What Car? says...
Having shown the world how successfully it could do medium and large SUVs, Audi decided to go small when it released the Q2 a few years ago. With its compact dimensions and a level of build quality worthy of that famous four-ringed badge, the Q2 arrived on the scene and immediately proved that small SUVs could be more than just a fashion statement.
And half a decade later, the Q2 is still punching above its weight. It might be the smallest member of a range of SUVs from the German brand that also includes the Q3, Q5, Q7 and Q8, but it’s also the best-selling – in fact, it’s Audi’s third best selling model overall, just behind the A1 and A3 hatchbacks.
One of the reasons the Q2 has remained popular is that Audi has treated it to a number of updates over the years. The most recent introduced LED headlights (with adaptive Matrix LED headlights optional) as standard across the range, a more aggressive grille, a sharper-looking bodykit and some extra standard kit (all Q2s now get rear parking sensors and cruise control, for example).
That democratisation of technology is rather important, because if there's one area that Audi's smallest SUV has always struggled against rivals it’s price; while the Q2 is roughly the same size as a Ford Puma or Volkswagen T-Roc, it costs a fair bit more than those cars to buy. Indeed, it's priced roughly in line with altogether larger alternatives, including the Seat Ateca.
Three engines are available in the regular Q2 and they all comply with the latest emissions standards, although there's also a hot model that you can read about in our separate Audi SQ2 review.
In this review, we'll be telling you how the Q2 stacks up against its closest rivals, which include the Puma, T-Roc and Mini Countryman. And if you’re already interested, check out the Audi Q2 deals we can offer through our New Car Buying service. You could save plenty on the brochure price without any haggling at all.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The entry-level 1.0-litre petrol (badged 30 TFSI) offers perfectly adequate acceleration, although it can struggle a bit in hilly areas – especially when the Q2 is fully loaded with people and bags.
The 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol (badged 35 TFSI) is noticeably punchier and, given the Q2's premium billing, we reckon it's worth the extra. This engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but you can pay extra to have a seven-speed auto (S tronic).
Those doing very high miles will find the diesel 35 TDI (also with 148bhp) a tempting proposition. It's not exactly quick (0-62mph takes 8.2sec), but it has lots of low-rev pull and comes with a seven-speed automatic 'box as standard.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Q2 has firmer suspension than many small SUVs, including the rival Volkswagen T-Roc and Peugeot 2008. The upshot? You're jostled around in your seat a little more, particularly along pockmarked urban roads.
Things never get overly firm or jarring, though, and the Q2 is actually quite smooth and composed at motorway speeds – although we would suggest steering clear of 19in alloy wheels (S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung trims) if comfort is important to you.
We’ve yet to try the adaptive set-up that allows you to stiffen and soften the suspension to suit your preferences, but it’s worth noting that it is only available exclusively on range-topping Vorsprung trim.
That relatively firm suspension we talked about earlier does a great job of propping up the Q2's body through corners; there's barely any more lean than in a conventional hatchback. There's also plenty of grip, so this is a car you can drive quickly along a country road with real confidence.
All versions come with Audi’s progressive steering. This means the steering gets quicker the more you turn the wheel, so fewer turns are required when parking and manoeuvring. This type of steering sometimes makes it tricky to judge how much you need to turn the wheel, but fortunately that isn't the case in the Q2 Mind you, the Ford Puma has more accurate steering and is even more fun to drive because of it.
Noise and vibration
The three-cylinder 30 TFSI petrol sounds a little thrummy when worked hard, but it's hardly boisterous and settles down nicely at a steady cruise. You can feel a little vibration through the controls, but not an excessive amount. The four-cylinder 35 TFSI is noticeably smoother, and while the diesel 35 TDI is, unsurprisingly, noisier than both of the petrols, it's still pretty subdued compared with diesel versions of the Renault Captur.
At motorway speeds, all versions of the Q2 cruise relatively quietly. Little wind noise enters the passenger compartment, so it’s a relaxing car to take on long journeys, although there is some road noise – particularly on models with larger alloy wheels. Overall, the T-Roc is a quieter alternative.
