to apply, the transmission and engine communicate seamlessly, and the steering is well weighted and informative, with the Q2 feeling a more engaging and dynamic drive than others in the segment.
The downside, though, is a suspension tune that grates in the city, crashing and banging through potholes and over sharp speed bumps in a way that noticeably invades the cabin ambience.
Every Audi Q2 arrives with seven airbags (dual front, front side, curtain and a driver's knee bag), a reversing camera and parking sensors front and rear, along with city AEB and the usual suite of traction systems.
Our test car was fitted with the optional 'Assistance Package' ($1,600) which adds adaptive cruise, lane assist, blind-spot monitoring and a park assist system.
The Q2 is covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and will require a trip to the service centre ever 12 months or 15,000km.
Audi's 'Genuine Care' plan also allows you to pre-pay your service costs for the first three years.
Audi's smallest SUV is a sharp looking package that exudes a quality missing from some of its cheaper competitors. It's a hoot to drive once you've mastered the skittish acceleration, too, even if it's a little too firm for our tastes.
|1.4 Tfsi YA COD||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$24,100 – 32,780||2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi YA COD Pricing and Specs|
|1.4 Tfsi YAC Edition 1 COD||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$30,300 – 39,710||2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi YAC Edition 1 COD Pricing and Specs|
|2.0 TDI Quattro YD||2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$28,800 – 38,170||2017 Audi Q2 2017 2.0 TDI Quattro YD Pricing and Specs|
|1.4 Tfsi Design||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$25,100 – 33,330||2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi Design Pricing and Specs|