Is this the best Q model yet from Audi?

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DOES Audi know when to stop? It seems not. There are now no fewer than 35 distinct models from the German manufacturer.

An Audi executive once told me how they decide on a new model launch.

“We look at the gaps in the market,” he said. “We choose the next biggest gap and fill it with the best car we can. Then we launch it. Simple. Then we start again and look for the next biggest cap.”

That’s why we have such a plethora of Audi SUVs. We have Q1, Q3, Q5 and Q7. Now Audi have added what I consider to be the best yet: the Q2.

It isn’t faultless. For a start it is very expensive, considering you can buy a sparkly new Nissan Juke or a quirky Peugeot 2008 for many thousands less.

But many Audi-type customers prefer to study quality and style above list price and for them, the A2 is a fine motor, Elegant, well-equipped on mid-range models and fun to drive.

While the Q7 (much too big) and Q5 (slightly too big) are fine cars, the Q2 is more compact and better to drive

It feels much more like a car than an SUV and has running costs normally associated with a family hatchback.

The Q2 starts at a little over £20,000 but tested here is a mid-range model, the 1.6 TDI SE. The price is a little eye-watering at £28,005 but it can be had for less if you forego some of the extra-cost options.

The test model had more than £5,000 of extras. Some were good (navigation system £600, Audi sound system £255 and automated parking £225), others less so (£75 for aluminium trim in the cabin, £625 for cruise conrol and £150 for LED interior lighting).

But it was the basic car which won me over: the way it drove and handled said ‘premium’.

Q2 meets the basic demands of an SUV with a high entry, good visibility and a large luggage compartment (405 to 1,050 litres of capacity), yet it feels like a car. That’s because the driver’s seat position is low in relation to the steering wheel as in an Audi saloon. Optional offerings are available such as a powered tailgate.

As you might expect from a VW Group car, it has fabulous engines. Q2 launched with a selection of five. Along with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder TFSI, two four-cylinder petrol engines are being offered with 1.4 and 2.0 litres and a 2.0-litre TFSI to follow. In addition, two four-cylinder diesel engines are available with 1.6 and 2.0 litres. As an alternative to the six-speed manual transmission, Audi also offers the S tronic dual clutch transmission with seven speeds for all engines.

Tested here is the 1.6 diesel which manages 60mph in just over 10 seconds and it could reach 122mph where legal.

Q2 maybe a compact model but it feels very much like a grown-up, full-sized Audi.

Audi Q2 SE 1.6 TDI

THE CAR FACTS

Price: £28,005. Range starts at £20,700.

Engine: A 1,598cc four-cylinder diesel engine

Power: 116ps

Torque: 250Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Top speed: 122mph

0-62mph: 10.3 seconds

Economy: 64.2mpg combined

Insurance: Group 13E

CO2 emissions: 114g/km

Warranty: Three years and unlimited miles

Summary: Elegant, smart, easy to drive, good on the road. A fine but expensive all-rounder.

Rivals:

Nissan Juke: This model costs thousands less and has fine quirky style. Boot is now bigger and gears are improved.

Peugeot 2008: Again thousands less. Lacks charisma of an Audi but it is a very good-looking allrounder.

BMW X1: Better than the Audi but at £27,000 it should be. The Audi beats it in terms of style and value.