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Audi Q2 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.4
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the new Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in Victoria.

Small SUVs have been a thing for a while now, so it seems odd that it's only now Audi has finally brought its take on the idea to market. The Q2 enters the fray in a segment occupied by a gaggle of (cheaper) French and Japanese cars, as well and the new Mini Countryman.

The Q2 is now on sale after months of drip-fed information, in all its angled, better-than-the-pictures glory.

The Q2 is going to be big for Audi in Australia, so the ads are already running, declaring the car "hashtag untaggable." I've driven the car on Australian roads and made the best effort I can to find a tag that might fit.

Audi Q2 2017: 2.0 TDI Quattro YD
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$33,890

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

This was always going to be a tricky car for Audi. You can get a funky-looking small SUV from a variety of cheaper competitors or you can get a dull-looking one with heaps of interior space. They're all going for the same thing. Audi has to do all of the mini SUV things, justify charging you more than $41,000 and be true to the brand that has brought you sharply-styled interiors and exteriors for a while now. Tough ask.

Looking at the photos, you might think Audi missed. But it hasn't. When you're walking around this car you see a chunky SUV style with Audi's attention to detail. It's a really accomplished design that has a flair of its own, Audi telling us time and again about the polygonal styling influences. Look for the cool slice out of the shoulder line, the polygons in the grille, the shapes and surfacing on the bonnet.

Inside, though, is classic Audi. So classic, in fact, you've seen much of it before, in an A3. That's no criticism, obviously, because the A3 has one of the better interiors in any small car. There are some key differences - a bigger screen and, of course, the dimensions are rather loftier. Another fine interior, but if you go looking, you'll find some cheap plastics where you can see and touch them.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

At 4.19 metres, the Q2 is hardly titchy but it is shorter than all the Japanese cars in the segment (yes, they're all cheaper, but they're still mini SUVs). There's good room front and rear and four passengers will be perfectly happy in the Q2.

The rear seat passengers won't be super-pleased with a lack of storage, cupholders (they're optional) or air vents, but we found it otherwise comfortable. The ride for back seaters differs slightly between the variants, the better deal coming in the multi-link-equipped TDI quattro.

Germany's first serious entrant in the compact SUV class comes close to best-in-class boot space - 405 litres. That said, it does come at the expense of a full-size spare (you can option one, but you lose boot space) and with the seats folded down, this increases to 1050 litres. At least, that's what you get in the 1.4. The 2.0 loses 50 litres in the process, but makes up some of the gap when you fold the seats down.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

At launch there are just two specifications available - the 1.4 TFSI front-wheel drive and the 2.0 TDI quattro. A petrol quattro will join the range later in the year, with a 2.0 TFSI 140kW/320Nm power unit.

Being an Audi, there are option packages galore; six to be exact.

There is (technically) a third spec called Edition#1. This adds LED interior lighting, 40/20/40 split fold seats with centre armrest and cupholders, sport front seats, Milano leather, LED headlights and taillights, rear privacy glass and some interior bits and pieces. Around 700 will be available.

The 1.4 TFSI starts at $41,100 and is available in front-wheel drive only. Standard are 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, five star Euro NCAP safety package, variable rack steering, sat nav, reversing camera, auto headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, power windows and mirrors, leather (some real, some not) trim, in-car Wi-Fi hotspot with Google Earth map overlay function, remote central locking and a space saver spare.

It's a hop, step and a jump up to the 2.0 TDI as it will set you back $47,900. The TDI quattro adds sports seats, body colour skirts and lower bumpers, electric tailgate, aluminium trim pieces inside and a more sophisticated rear suspension set-up.

Both specifications come with an eight-speaker stereo run by Audi's MMI system. This includes a rotary dial control on the console and an 8.3-inch screen on the dashtop. It's an excellent system, shaded only by BMW's iDrive. And even then, only just.

You can choose from ten colours, eight of which cost extra.

Being an Audi, there are option packages galore; six to be exact.

The 'Assistance' package ($1600) adds adaptive cruise with stop-start and high-speed auto emergency braking, lane assist, blind spot detection, high beam assist, auto parking and a rollover sensor.

'Comfort' adds keyless entry and start, electric lumbar support, heated exterior mirrors with folding function, heated front seats, extra storage bits and power sockets.

'Style' brings LED headlights with washers, LED tail-lights with dynamic scrolling indicators and the chunky five spoke 18-inch alloys.

'S Line exterior' package ($2500) toughens things up with aluminium sills, S Line bumpers, rear diffuser and exterior logo.

The interior 'S Line Sport' ($1500) also brings 18-inch five spoke alloys, 10mm lower suspension, sports seats with leather and Alcantara, flat bottom steering wheel, black headlining, aluminium trim bits, stainless steel pedals, illuminated door sill trims and leather gear selector.

