No ex­pense spared

Audi’s mini-SUV has all the bells and whis­tles but they come at a price

Mercury (Hobart) - Cars Guide - - PRESTIGE - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

PINT-SIZED SUVs hit a new high wa­ter­mark this week.

The box-shaped Audi Q2 may be tiny to cope with the ur­ban jun­gle, but it comes with a price so high it could cause alti­tude sick­ness.

Start­ing north of $41,000 plus on-roads for a petrol ver­sion or $47,000 for a diesel, the first lux­ury city-sized SUV costs al­most dou­ble that of the sim­i­larly sized Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and up­com­ing Toy­ota C-HR.

But Audi says the SUV mar­ket is so strong an or­derly queue had formed be­fore the Q2 ar­rived in lo­cal show­rooms.

More than 700 buy­ers have signed on the dot­ted line without even tak­ing one for a test drive. With only 200 ex­am­ples ar­riv­ing each month, if you or­der one to­day it will take up to four months to put a Q2 in your drive­way. So, what’s the fuss all about? It’s the same suc­cess­ful SUV for­mula fa­mil­iar to reg­u­lar read­ers: a tall driv­ing po­si­tion in an eco­nom­i­cal com­pact hatch that’s a cinch to park and has the flex­i­bil­ity to carry big things.

But we’ve not seen an SUV this small (it’s shorter than a Toy­ota Corolla hatch) with this much pol­ish be­fore, hence the price.

For now there are just two mod­els: one petrol front-wheeldrive ($41,100) and one diesel all-wheel-drive ($47,900).

Both are rea­son­ably well equipped out of the box, com­ing stan­dard with au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing (ac­tive up to 65km/h), seven airbags, dual zone air­con, rear view cam­era, front and rear sen­sors, built-in nav­i­ga­tion, Ap­ple Car Play and An­droid Auto, auto head­lights and rain sens­ing wipers.

That said, there are a few ba­sic items miss­ing on the cheap­est vari­ant: no rear air vents, no power socket to the rear seats and no map pock­ets.

The op­tions list is also rather lengthy and has a lot of dol­lar signs on it.

Radar cruise con­trol with traf­fic jam as­sis­tance (it will inch for­ward, ac­cel­er­ate, brake and steer to take the stress out of the daily grind), and lane keep­ing as­sis­tance are avail­able in a $1600 pack­age. Fancy LED head­lights and tail-lights are $2100.

The awe­some dig­i­tal widescreen in­stru­ment dis­play that de­buted on Audi’s R8 su­per­car can be added with nav­i­ga­tion and a sport steer­ing wheel with “tap shift” pad­dles in a $2500 pack.

If you want to up­grade from the stan­dard 17-inch al­loys to the fancy 19-inch op­tions that’ll cost $2100.

A sun­roof is a steep $1950, an arm­rest for the cen­tre back seat is $450 and metal­lic paint is an eye-wa­ter­ing $1150 even though there is not much of the Q2 to cover.

Pos­si­bly the most rea­son­ably priced op­tion is the premium 10-speaker au­dio at $500.

Without much ef­fort it’s easy to push the price of a Q2 be­yond the Lux­ury Car Tax thresh­old of $63,184. The dear­est ex­am­ple we tested was $63,940 be­fore on-road costs.

ON THE ROAD

The Q2 drives much like a high­rid­ing hatch­back.

It feels se­cure whether you’re on a sweep­ing moun­tain bend or a tight shop­ping cen­tre round­about.

Only when rushed can you feel the car start to lean on its lanky sus­pen­sion.

In most cases, though, it’s su­perbly com­posed.

It was com­fort­able over bumps on both the stan­dard 17inch tyres and op­tional 19-inch rub­ber (al­though the 19s were nois­ier on free­ways and coarse sur­faces).

Audi has matched the 1.4litre turbo petrol with a sev­en­speed dual-clutch auto and front-drive only, while the 2.0litre turbo diesel is ex­clu­sively all wheel-drive.

Based on an ex­ten­sive pre­view drive this week, we reckon the petrol ver­sion is all most buy­ers will need.

It has enough oomph for the daily grind or a week­end get­away, and is also a quiet and smooth op­er­a­tor.

Power is avail­able across the rev range (un­like the diesel which has a slight de­lay from low revs).

Vis­i­bil­ity all around is good thanks to the large glass area and wide-view side mir­rors.

The cen­tre con­sole is a touch small but the glove­box is mas­sive and the doors have deep stor­age pock­ets.

Back seat space is OK if the driver and front pas­sen­ger are av­er­age height and don’t need to push the seat back too far.

The boot is de­ceiv­ingly mas­sive, with a deep stor­age area that hides a space saver spare. Help­fully, there is a re­cess for a full-size spare should you get a flat. You can also op­tion a full size spare ex-fac­tory.

VER­DICT

The Audi Q2 is an ex­tremely com­pe­tent car and raises the lux­ury bar in the tiny-tot SUV seg­ment — but the price could give buy­ers an ice-cream headache. It’s a lot of money per-me­tre.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.