Q & A SES­SION

For those seek­ing a prac­ti­cal lit­tle wagon, Audi’s com­pact crossover is the high­rise hatch an­swer

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - ROAD TEST -

HMMM. This could be tricky. One of the bosses is look­ing for a new car and asks about the Audi Q2.

He’s af­ter com­pact SUV him­self, golf clubs a moun­tain bike. He has al­ready de­cided the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5 are great cars but too big. I think they could be just right for him but there is some­thing else — to hon­est, they’re not his style.

So the Q2 fits the bill. I’m won­der­ing what point him to­wards for a driv­ing com­par­i­son.

The Mini Coun­try­man is ob­vi­ous, though not his style. Benz’s GLA is an­other pos­si­bil­ity but, he says, the tail too cramped for bike and it’s thou­sands more starters.

The likes of Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V odd-look­ing new Toy­ota C-HR don’t have the right badge for a boss.

Q2 also makes things dif­fi­cult be­cause it’s very small and, de­spite Audi em­pha­sis­ing its SUV cre­den­tials, as much of an I am a moun­tain climber.

It’s far more of crossover, rid­ing (a lit­tle) higher but with semi-wagon body and only front-wheel drive on the starter car with 1.4-litre turbo.

There is a 2.0-litre turbo diesel all-wheel but that’s still not rock crawler. The Q2 more like jacked-up A3 hatch than one of Audi’s more-se­ri­ous SUVs, from the Q3 up to the Q7.

price is solid $41,100 but it’s easy go a lot higher with var­i­ous op­tion pack­ages.

The test car, although it starts as a ba­sic 1.4 TFSI S Tronic, comes in at $44,000

the ad­di­tion of 17-inch al­loys, 40-20-40 split­fold­ing rear seat, As­sis­tance pack­age — adap­tive cruise con­trol, ac­tive lane as­sist and more the in­te­rior light­ing pack­age that brings (truly) il­lu­mi­nated van­ity mir­rors and read­ing lights for all pas­sen­ger places. As go, most other brands add those as stan­dard equip­ment.

But the Q2 is a real looker and there are claimed five mil­lion colour-and-trim com­bi­na­tions, in­clud­ing the bright yel­low favoured by boss if he can get blacked-out wheels from costlier turbo diesel car that starts $47,900.

ON THE ROAD

As the Q2 is rolling out of the garage comes news that it’s gained five-star ANCAP tar­get. That’s no sur­prise for Audi, lat­est Q5 hav­ing achieved same safety rank­ing at the time — de­liv­er­ing what’s ex­pected Ger­man brand. But I’m a bit un­der­whelmed with cabin on Q2 for the test drive. The chromed trim rings around the air vents, a long-time Audi sig­na­ture, are miss­ing and there is lots of drab hard plas­tic. It’s soft when it’s close to driver but not so good it’s out sight.

The seats comfy the dash­board is clear, as is Audi’s cus­tom, with Ap­ple Carplay con­nec­tiv­ity but miss­ing dig­i­tal cock­pit dis­play that I’ve come to re­ally love in other Audis be­cause it puts more in­for­ma­tion di­rectly ahead of the driver.

On driv­ing front, the Q2 gets along well and I re­ally like

cylinder de­ac­ti­va­tion that cuts spark to two plugs in lowde­mand run­ning.

It’s seam­less, ef­fec­tive con­trib­utes claimed econ­omy of 5.3L/100km that I can eas­ily beat free­way and open coun­try driv­ing.

The car is a bit slug­gish from the lights, so typ­i­cal Volk­swa­gen Group cars with dual-clutch gear­boxes (although Audi calls its ver­sion S Tronic) — but oth­er­wise is keen to please on up­shifts and with plenty of punch if you take man­ual con­trol the baby turbo’s trans­mis­sion.

The ride, though, noisy floppy. Q2 sits higher and, de­spite a wide track, bounces through bumpy cor­ners in a way I have def­i­nitely not found GLA or Coun­try­man.

There is also plenty of road noise from the run-flat tyres on coarse bi­tu­men.

But, to be hon­est, most Q2 buy­ers are not choos­ing it as an SUV or sporty hatch. And drives just fine for them.

Not so good is the cramped ac­cess through rear doors and, if you slide front seats for com­fort­able legroom, pinched foot space in rear.

But Audi says there 405 L of boot and the back fold flat, with ex­cel­lent flex­i­bil­ity the op­tional 4020-40 fold­ing pack­age.

VER­DICT

The boss says yes to the Q2 but there’s more. is right an­swer for mil­len­ni­als (and young at heart) who want a prac­ti­cal, classy, good-look­ing crossover and not just an­other hulk­ing SUV.

It’s cheap when you get it the way want, though the value is rea­son­able. To com­pen­sate, it has im­pres­sive safety and a badge that works for pres­tige buy­ers.

DEALER: Audi Cen­tre Geelong PHONE: 5221 3488 WEB: au­di­cen­tregee­long.com.au

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