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2021 Audi Q2 review: Cheap SUV impresses


Luxury brands are now selling more affordable machines as they try to entice new buyers who want a taste of the finer things.

Luxury brands are offering more and more accessible machines, and the new Audi Q2 is the cheapest of the German brand’s SUVs.

We find out what it is all about.

VALUE

This is Audi’s entry point to luxury SUV ownership. The brand has thrown its weight behind high-riding crossovers. There are six sizes, even more body styles and a broad range of petrol, diesel and electric options.

It all starts with the compact Q2 priced from about $49,000 drive-away.

The mid-grade Audi Q2 40 TFSI quattro tested here costs $50,600 plus on-roads (about $57,000 drive-away), adding a more powerful engine with all-wheel-drive to the mix.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, a powered tailgate, wireless phone charging and a remote-controlled infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Most customers will dip into the options list, choosing extras such as metallic paint ($1195) and a $2950 premium package adding a digital dash, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, heated seats, 10-speaker stereo and more.

While five-year warranties are the new standard for cars, Audi persists with a three-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee. A five-year service plan costs $2320.

COMFORT

Our test car had supportive heated sports seats and a sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles that contributed to impressive ergonomics. There’s a decent amount of room in the front, but back-seat space is tight and the boot is average for cars this size.

Audi’s decision to shun touchscreen functionality in favour of a spinning rotary controller frustrates at first, but soon becomes second nature. The customisable (but again, optional) “virtual cockpit” is a winner, allowing drivers to see exactly what they want on the digital dash, and dual-zone climate control helps passengers keep their cool.

SAFETY

The Q2 comes with Audi’s auto emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.

You have to pay extra for lane keeping assistance and active cruise control (part of the $2950 premium pack), which is disappointing as you’ll find them as standard kit on far less posh models ranging from the Toyota Corolla to Isuzu D-Max.

DRIVING

Here’s where the Q2 shines. While the standard model has a 1.5-litre, 110kW/250Nm engine, this sportier model is powered by the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo motor found in the VW Golf GTI, Audi TT sports car and Porsche Macan. Paired with a snappy seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, it’s a great engine with punchy responses and decent fuel economy.

Tuned to make 140kW and 320Nm, it dashes to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds thanks in part to quattro all-wheel-drive. It combines effortless power with impressive traction and a quick-witted gearbox. Quick steering and taut suspension makes it fun to hustle around town, though the ride can feel a little bumpy at times.

VERDICT 3.5/5

The Q2 is a good thing, but it’s a bit dear for our tastes, particularly when you need to pay more for modern essentials.

ALTERNATIVES

Volvo XC40, from about $53,000 drive-away

The smallest Swede is a cracker, from its too-cute styling to clever use of sustainable materials. There’s even an electric option with huge power.

BMW X2, from about $55,000 drive-away

Intended for folks who think traditional BMWs are a bit stuffy, the youth-focused X2 prioritises presentation over the brand’s usual poise.

VW T-Roc 140TSI, from about $47,000 drive-away

What is the Audi badge worth to you? The similar-sized, mechanically identical and better-equipped VW is $10,000 cheaper.

AUDI Q2 40 TFSI QUATTRO VITALS

Price: About $57,000 drive-away

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 140kW/320Nm

Warranty/servicing: 3-yr/u’ltd km, $2320 for 5 yrs

Safety: 6 airbags, auto emergency braking, forward collision alert, blind-spot warning

Thirst: 7.0L/100km

Cargo: 405 litres

Spare: Repair kit

Originally published as 2021 Audi Q2 review: Cheap SUV impresses



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