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Used test: Audi Q2 vs DS 4 Crossback vs Seat Ateca
You can save £7000 by buying one of these three compelling SUVs used rather than new, but which one stands above the others as the best choice? We have answer...
Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport
List price when new £23,930
Price today £16,500*
Available from 2016-present
This rather compact premium-badged SUV is compelling on paper, but how does it fair in the real world?
DS 4 Crossback 1.2 Puretech 130
List price when new £22,295
Price today £9,500*
Available from 2015-2018
The SUV-style DS 4 Crossback is considerably cheaper than the Q2, and it comes with more equipment.
Seat Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 Xcellence
List price when new £23,905
Price today £14,000*
Available from 2015-2018
It does without a premium badge, but the Seat Ateca is a plush and well-equipped SUV.
*Price today is based on a 2016 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
In the world of used SUVs, there are so many options that it can sometimes feel as if the right car is like a needle in a haystack. Finding it can be a difficult task, though not an impossible one.
If you narrow your search to more compact, premium-badged entries, you're bound to come across one of our favourite small SUVs, the Audi Q2. It has a classy interior and tidy handling, not to mention punchy yet fuel efficient engine choices.
All that comes at a price, though, and it's one that's undercut by rivals including the DS 4 Crossback and Seat Ateca. These two competitors from the family SUV class have a lot to offer too, so we're going to pit all three against each other to see what's what.
Our test cars all feature four-cylinder petrol engines, manual gearboxes and substantial savings off what they cost from new. Which will come out on top? Read on to find out...
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
The Q2 and Ateca’s turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engines produce an identical 148bhp, are able to shut off two cylinders at a cruise to save fuel, and deploy maximum power and torque at identical revs. However, the Ateca weighs around 100kg more than the Q2, so it’s left behind when accelerating through its gears and it’s slower to gain speed from low revs in higher gears. With only 128bhp to call on, the DS is the last to cross the line in any situation, although its short gearing prevents it from ever feeling too sluggish.
The DS’s engine also protests the loudest when pushed, sending noticeable vibration back through the steering wheel and pedals, and emitting a gravelly growl in the process. The 1.4-litre units in the Q2 and Ateca are far smoother, staying vibration-free no matter the revs and only sounding strained when they're pushed hard.
It’s no surprise that these high-riding SUVs don’t handle quite as sharply as traditional family hatchbacks, but the Q2 is certainly one of the most agile of its type. It changes direction with far greater urgency than its rivals, and it grips harder too, even though its quick steering doesn’t provide a great deal of feedback.
That’s not to say the Seat is disappointing. Its body leans more than the Q2’s, but it still changes direction sharply enough and hangs on well. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the DS 4. Its slow, slack controls and rolling body make twists and turns a thoroughly disagreeable experience.
The reason for the difference in handling ability has much to do with these cars’ suspension set-ups. The Audi is the lowest-riding car and has the firmest suspension, which makes for a slightly bumpy ride. Although you’re never uncomfortable, the Q2 does pick up on road scars and ruts more readily than the Ateca and DS 4. Our Ateca was fitted with larger-than-standard 19in alloy wheels, but its slightly softer suspension better protects those inside over the same abrasions without proving too floaty over undulations.
It should translate, then, that the softest car here, the DS 4, proves most comfortable, but sadly that's not the case. It feel too wallowy along rolling country roads, and sharp ridges send noisy shudders through its body. You’re also forced to put up with more road and wind noise driving the DS 4 at speed than you are in the Audi Q2 or Ateca. The Seat Ateca is fractionally the quietest cruiser.
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