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Making its mark

The new Audi Q2 might be small but it makes a big statement.

There are no signs of the SUV popularity diminishing – from coupe variants and convertibles to high-performance racers and supermini-sized crossovers, the SUV market is close to a veritable peak.

Yet there is a subtle difference between these small crossovers coming to market. They fall into two camps: those offering improved family practicality with SUV styling to former hatchback buyers and those aimed at empty-nesters or singles who care more about posing than practicality.

The new Audi Q2 is perfectly placed to suit both the image-conscious crowd and the family practicality group. Admittedly our view was slightly biased by the fact that our test car not only looked good but also came packed with all the utility measures you can think of.

The German brand comes to the market with well-established credentials in the SUV segment – its Q range of cars occupies many a family garage. The question was whether Audi would be willing to take on the brave – yet tough – world of the smaller market. After all, premium superminis are slowly but surely catching the Maltese public’s appetite, as Audi can attest with its current A1.

Perfectly placed to suit both the image-conscious crowd and the family practicality group

Just like the A1, there’s a case to be made for well-heeled folks without family commitments downsizing their cars but still being able to retain most of the luxury touches from larger premium models.  In styling terms the Q2 doesn’t try to pretend to be a muscly SUV. It’s set lower and has neither the sleeker lines nor the bulbous roof of its rivals. In fact, it looks closer to a high-set A3.

The Q2’s engine range comprises a choice of petrol engines – a one-litre 115bhp or a 1.4-litre 150bhp.

The diesel however will probably remain the most popular option, offered in 1.6-litre 115bhp or two-litre with either 150bhp or 190bhp output.

All but the most powerful diesel are offered with either six-speed manual or else a seven-speed S-Tronic automatic.

Thanks to the Q2’s 360-degree visibility, ample head-, shoulder- and legspace, and an ergonomic driving position, the small SUV’s drive is great.

Gear change is very smooth and short, which gives the car a sporty feel. Luggage space is ample, which makes the Q2 ideal for family outings and overland trips.

The biggest surprise is that, for Audi crossovers, smaller is actually better when it comes to driving.

Even if the Q3 delivers much in terms of driver engagement, the shorter Q2 feels much more agile. Despite its higher stance, the little front-wheel-drive crossover copes well while the steering is really responsive.

The Q2 is clearly a premium package, yet an affordable one. With buyers increasingly befriending the crossover format, the Q2 has a real chance to make a mark on the market, including the local one.

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