Audi is adding a brand new crossover to its Q line-up in the form of its smallest SUV yet – the Q2.

It’s been designed to stand out as the small, funky, youthful offering with distinctive looks, vibrant colours and plenty of customisation options.

Away from the car’s distinct character, it’s still a premium vehicle, with a quality matching other cars in the Audi range – the carmaker is pitching the SUV as a more expensive, but worthwhile alternative to the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke.

It’ll be available with a selection of petrol and diesel engines ranging from a tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol to a hot SQ2 model expected to use a powerful turbocharged engine producing around 300bhp. Most will be front-wheel drive, but Audi will offer Quattro all-wheel drive systems on some of the more expensive models.

Order books are now open, with first deliveries commencing later this year. Here’s what you need to know about the new small Audi.

Design

Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 stands out in Audi’s range, with bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to the company’s other SUVs.

The small frame has been made to look as hunched and sporty as possible, with a high shoulder line in tandem with a roof that slopes down towards the rear, pinching the back end. Placed onto this are several new lines and design cues, such as the cut-out running down the top of the doors, the squarer, wider-looking profile around the back and a slightly different face.

Rugged-looking cladding and skid plates also make the cut and they can be colour coded with the car’s body.

There are also those huge, thick C-pillars towards the rear. Audi calls them “blades” and, like many aspects of the Q2, they can be customised. Other options include 12 exterior colours, a choice of alloy wheels, ranging from 16ins to 19ins (40cms to 48cms), and a two-tone contrasting roof.

Overall, the car is 59.4ins (1.5m) tall and 70.5ins (1.8m) wide, with a length of 165ins (4.2m), so it’s length is roughly 4.7ins (12cms) shorter in terms of length than the A3 and 3.9ins (10cms) smaller in height than the Q3.

The interior is similar to the Audi A3, making use of the horizontal design theme that runs across many of the marque’s newer models. The Q2’s cabin has the potential to be much more vibrant, though, with buyers having a choice of colourful materials and metals.

The materials are high quality: soft-to-the-touch plastics, leathers on some cars and brushed aluminium trim elements ready to spec – all crafted into a smart-looking package.

As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through a rotary dial and buttons placed near the gear lever, which What Car? says are brilliant shortcuts that make it “a doddle to skim through menus”. The screen is used as an interface for the car’s settings, radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto through Bluetooth or USB, while cars in Sport trim up will get sat nav added.

Optional extras include a Bang & Olufsen sound system, but one of the best additions to pluck for is Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – a large, second infotainment screen, measuring 12.3ins and replacing the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. It’s controlled via buttons on the steering wheel.

Space and practicality

Passenger space in the rear is good, according to CarWow. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7ins shorter than the A3 hatchback, but there’s decent space and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same capacity. The rear pew folds flat, however, to increase carrying capacity to 1,050 litres.

With its wide opening doors and high roofline, the Q2 is more comfortable and spacious than its rivals the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, says CarBuyer. Tall people sitting in the back will find their knees brushing the front seats, however, but long journeys shouldn’t be a problem.

There’s also plenty of storage bins around the cabin. The cubby holes in the doors are reasonably sized, as is the glovebox, and there’s a little slot in the centre console for the key. The site adds that the driving position is comfortable, with plenty of adjustability.

If you configure your Q2 now, the only diesel option is a 1.6-litre TDI with a 114bhp manual gearbox – an automatic option will be available soon, though. Alongside the new gearbox choice, a more powerful 2.0-litre diesel will appear, with 148bhp. An automatic gearbox will be standard on this engine.

Petrol engines

Similarly, the petrol options are limited right now, but will increase by the end of the year when first deliveries take place. At the moment, a 1.4-litre with 148bhp is the only option you can choose on the configurator, though soon it will be joined by an entry level 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo with 114bhp. By the start of next year, a 2.0-litre turbo with 187bhp and an S-Tronic automatic gearbox will go on sale.

Quattro all-wheel-drive

Front wheel drive versions of the Q2 are likely to dominate sales and be the most popular choices, though all-wheel-drive will be available of you need it. Right now, an all-wheel-drive system can be found on the 2.0-litre TDI, though next year’s 2.0-litre TFSI petrol will get the drivetrain too.

CO2 and efficiency

Audi has yet to release full CO2 and MPG ratings for the upcoming Q2, but the engines it uses can be found in a number of the firm’s other cars. These offer a glimpse of what buyers can expect efficiency wise when full details are revealed later this year and the order book for the small crossover opens.

