Thursday, 21 March 2019

Size-wise, SUVs are tailored to fit

Size-wise, SUVs are tailored to fit

CAR manufacture is all about size these days — with carmakers producing “family” ranges of cars with all the skill and precision of military manoeuvres.

So if you are a motorist that wants a small SUV (sport utility vehicle), the so-called “compact” SUV (at the start of the range) is probably just the one for you.

But if that car is too small, there are now in just about every carmaker’s portfolio both medium and large SUVs to suit all tastes.

Audi’s Q2, the first compact SUV from the German carmaker, is a case in point. Once you have decided on size, this Q2 can satisfactorily fulfil all the requirements you might have for an SUV on a smaller scale.

You see, I am already developing a sense of what SUV would suit me if I was buying one, and I am sure individual motorists would have the same sense of personal taste.

But remember, once you have decided on the size, there is everything to play for in the choice of what you want in the car — that is, engine, interior, equipment and colour.

Potential buyers can customise the Audi Q2 to be exactly the way they want it. Actually, you can choose from 12 exterior colours — including, for the more extrovert among you, “vibrant shades like Coral orange that give a striking look on the road”.

Of course, any Audi these days comes with a huge range of high-tech driving aids and infotainment connectivity.

Again, the key to this if you are buying is to go online on the carmaker’s website and research and “construct” the exact car that suits you.

Here is what you can get with the Q2. Something called progressive steering is standard. This adapts to the driving situation, including reducing steering work while parking, yet maintaining directional stability and precision at high speeds.

You can also adjust the suspension set-up for a sportier or more comfortable drive.

Audi’s famous quattro all-wheel drive is optional (I really liked this on the test car) and provides better grip in all conditions.

What’s the advantage of the quattro option? It analyses your grip — automatically distributing power between all four wheels to where it’s needed most.

Add the seven-speed S tronic transmission — again, a great asset on the test car — which made gear changes smooth, swift and automatic.

Options include LED interior lighting packages, one of which comes with illuminated inlays that light up in a choice of colours. There is up to 405 litres of luggage space. This is an ideal vehicle for touring.

LED lights come as standard on S line and Edition #1 trims, or as an option on SE and Sport. These lights emit light that’s similar to daylight, resulting in more natural illumination that Audi says “puts minimal strain on your eyes”. Energy consumption is lower, as LEDs use a fraction of the power of conventional halogen bulbs. LEDs also last longer than standard lights.

And there is a choice of 10 different lighting colours to change the ambience inside the Q2.

The Audi Smartphone Interface — standard on the Q2 — allows you to use your smartphone applications safely while driving.

This includes satellite navigation, music streaming, and any contacts list you may have. You can play music stored on your phone as you drive, controlling it intuitively through the interface.

The driver can access apps, approved for in-car use by Android and Apple, from the MMI controls on the Q2’s centre console, from the multi-function steering wheel, Audi Voice Control, or even via your smartphone’s assistant, like Siri.

You simply connect your compatible smartphone via USB and approved apps appear in full colour on the central MMI screen.

Available as an option, Audi Virtual Cockpit replaces the traditional dashboard with a high-resolution 12.3in LCD screen that you can customise by pressing the “view” button on the multi-function steering wheel.

Choose the classic view, with prominent speedometer and rev counter, or the infotainment view, which brings functions such as the navigation map or media to the fore — with crisp 3D graphics and highly detailed effects.

Audi says this is “the embodiment of Vorsprung durch Technik” and you would have a job arguing against that summation.

The high-tech touch goes on: there is also Audi Pre-sense Front with pedestrian recognition system that uses radar sensors to detect vehicles and pedestrians in front. If an imminent collision is detected, the system warns the driver.

There is also park assist. This techie touch actually searches for suitable parking spaces along the road by means of ultrasonic sensors, calculates the ideal parking path and performs the steering action virtually automatically.

I like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop&Go and traffic jam assist because it makes driving so easy. This has automatic distance regulation, using radar sensors to maintain the required distance between the Q2 and vehicles ahead by braking and accelerating. It will be a great day indeed when all cars are equipped with ACC as standard.

Another favourite of mine, the head-up display, projects warning messages or driving-related information from assistance systems and navigation system (if ordered) in full colour on to the screen in the driver’s direct field of vision, giving faster access to information.

The compact SUV roadshow goes on. Audi presented the SQ2 for the first time during the recent 2018 Paris Motor Show.

The new top model in the Q2 family has engine output of 300PS channelled through S sports suspension and quattro all-wheel-drive that enables zero to 62mph acceleration in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.

So not only can you get an SUV in a size that suits you, you can also get one with blistering performance to boot.

Factfile

Audi Q2 2.0 TDI quattro 150PS S line S tronic

Total cost for test model: £39,910

Colour: Ara blue, crystal effect (£775)

Interior: front sport seats in black leather, Alcantara with black leatherette stripes and Rock grey contrast stitching (£600)

Options include:

Head-up display (£500)

Rear-view camera (£350)

Technology pack (£1,395)

Panoramic glass sunroof (£875)

Motoring

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