First seen in 2016, the Audi Q2 was introduced as an entry-level alternative to the bigger Q SUV offerings in Audi’s range. Not following the conservative Q3, Q5 and Q7, Ingolstadt’s boutique crossover appealed to a more youthful market – with flamboyant paint choices and trim schemes to attract fashion-forward consumers. Now halfway through its life cycle, the premium car maker has given the Q2 a facelift.
Subtle enhancements refresh the exterior; the boutique design modernised with new faux front-end air inlets and redesigned headlamp detailing. The rear has also benefitted from changes to the rear diffuser. The test unit we sampled was painted in a discreet shade called Floret Silver Metallic. At R2 620, it was one of many options fitted to the Q2. A set of dynamic looking 5-double-spoke ‘trapezoid style’ Audi Sport 18-inch alloys add some presence, at R36 900.
Seated behind the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, there is plenty of adjustment to allow people of all shapes to find their ideal driving position. Trimmed in ‘Index’ fabric seats, the R6 200 ‘Sports’ seats are supportive and well-bolstered. As a premium product, a no-cost leather option would be appreciated. It’s available as an option (on Advanced and S line models only) for an extra R14 600.
Despite the relatively compact exterior dimensions, the rear bench is spacious. There’s plenty of space for a brace of child seats and, with standard ISOFIX mountings, fitting them should be a breeze. Cargo space is acceptable, measuring 405 litres with the rear bench in place. This is bigger than the Mini Countryman (360 litres) but falls short of the Volkswagen T-Roc’s 445 litres. With the rear seats folded flat, the Audi has a commendable 1 050 litres – but can’t match the Mini at 1 250 and the VW at 1 290 litres, respectively.
Standard specification is more impressive than luggage space, with key features such as climate control, rear parking sensors, LED headlamps and cruise control all forming part of the standard price. The attractive interior remains relatively unchanged, apart from a revised gear lever and air vents. Quality is something you can rarely complain about with an Audi – and the Q2 is no different. The baby Q has been blessed with a beautiful interior. Yes, there are a few surfaces which use cheaper plastics, but for the most part everything feels remarkably solid and premium. In this regard, it bests the T-Roc’s decidedly plastic cockpit.
With the mid-life update, Audi South Africa has elected to rejig the local engine line-up. No longer available, the three-cylinder 30 TFSI has been dropped from the line-up. Just one choice is on offer, the 35 TFSI. With 110 kW and 250 Nm, it’s sufficiently powered to carry out its tasks as a commuter with diligence. While not as dynamically engaging as the similarly priced Audi A3 Sportback, the Q2 counters with a fine ride quality and a delightful heft to the controls – it’s not heavy by any means, but feels reassuringly solid in its driving characteristics.
The 1.4-litre turbopetrol is paired to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox, which suits the Q2’s relaxed persona. Commuting around town and on motorways are both strengths of the Audi, which has longer legs than its compact size would suggest. On the open road – when cruising at the national limit – the auto ‘box blurs the gears away seamlessly, to provide a refined experience. The four-cylinder remains hushed and wind noise is kept to a limit. Even with the optional 18-inch alloys, the ride is unruffled.
Performance is not the Q2’s forte. It doesn’t move at a glacial pace but lacks the urgency experienced in some of its larger siblings. 0-100 km/h in 8.8 seconds should be enough for most people, but quick passing manoeuvres will require more thought and input. Thankfully, the eight-speed auto acts swiftly and earnestly.
A slender improvement on the pre-facelift, the Q2 remains an outstanding choice in this rather niche segment. That being said, the past year has seen the introduction of numerous competitors – the updated Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen T-Roc and Mazda CX-30 all spring to mind. While all talented, the aforementioned rivals (quirky Kona aside) fail to match the left-field, ’boutique’ appeal of the Q2. Even then, the Hyundai cannot match the brand cachet that accompanies the Audi badge. What’s more, the Q2 has the most premium-feeling cabin and a truly stellar ride quality. If you’re looking for a mid-sized crossover with a premium badge, then you should definitely consider the Q2.
Audi Q2 35 TFSI
Fuel consumption: 6.1L/100km (claimed)
Top speed: 213 km/h
Rivals: Volkswagen T-Roc 1.4 TSI, Mini Cooper Clubman
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