In recent years, the demand for SUVs has sky-rocketed. Everyone and their grandma are after one.
As a result, the market’s expanding and churning out city-going off-roaders left, right and centre, and it’s not just the heftier models that are getting special treatment.
Audi are also flexing their sports-utility muscle and introducing new models at either end of the spectrum. The new Q8 will top the range later this year, with the Audi Q2 coming in at the other end.
Big wheels and even bigger engine blocks have always been popular, and always will, but the smaller alternatives are also getting in on the action now. They’re attracting a new audience, and they’re getting the plaudits.
It’s not losing marks on design
As I made my way across Tyneside Audi’s forecourt, I was aware of almost every other Audi model sitting alongside the Q2 – and it didn’t look out of place.
It may be the base model in its class, but it doesn’t think it is. The compact SUV is a good-looking car, grinning at you from the angular grill we’ve come to expect from the manufacturer.
The Q2 is billed as a multipurpose car, and that much is definitely true on the design front – whether you’re after simplistic or sporty, you’ll find a variant that’s a bit of you.
Even the lower spec options look smart and will more than do the job for those wanting clean and simple design, but the 1.4 TFSI Sport that I trialled has a few extras that’ll please the other crowd. The 17in alloys and matte-finish rear bumper, especially, give it extra marks.
The Audi Q2 has a typically Audi interior
Interior-wise, even the loudest and angriest of Audi motors don’t flaunt it on the inside. Not plain, but low-key style. And the Q2 is no different – the surfaces are free from anything bar what you need, and in this variant come with a chrome finish.
On the centre console you’ll find the screen controls, that are simple enough to operate without looking down to work out what you need to twist or click. You navigate the menus by spinning the disk and select an option by pressing it down.
And any other controls you’d need surround the disk with enough space to not have you prodding about like a stroppy child as you search for the satnav switch.
Solid performance that’s more than manageable
It goes without saying that the Q2 sets off more sensibly than a lot of the larger Audi models – and that’s not a bad thing.
In a nutshell, you’re unlikely to hurtle into a neighbour’s front garden if you give it too much power pulling out of your estate. In the lower revs it’s got enough poke to move itself about without any issues, but when you get above 3,000 revs you’ll really feel its pull.
The 1.4 TFSI petrol engine gives you 150bhp, but its setup gives a more controlled feel in low gears and more power as you get up to third and fourth.
Granted, there are those who’d rather set off in a flurry of noise and neck-jerk, but you’re probably looking at the 2.0 litre quattro engine if you’re in that camp.
The 1.4 is perfect for drivers who want a bit of both – an all-rounder that has some shift, but won’t punish you if you’re not used to a bigger engine, and will still give a decent return on fuel costs.
And that ease of control is something you’ll find in the actual size and manoeuvrability, too.
SUV doesn’t have to mean huge
Although it falls within the ‘compact’ category of the SUV class, the Q2 has the stockier appearance and higher driving position you’d expect from something bigger. But crucially, it drives like a smaller hatchback.
The Audi Q2 is a compact SUV with the presence of a bigger car, but one you won’t have a multi-storey meltdown in as you struggle to find a parking space you can comfortably slide it into.
It’s also inherited the good looks that come with the badge, or according to a mate I passed on my way back to Tyneside Audi, is “proper nifty”.
If you – or your grandma – fancy an SUV that fits the above, you’d do well to go for the Audi Q2.
More details on the Audi Q2, as well as the latest offers at www.lookers.co.uk/audi/new-offers/audi-q2-range/