Finally, the 'Technik' package ($2500) adds the fully digital dashboard Audi calls Virtual Cockpit, up-spec nav and the flat-bottomed steering wheel.

A range of individual options are available, including higher powered stereos, plus colour, trim and lighting upgrades... the list goes on. You can also get coloured piping on the seats, but it's a bit much and looked like marzipan on the yellow car.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

Two engines are available, the 1.4 TFSI and the 2.0 TDI. The former is front-wheel drive only, the latter all-wheel drive, both using the same updated seven-speed dual-clutch (S-tronic as Audi calls it) gearbox to broker the connection between engine and wheels.

Both produce 110kW while the petrol makes do with 250Nm and the diesel 340Nm. The petrol dispatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.5 seconds, the diesel 8.1.

Later in the year, a 140kW/320Nm petrol quattro will join the other two.

Both engines feature stop-start to help cut fuel consumption and the 1.4 features cylinder-on-demand tech that you wouldn't know was there if you weren't told about it.

The 1.4 is rated to tow 1300kg of braked trailer and 650kg unbraked.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

Audi claims the petrol TFSI sips premium at a rate of 5.3L/100km on the combined cycle and the diesel an even thriftier 5.0L/100km. Our launch day wasn't particularly representative of real-world driving, so we'll leave that for when we have the cars for longer.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

We started our launch drive in the Melbourne CBD, and the 1.4 quickly proved itself easy to drive and a very tidy handler. Vision is good, steering well-weighted and the transmission knows a giddy-up when it feels one. It's no rocketship, but 250Nm is a decent slug of torque from 1.4 litres and with seven gears and just under 1300kg to shift, the teeth grinding descriptor 'zippy' does the job.

On the freeway it's quiet and composed, the 215 tyres keeping it on the straight and narrow with the brakes dealing well with goofy texting lane-changers hoving into view and the pre-sense tech handling the outright dangerous ones.

Step into the 2.0 TDI and there's a distinct shift up in grip and capability. On the gravel the quattro is sure-footed and confidence-inspiring. That's to be expected, but on the really loose stuff, the FWD 1.4 was a little floaty and unpredictable.

It's worth pointing out that this quattro system isn't the same as others. In normal driving, only the front wheels are driven, reducing mechanical drag and therefore consumption. When it detects slip or notices you're up to some mischief with steering wheel and right foot, up to 50 percent of the torque can be sent rearward, like the Q3 (and VW Group stablemate, Golf Alltrak). No clunks or bumps, the system just releases the clutch that sends some drive to the rear wheels and you've got grip.

In the twisties, too, the 1.4 is a lot of fun but the TDI is really a league above. The extra torque is only part of the equation (there's a good deal more weight in the TDI), the quattro system another, but I reckon the multi-link rear suspension goes most of the way towards turning the Q2 into a warm SUV. I know, right?

The 1.4 goes without the more complex suspension, being fitted with torsion beam set-up, as per the A3 1.0. Most of its cheaper rivals do too, so there's no shame in that, but as with Nissan's Qashqai, you realise you're in something that knows its way around a corner and over a bump better than the torsion beam-equipped machines. It's not exactly stark, but the difference is appreciable. It seems quieter, too.

If you really are going to spend any time at all not on city streets or your standard motorway/freeway, the 2.0 TDI is the one for you.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

Standard safety tech includes seven airbags (including driver's knee), AEB (up to 65km/h) with pedestrian detection, ABS, plus stability and traction controls.

The Q2 recently scored the maximum five Euro NCAP stars.

Adding the Assistance package fills out the safety features with high speed AEB, blind spot detection, forward collision warning and other bits and bobs.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

The Q2 comes with Audi's standard three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with roadside assist for the duration.

Servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first, and you can pre-pay for the first three years/45,000km.

Called the 'Genuine Care Service Plan', it's hardly the last word in generous, but at least you know what you're up for. Bank on around $1600.

Verdict

The Q2 is a cracking start for Audi in the compact SUV segment. More so if you spend the extra on the TDI.

While it isn't weighed down with standard features, it does have enough stuff out of the box, and that four-ringed badge will be enough for plenty of people. 

We need more time with it in the daily grind, but those who are spending near enough to forty large on a mini SUV - and there are plenty of them - are going to be sorely tempted by the Q2. 

And the tag? It's probably a bit long, but #reallyrathergood should do it.

Have you been hanging on for the Q2? Tell us what what you think in the comments below.

Pricing guides

$32,490
Based on 48 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$24,990
Highest Price
$38,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.4 Tfsi Design 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $24,990 – 37,990 2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi Design Pricing and Specs
1.4 Tfsi YA COD 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $27,700 – 35,000 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 Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $31,200 – 40,810 2017 Audi Q2 2017 2.0 TDI Quattro Sport Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.4
Design8
Practicality7
Price and features7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption8
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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