The six-speed manual gearbox is light and slick, and the clutch bites positively. Combined with the well-weighted brake pedal, this makes the Q2 an easy car to drive smoothly. However, the S tronic automatic gearbox can be a little jerky at very low speeds.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Whatever size and shape you are, it’s unlikely you’ll have a problem with the Q2’s driving position. The steering wheel has a good range of up-and-down (and in-and-out) movement, and every model has powered adjustable lumbar support as standard.
The seat, especially in Sport trim models and above, supports your thighs and shoulders nicely, helping you stay comfortable on a long journey.
And while the dashboard is essentially the same one used in the previous-generation Audi A3, that's no bad thing. It means the buttons and switches are clearly marked and positioned within easy reach, and you get 12.3in digital instrument dials (or a Virtual Cockpit in Audi speak) as standard from Sport trim upwards.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Even though the Q2 is a relatively small car, it still gives you a relatively high-up driving position that most SUV buyers seek. This means you're treated to a great view of the road ahead, aided by reasonably slim windscreen pillars.
The rearward view isn’t quite so good, because thick rear pillars obscure over-the-shoulder visibility. Rear parking sensors come as standard and help mitigate this problem, but you have to either pay extra or jump to range-topping Vorsprung trim if you want front parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
As we said at the start, all version come with powerful LED headlights, with adaptive Matrix versions (which can be left on mainbeam without dazzling other drivers) standard on Vorsprung trim and available as an option on S line and Black Edition models.
Sat nav and infotainment
The Q2 has one of the best infotainment systems of any small SUV. With its simple rotary controller between the front seats, and shortcut buttons by the gearlever, it’s far less distracting to use on the move than the touchscreen systems you’ll find in virtually every other Audi model.
All Q2s come with essentials such as a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB socket for charging your phone. Thanks to standard Apple Carplay and Android Auto, you can also 'mirror' some of your phone's apps – including Google Maps and Waze – to the 8.3in display in the middle of the dashboard. Stepping up to at least Sport trim also nets a built-in sat nav with online map updates (free for five years), Google Earth navigation, live traffic information, online media streaming and a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight mobile devices.
It is a shame, however, that you have to step up to range-topping Vorsprung trim if you want wireless phone charging and the fantastic 14-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system.
Audi has a fine track record of creating beautifully built interiors and the Q2 is another cracking effort. It puts most other small SUVs, including the Volkswagen T-Roc and Peugeot 2008, to shame for quality and is roughly on a par with the Mini Countryman.
The upper surfaces of the dashboard feel soft to the touch, while all the switches and buttons operate with a precise click; the rotary climate control buttons, for example, tick satisfyingly when you rotate them. You can also personalise your Q2 with a number of interior trim combinations.
If you go for range-topping Vorsprung trim (or pay extra), the interior ambience is lifted further by illuminated inlays, which glow in a choice of 10 different colours.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Even if you're a bit of a giant, front space shouldn’t be a problem; there’s plenty of head and leg room, and the interior isn't narrow enough to make you feel like you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with your front passenger.
In addition, there's a decent-sized glovebox and door bins that are large enough to hold a one-litre bottle of drink. There are a couple of cupholders in front of the gearlever, too.
The Q2 is a small SUV, so you probably aren't expecting limo-like leg room in the back. There's enough space for a couple of six-footers – broadly similar to what you'll get in a Peugeot 2008 or Volkswagen T-Roc – but the Mini Countryman trumps it comprehensively. It's also a much better choice if you regularly need to carry three people in the back.
Rear passengers each get a door bin that can swallow a small bottle of water, plus there's a folding centre armrest complete with two integrated cupholders.
Seat folding and flexibility
The Q2 comes with 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard, and the backrests are easy to drop using levers by each rear headrest. However, if you want to carry skis, or anything else long, with three people in the car you will either need to step up to Vorsprung trim for its 40:20:40 split rear bench, or consider a Mini Countryman or Volkswagen T-Roc.
Unlike in some rivals, such as the cheaper Volkswagen T-Cross, there’s no sliding rear seat option for the Q2.
The Q2’s boot is marginally bigger than the A3 Sportback’s and is usefully square in shape; there’s room for six carry-on-sized suitcases or a folded pram below the parcel shelf. That said, some small SUVs, including the Countryman, offer even more luggage space.
