We’ve been waiting a long time for Audi to release a crossover. And this August, we’re going to get one. A couple of years ago, Audi let slip their intention to get into the crowded crossover space. But whether the company could deliver was met with a degree of scepticism. Many manufacturers have tried to go up against the Juke and have failed. Just look at what happened to both Renault and Citroen. Renault launched its Captur, but the reviews came back as mixed at best. One reviewer said that nobody who knows anything about cars would buy a Captur. And the Citroen Cactus too has suffered jibes about the way it looks and performs.
So what have Audi done? Well, for starters, they have probably been smart to keep the looks conservative. Viewing the car for the first time and one is struck by just how much it fits into the Audi range. This car isn’t a strange chimaera. It shares a platform quite readily with the rest of the Audi range. In fact, it doesn’t look all that different from the Audi A1.
What’s more, this minimal styling and impressive pedigree puts the Juke into sharp relief. Like the Juke, the cabin is spacious and refined. And, like the Juke, car servicing costs will be relatively small, since it is essentially an Audi A3 under the hood. The bottom line is that there is nothing offensive about this car. The ride is supple and smooth. The gear changing is what you’d expect from Audi. Even the boot capacity is pleasantly above average.
Compared to the Juke, the new Q2 is relatively powerful. The biggest engine you can get is a 2.0 litre four cylinder. This baby puts out around 190 bhp, which is just about ideal for a crossover. What’s more, the largest engine also offers the lowest running costs, which is, to my mind at least, a win-win.
What about driving? Many of the parts of the new Q2 are, in fact, shared with the VW Golf. Here Audi is sticking to the carmaker tradition of building crossovers on top of their hatchback platforms. As a result, the car has much of the punch and refinement of the Golf. But it can behave a bit predictable for some tastes. Audi has also paid significant attention to the car’s suspension. It doesn’t want to make yet another rolling SUV. Rather, it’s gone down the same route as the Mini Countryman. Thus, you’ll find the suspension reassuringly firm, and the body roll minimal.
But has Audi missed the point with this crossover? Crossovers have always been a vehicle genre with personality. But the new Q2 looks like it has forgotten its roots. It shares very little with the likes of the Cactus or the Juke in the styling department. Rather, it looks as if it is trying to forge its own path. This is a more grown-up take on the space that we haven’t seen from anyone, except Range Rover perhaps. And that is at once a disappointment and exactly what we might expect from Audi.