Audi is about to do a road trip around New Zealand in its new compact SUV, the Q2. It has borrowed a left-hand drive variant from Australia to show Kiwis what to expect when the right-hooker arrives early next year.
The dinky Q2 adds to the Audi family of SUVs, sitting below the small Q3, mid-size Q5, and large, seven-seat Q7. It is expected to come, initially at least, with just the one engine, a boosted TFSI 1.4-litre petrol unit delivering 110kW to the front wheels and mated to a seven-speed S Tronic transmission.
It uses cylinder on demand technology, which shuts down two of its four cylinders when cruising to save fuel. As a result, it is good for claimed fuel use of 5.4 litres/100km (52mpg) and CO2 emissions of 124gr/km. Audi claims a 0-100km/h time for the 1.4-litre of 8.5 seconds. A Quattro drivetrain is likely to slightly sharpen that time when it arrives later in production.
The four-cylinder engine is an option in all four Q2 models, specified as the SE, Sport, S-Line, and Edition No. 1. Other engines Audi has listed for the European market are a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol and four-cylinder 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesels.
Small or otherwise, SUVs are the fastest growing segment worldwide. In New Zealand this year, compacts accounted for 10,104 sales at the end of September. Medium-size models totaled 14,970 for the same nine-month period, larger ones were at 12,303. Of the 107,122 registrations to last month, 37,861 (35 per cent) were SUVs.
Ten of the top 15 new passenger cars so far this year are SUVs. The only ‘cars’ in the mix are the Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Swift, Holden Commodore, and Toyota Yaris. Eleven of the 15 best-selling vehicles are either SUVs or utes.
The compact SUV is littered with competitors, the best of which is arguably the Mazda CX-3. Audi’s Q2 is the first such challenger out of Germany. Mercedes-Benz and BMW don’t have an SUV as small, not yet anyway.
Q2 is 200mm shorter than the Q3 but a touch bigger than the Nissan Juke. It is based on the MQB platform that supports everything from the Audi TT to the A3 sedan and sportback and shares its engines and much of its technology with those models.
The base-model SE gets 16-inch alloys; Sport rides on 17-inch and gets body-coloured bumpers and the standout silver C-pillar. Top spec S-Line comes with 18-inch alloys, LED front and rear lights. S-Line also gets an interior LED lighting package that bathes the cabin in gentle light and illuminates various trim elements.
Boot space is at 405 litres, rising to 1050 litres with the rear seats folded down. That’s more room than the A3 and only 15 litres shy of the Q3. Audi’s pre sense safety kit is standard, which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking.
Other options include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings and lane keep assistance, plus traffic sign recognition and alerts if there’s traffic coming when you’re reversing.