Audi Q2 long-term test

Earlier this year we named the Audi Q2 as the small SUV with the best interior – so can it be a suitable replacement for someone looking to downsize and save money?...

Audi Q2 2023 long-termer with Darren

The car Audi Q2 35 TFSI S line S tronic Run by Darren Moss, deputy digital editor

Why it’s here To prove that small SUVs can still offer the kind of comfort and luxury you’d expect from a larger, more expensive car

Needs to be comfortable for commuting, practical for longer trips, economical, and able to function as a mobile office

Mileage 1744 List price £33,915 Target Price £32,350 Price as tested £35,635 Test economy 41.4mpg Official economy 45.6mpg Dealer price now £29,571 Private price now £26,286 Running costs (excluding depreciation) Fuel £295.50

12 November 2023 – Experiment's end

In the film Downsizing, Matt Damon’s character finds that by shrinking himself down to a smaller size, he is able to live more sustainably without compromising on the home comforts he’s become used to.

I embarked on a similar experiment with my Audi Q2 – when I started running it, I’d just come out of a Range Rover luxury SUV, and while I wanted to reduce the stress of trying to park on increasingly crowded streets, as well as my running costs, I wanted to keep the luxury I’d enjoyed with the larger car. So, have I managed to have my cake and eat it, too?

Well, the Q2 is certainly luxurious. The mixture of cloth and leather surfaces inside my car felt premium to touch, and although there were some rougher plastics lower down around the door cards and seats, you had to go hunting for them. I also liked the selectable ambient lighting which lit up areas of the dashboard – it made my car feel a bit like a nightclub in the dark, and impressed my passengers.

Darren squeezing long-term Audi Q2

I also liked the sturdy, clickable nature of the Q2’s switchgear. With so many functions in modern cars being consigned to touchscreens – and sometimes hidden behind layers of menus – I enjoyed being able to change the Q2’s temperature or quickly enter a new destination into the sat-nav using a physical controller. 

Elsewhere, I liked the support of the driver’s seat, which kept me comfortable on longer trips, and with cold weather settling in, I was grateful for my car’s heated front seats on my morning commutes.

My passengers liked the Q2, too, having plenty of room to stretch out in both the front and rear seats, and space for all of our luggage in the boot. The rival Mini Countryman has even more storage space, but the Q2 was perfect for my needs, and I appreciated that loading my luggage was made easy thanks to the height-adjustable boot floor, which eliminated any lip at the boot entrance.

Darren with friends in Audi Q2

The peppy 1.5-litre petrol engine in my car was a big hit in city traffic, helping me to make the most of any gaps for overtaking, or to make a quick getaway from traffic lights. I sometimes wished my car’s seven-speed automatic gearbox was quicker off the mark in such situations – and unlike in some larger cars, I couldn’t easily do this myself using wheel-mounted paddles – but the upside was that in busy stop-start traffic, the car did most of the hard work for me. I quickly became best friends with the ‘auto hold’ button, for example, which stops the car rolling away when I’ve come to a halt without having to shift from drive to neutral.

Things are rarely perfect, of course, and there were some niggles with the Q2 during my tenure with it. Its ride, for example, is firmer than many rival small SUVs, and while the car always felt composed on the motorway, I certainly felt more of the potholes and bumps which pock-mark my local roads than I’d become used to in the air-sprung Range Rover. And while Audi’s MMI infotainment system was functional, it’s beginning to lag behind newer rivals when it comes to visual wow-factor.

Darren using Audi Q2 infotainment controller

These small gripes aside, however, I think my downsizing experiment was a huge success. I kept much of the luxury and comfort I wanted, but without the hulking footprint – or running costs – of a larger car. There were a few instances when I missed the lorry-like driving position of the Range Rover, or the sheer space it offered inside, but when you consider that the latter was 244% more expensive than my Audi, I know which one my bank manager would rather I ran.

I may not be ready to physically shrink down like Matt Damon in search of lower costs, then, but I’ve shown that it’s possible to drive small and live large.

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