Funky and spunky

Audi Q2 1.0 TFSI By Kenny Yeo

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Audi Q2 1.0 TFSI.

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ENGINE 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder

POWER 116hp / 200nm of torque


PRICE $152,391 inclusive COE

Everywhere around the world, sales of SUVs are catching up, or in many cases, overtaking that of traditional passenger cars. Surveys say buyers of SUVs are attracted to the larger cabins, higher ride height, and greater perceived safety of said vehicles. As a result, automakers are adding more SUVs to their portfolio. Even brands like Bentley and Maserati, who have never made SUVs before, are introducing SUVs to their line-up - the former with the Bentayga and the latter with the Levante. For brands that already have SUVs in their portfolio, they are expanding their range to cater to a greater audience.

The Q2 is Audi’s response to the growing demand for SUVs around the world. When the car was first launched Audi marketed it as the “#untaggable” car, suggesting that it is a car that melds genres and defies categorization. Except that it is not. Make no mistake, the Q2 is Audi’s version of an affordably priced compact SUV. But just because it is affordably priced and compact doesn’t mean it is cheap and nasty.

The Q2 is actually quite the charmer. Looks are subjective and I’ll be the first to admit that the Q2 isn’t the sharpest looking compact SUV around, but at least it looks spunky and trendy - especially in the bright yellow that the test car came in. It might look small from the outside but it is actually quite spacious on the inside, with decent legroom for both front and rear passengers. The boot has a decent 405 liters of carrying capacity. With the rear seats folded, it grows to a cavernous 1050 liters - enough for multiple oversized luggage, a couple of golf bags, or perhaps two large dogs.

The interior is suitably hip too, which will appeal to the younger crowd. For example, the inlays around the dashboard and center console have configurable backlighting that looks very snazzy at night. The round air-con vents are very sporty too and remind me of the ones found in the TT sports car. And the Q2 even gets Audi’s awesome virtual cockpit, which eschews traditional analog speedometer and tachometer dials for a completely digital display.

However, the Q2 does lose out on some other niceties found in other more upmarket Audi cars. For example, the seats are non-electric, and electric folding mirrors are optional equipment. I won’t consider these deal breakers, but these costsavings moves do slightly dampen the experience of owning a car from a premium German marque.

Another major cost-saving move lies under the bonnet. In the past, the Q2 was only available with a 1.4-liter engine, now you can get it with a 1.0-liter engine. Don’t be fooled though, this 1.0-liter TFSI unit is pretty feisty. Maximum power output is 116hp, which easily rivals that of most 1.6-liter naturally aspirated units. Maximum torque is even more impressive because, at 200nm, it easily trumps that of most 2.0-liter naturally aspirated units.

In the real world, the 1.0-liter Q2 is fast enough. It feels urgent and sprightly from the get-go and the engine only loses steam as the car approaches about 80km/h by which point you’ll be nearing the national speed limit. My only complaint is the unrefined and lethargic nature of the motor’s start-stop function. In other Audi cars, the engine reawakens smoothly and quickly, but the Q2’s power unit is slow to do so and feels unwilling, sending the cabin into a rude judder whenever it has to restart itself.

But perhaps more importantly, this 1.0-liter has the potential to be really economical. I say potential because if you tend to get stuck in traffic often or if you have a heavy right foot like me, you won’t see much fuel savings. Overall, I managed a return of 15km/l over 270.8km of driving over a mix of expressways and streets, in both smooth and stop-start traffic, which is neither terrible nor fantastic. On the bright side, if you were sensible on the throttle and if you keep mostly to the expressways, you could get as much as 18km/l. Based on the Q2’s 50-liter fuel tank, that means you can get a range of about 900km - more than enough to get you to Kuala Lumpur and back.

The Q2 isn’t most affordable compact SUV around and there are certainly less pricey Audis to consider, but the 1.0-liter Q2 is compelling because of its blend of trendy styling and practicality. Besides, buying a car should be more than just spec sheets and dollars and cents. If we judge a car by the way it makes you feel, few cars exude as much spunk and funk as the groovy little Q2.

The 1.0-liter power plant is punchy and sprightly.
The 1.0-liter power plant is punchy and sprightly.
The Q2 features Audi’s futuristic all-digital Virtual
Cockpit display.
The Q2 features Audi’s futuristic all-digital Virtual Cockpit display.
The rear seats fold flat to increase boot space
from 405 to 1050 liters.
The rear seats fold flat to increase boot space from 405 to 1050 liters.

Trendy and practical, the Audi Q2 is a compelling compact SUV.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room