CarBuyer gives a helpful account of what buyers can expect. The tiny 1.0-litre TFSI three cylinder returns 62.3mpg when fitted to Audi’s A3 hatchback, with CO2 figures of 104g/km. Expect it to be slightly less efficient in the Q2 owing to the car’s shape, with MPG figures dipping under 60mpg on a combined run. This could push the CO2 emissions over the 110g/km threshold at an annual Vehicle Excise Duty of £30.

As for the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol, it makes use of cylinder deactivation technology – shutting down two of the engine’s cylinders when the engine is under-stressed and they aren’t needed as a way of saving fuel. This engine comes in Audi’s smallest hatchback, the A1, and it delivers 58.9mpg. It’s also available in the larger Q3 crossover – the car destined to sit right above the Q2 in the range – returning 51.4mpg. As such, expect MPG to be in the mid 50’s.

The tax bill could be £110 a year though – the added size and weight of the Q3 means that it produces 127g/km compared to the same engine in the A1. In the Q2, it could easily be over the 120g/km threshold.

Diesel engines will be the most popular choices on the Q2, and CarBuyer says that both the 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDIs should produce between 65-75mpg officially, with lower CO2 figures, for tiny tax bills.

Trim levels

The entry level Q2s will come in SE trim, with 16ins alloy wheels as standard, as well as grey blade C-pillars, a seven-inch infotainment screen and Audi’s pre-sense city braking and collision avoidance system. Those bumping their orders up to Q2 Sport trim will get 17ins wheels as standard, as well as sports seats and ice-silver detailing on their blade panel.

At launch, Q2 S-Line will make for the range-topping cars. These will get 18ins wheels, with 19ins alloys available to spec. The blade C-pillar changes colour, this time to a titanium shade, and LED headlights come as a part of the package. Buyers can spec or remove the firmer sports suspension setup and partial leather interior. Audi’s progressive steering will come as standard on all versions.

Prices and release

The order books are open and customers will get hold of their Q2s this November.

Prices start from £20,230 for the 1.0-litre TFSI in SE trim level. However, you’ll have to wait a little longer for the entry-level car to go on sale, alongside the 2.0-litre TDI, which will be priced from £26,930 in Sport trim.

The first two engines on offer make up the car’s mid-range. The 1.4-litre TFSI with 148bhp will go on sale from £22,380 in SE trim, with the less powerful 1.6-litre TDI priced at £100 more. These are the only two cars where you’ll be offered a choice when it comes to gearboxes. Equipping the seven-speed S-Tronic box is a £1,550 premium. Entry level 1.0-litre cars are six-speed manual only, while the 2.0-litre TDI comes with the S-Tronic box as standard.

Opting for Sport trim over the standard SE spec level on the 1.0-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre is also a £1,550 premium and top trim S-Line cars with an exclusive body kit, 18ins alloys, LED lighting and partial leather interior command £2,250 over the price you’ll pay for an equivalent Sport car.

The range tops out at £30,610 for the 2.0-litre TDI in S-Line trim, with Quattro all-wheel drive specced, although there will be a more expensive, limited edition model on sale in September.

Called the Q2 Edition #1, it will come with exclusive trims, paints, alloys, and contrasting stitching on the seats and start at £31,170.

Reviews

Auto Express says that Audi’s new crossover has been worth the wait. The price tag may be high compared to rivals in the small crossover class, but if you’re willing to part with a little more cash, you get genuine big car spoils and quality, wrapped up in a stylish design.

The car’s interior is one of its trump cards. It’s similar to the quality cabins you’ll find on other small Audis, but the Q2’s colourful dashboard inserts and youthful extras “lift what would otherwise be a pretty conservative design”.

What Car? Certainly thinks Audi’s new baby is up to scratch and gives the Q2 four stars out of five.

The magazine says the car company has built a “desirable and fine-driving small SUV with a stunning interior” and that it is sure to entice buyers looking for quality above all else.

While the funky, youthful exterior may not appeal to all, the Q2’s cabin is brilliant, it adds. You’d expect no less in an Audi, as its interiors have gained a reputation for faultless build quality and premium, well-crafted materials. There’s not much on the market that can rival it, says the magazine.

The Virtual Cockpit display is also recommended as being worth the extra cash.

The magazine recommends the 1.6 TDI and says the driving experience is also fun, as the car takes corners with plenty of grip and traction. What Car? also found that with the progressive steering system, the Q2 is an easy car to manoeuvre at slow speeds.

The ride quality – and expensive price tag – are the only things stopping the new Audi from getting a five out of five rating, it says, adding that the Q2’s standard suspension setup is a little firm and it’s easily the most expensive car in its class.

[ssorce;the week]