By Mike Torpey on 2017-06-18 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI
THE rise of Audi as the premium brand of choice has been a relentless one.
Once seen as the poor relation of German giants Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the big wheels from Ingolstadt have turned record-breaking into a regular occurrence.
To the point that Audi's product line-up has increased from 17 to 52 models in just 16 years and last year the brand achieved its best ever worldwide sales of 1,871,350 cars.
Here in the UK those sales topped the 177,000 mark as buyers snapped up a plethora of niche models in addition to the more time-honoured Audi range stalwarts as the company strived to cover all the bases.
One hole still to be plugged however was the compact crossover class, for which Audi's philosophy is pretty much a no-brainer.
You take on more established rivals with space, quality, image and low running costs - and do it with prices that young, trendy buyers' budgets can stretch to.
Enter the Audi Q2, latest and smallest of the brand's SUV line-up and one that not only embraces cutting edge design but also opens the door to various forms of personalisation.
The Q2 is up for grabs with a choice of 1.0 and 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engines plus 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo diesels and in four trim grades of SE, Sport, S line and Edition #1.
For a relatively small vehicle it makes smart use of space, with plenty of rear head and legroom and a roomy boot that expands to 1,050 litre with the rear bench folded flat.
Oddments space is also plentiful, comprising the likes of a lidded container between the front seats, a glovebox, deep door bins and four cup holders.
But what sets the Audi apart is the overall quality of its fit and fittings, in particular the wraparound dashborad and the trio of circular air vents.
I can't say I'm a fan of the silver rear pillar, which may serve as a contrast but looks out of place to me; on the other hand the red dash, door handle and seat inserts in the Sport variant I sampled work very well.
As with all Audi models the scope to add options is extensive, items like a Driver Assistance Pack at £725, LED headlights with dynamic rear indicators at £975 and Tango Red metallic paint for another £550 quickly hiking up the price.
The good news is that kit like air-con, cruise control, quattro all-wheel drive, stability control, DAB radio and electric windows are standard and while Audi's MMI Navigation looks after most of the car's functions yuo have to splash out £1,595 for the Technology pack that adds an 8.3-inch screen, 10GB hard drive and a wireless charger.
As a driver's car the Q2 is a joy to manoeuvre - sweet and smooth in town traffic, poised and agile through country lanes.
Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI Sport
Mechanical: 150ps, 1,395cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 132mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 51.4
Insurance Group: 18
C02 emissions: 124g/km
Bik rating: 23%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.