Quattro versions of the Q2 have a slightly smaller boot than front-wheel drive models; the floor is higher to accommodate the four-wheel drive gubbins underneath. Front-wheel drive cars also have a height-adjustable boot floor. With this in its highest position (and at all times on quattro versions), the floor is flush with the leading edge of the boot opening, so there’s no load lip. There's also an agreeably flat extended load deck when you fold down the rear seats.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
Although the Q2 is a little pricier than mainstream alternatives, including the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Roc, it's still a relatively sensible buy. That’s because its sharp looks and premium badge will have people queuing up to buy when you decide to sell on in the future – it’s predicted to hold its value better than both aforementioned rivals. Monthly PCP finance costs aren't as steep as you might expect, either.
CO2 emissions are nothing to write home about, though, so an equivalent Peugeot 2008 offers cheaper monthly benefit in kind (BIK) tax bills. And while all of the engines are relatively frugal, the 35 TDI diesel will get you the most miles to the gallon.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level Technik trim is reasonably well equipped, with highlights including 16in alloys, LED headlights, air-con and cruise control, as well as that 8.3in infotainment system with smartphone mirroring we talked about earlier.
We’d recommend taking the step up to Sport, though, because, for a reasonable premium, you get an upgrade to 17in wheels, digital instrument dials (Virtual Cockpit in Audi Speak), and some aluminium interior trim. Sport models look a bit smarter from the outside, too, thanks to wheelarches and sideskirts finished in ‘Manhattan grey’ paint.
S line trim and Black Edition trims add yet bigger wheels, sportier styling and LED rear lights, but they are rather pricey, while Vorsprung gives you a Q2 with virtually every option box ticked. You get 19in wheels, adaptive sport suspension, a panoramic roof, dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, leather seats and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.
The Q2 performed well in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing fourth in the small SUV class, ahead of the rival Mini Countryman and Volkswagen T-Roc.
It was one of the most dependable Audis, in fact; Audi finished a slightly disappointing 18th out of 30 in the brand table.
Safety and security
All models come with six airbags, a front passenger seat Isofix mounting point and two more of these in the rear, plus automatic emergency braking (AEB) to mitigate the risk of rear-ending the car in front around town, or indeed hitting a pedestrian.
You have to pay extra for blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert and all trims apart from Vorsprung, and going for Vorsprung is the only way to get lane-keeping assistance on your Q2.
The Q2 was awarded five stars (out of five) for safety by Euro NCAP with no major weaknesses identified, although this was back in 2016 at a time when testing standards were less stringent than they are today.
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The Audi Q2 is one of the most dependable small SUVs, finishing fourth in its class in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, with a 98.7% score. By comparison, the rival Mini Countryman and Volkswagen T-Roc were eighth and 10th respectively. Read more here
Audi doesn’t offer the Q2 as a hybrid or an electric car. However, under light engine loads, the turbocharged 1.5-litre unit in the 35 TFSI petrol model can shut down two of its four cylinders to save fuel. Read more here
While the Audi Q2’s entry-level 30 TFSI engine isn’t overly sluggish, the 35 TFSI is worth the extra because it offers a noticeable step up in performance and is more refined. Similarly, we think it’s worth spending the extra to upgrade from Technik to Sport trim, because that gets you slightly larger wheels, a bigger infotainment screen, digital instruments and fancier interior trim. Read more here
The S line trim has sportier exterior styling, LED rear lights and 18in rather than 17in alloy wheels. Together these things do make the car look more imposing but, objectively, the cheaper Sport trim makes more sense. Read more here
As one of the older models in Audi’s range, the Q2 has the brand’s previous-generation infotainment system. However, the good news is this is easier to use when you’re driving than its replacement, mainly because you operate it using physical controls rather than by pressing icons on a touchscreen. Read more here
The Q2’s boot has an official capacity of 405 litres, compared with the 380 litres that the closely related Audi A3 hatchback can swallow. This advantage is backed up in terms of real-world usability: we fitted seven carry-on suitcases into the boot of the Q2, but just five in the A3. Read more here
|RRP price range
|£29,090 - £49,655
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|MPG range across all versions
|33.6 - 48.7
|Available doors options
|3 years / 60000 miles
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£1,727 / £3,555
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£3,454 / £7,109