► Sharper lines and more equipment for 2020
► Stylish compact SUV rivals MINI Countryman, Merc GLA
► We drive petrol and diesel models
Audi’s good name would never stand for its smallest SUV being some flimsily-built Nissan Juke rival, so it’s to the brand’s credit that the Q2 has always had at least a few things going for it – a solid interior, plenty of style, driving dynamics almost uncompromised by the taller body.
That’s helped it become Audi’s best-selling SUV in the UK, and third best-selling model overall – with strong residuals making those all-important monthly figures very attractive, too.
Four years on, what isn’t broken hasn’t been fixed, and the Q2’s mid-life facelift is pretty incremental. There’s sharper styling and some tech borrowed from the rest of the Audi range, while new WLTP-friendly trim packs make for a simpler albeit less bespoke ordering process.
What’s actually new?
Put the old and new next to each other and you’ll see all that’s really happened is a refinement of the Q2’s styling features. The Audi family grille is now bigger and sharper, and it leads into headlights that are now full LED across the range.
Larger, pentagonal air intakes sit either side of the grille, and a new crease has been pressed into the side panel.
Other standard equipment now includes four-way electric lumbar support and a powered tailgate, as well as a 12.3-inch digital dial pack to pair with the 8.3-inch infotainment screen. Top models also benefit from Matrix LED headlights, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and Adaptive Cruise Assist – which takes care of accelerator, brakes and steering on the motorway for short periods.
Mechanically, though, there’s really nothing to yell about – any changes to the driving experience are brought about through tech.
What engines can I have?
Three choices, initially – a 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol with 109bhp and a manual gearbox, a 1.5-litre 148bhp 4cyl with manual or S tronic auto, and a 2.0-litre 4cyl diesel with 148bhp and S tronic as standard.
The 1.0-litre petrol is a willing little thing, nicely tractable at low revs with enough in the mid-range that you won’t need to entirely thrash it in overtaking manoeuvres. Okay, it’s not quick – 0-62 takes 11.2 seconds – but for the sort of undemanding use most compact SUVs get it’s more than enough.
It’s also a welcome opportunity to remind yourself what a nice, positive six-speed manual gearbox is – the Mercedes GLA is auto-only, while the BMW X2’s shift is a little stiff. That being said, Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch auto is excellent – almost as good as BMW’s eight-speed torque converter and miles better than the Volvo XC40’s auto.
The 148bhp diesel will rightly remain a slow seller. It’s fine, but gruff and noisy in comparison to the petrol. Only high-mileage drivers need apply, as they’ll be the only ones who’ll recuperate the additional purchase price through fuel economy.
The sweet spot is very likely to be a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol with auto gearbox. We’ve not driven that combination in the Q2 yet, but extensive experience with it in just about every other VW Group product means we won’t hesitate to recommend it. Audi promises up to 46.3mpg from this combo, with emissions as low as 138g/km. Other WLTP figures aren’t yet finalised.
Does it handle?
Like every other compact SUV. Even the sports suspension fitted to the diesels we tested wasn’t super-firm, and the end result is neutral and inoffensive, with just enough poise that it feels solid rather than wallowy in the corners.
It resists roll well and there’s plenty of grip, but there’s undoubtedly more fun to be found in a MINI Countryman or BMW X2. Quattro four-wheel drive is available on some models, but the majority of Q2s will be front-driven only.
Ride comfort is a plus, though our German test route wasn’t particularly challenging on that front. The few pockmarked surfaces we sought out were dealt with very well.
What’s it like inside?
The Q2 is one of Audi’s oldest models on the inside, and that’s a damn good thing. The 8.3-inch infotainment screen may now be touch-enabled, but the majority of the time you’ll be interacting with it through a centre console-mounted scroll wheel.
This is positioned just a touch too far back to be totally comfortable, but it’s a welcome reminder of how easy it used to be to interact with Audi’s infotainment while on the move. Though the scroll-wheel and separate climate controls look very old-fashioned next to the latest dual-screen Audi interiors, it’s vastly superior in terms of usability.
Progress has been made with standard digital dials, which are usefully configurable and easy to read, while material and build quality remains peerless in the compact SUV world. It actually feels nicer inside than Audi’s own, newer A3 Sportback.
The facelifted Audi Q2 doesn’t innovate, it just refines a formula that’s already proven very successful for the brand.
Predicted residual values are the best in this class, so the Q2’s likely to be a strong value prospect when taken on monthly payments. This same combination of style and value is really all a lot of buyers want, and the baby Audi ticks both boxes very firmly.
Keen drivers, look elsewhere, but ‘twas ever thus – there’s certainly nothing offensive about the way the Q2 drives, and with a comfortable ride and great interior it’s really quite a pleasant place to spend time. Opt for the 148bhp petrol to get the best out of this compact SUV.