Audi is cutting sports utility driving down to size. First there was the huge Q7, then the slightly smaller Q5, then the Q3, and now, inevitably, the Q2.  This latest offering gives you sports utility driving in a more compact package. But despite being smaller, it still looks as purposeful as its bigger brothers, writes motoring editor Ian Strachan.

The Q2, like its bigger stablemates, is also very comfortable. It handles well and is well behaved on road. In Quattro spec (four out of the six engine options available) it also has the benefits of four-wheel drive. This is by no means a mud-plugger, but when things get sticky it can cope.

In the 1.6 litre diesel SE spec which I tested it also has more than adequate power, but being smaller, it costs less than some of its bigger competitors, delivering an excellent 64.2 miles to the gallon in mixed driving.

Its pedigree is unmistakable. This is undoubtedly an Audi, with the distinctive deep Audi grille and pleasing lines. Inside it’s roomy and comfortable, with plenty of creature comforts.

The design takes some cues from other Audi vehicles, but its design is more muscular and geometric, with a broad-shouldered ready-for-anything stance. There’s also plenty of room for rear seat passengers, without compromising luggage capacity in the rear.

I test drove a diesel powered Q2 with a smooth but effective 1.6 litre turbo diesel engine. This unit has enough grunt in its 116 bhp output, delivering power throughout the range without ever feeling reluctant. The six speed manual gearbox is taut and precise.

Despite being a tall vehicle for its footprint, the Q2 handles better than some of its competitors. It is stable and predictable, with no suspension wallow, and flat cornering. On road its manners are impeccable and it’s a great motorway cruiser. Steering is light but precise. My only criticism comes from the active lane control system. Though it’s there as a safety aid to stop you wandering out of your lane, it also mistakenly picked up seams in the road, so you feel as if you are fighting the steering wheel, even when driving straight. Try as I might I couldn’t find a way to switch it off.

Specification on the SE that I tested is good, and includes climate control, all-round electric windows and mirrors, stability control, nice alloy wheels, parking sensors, automatic stop/start, satellite navigation and a good DAB radio/CD player with MP3 connections.

It’s an Audi, and Audi motoring doesn’t come cheap. The Q2 that I tested will cost you £22,950 on the road. But that’s still a bit less than some of its less well equipped competitors and you get the benefit of a high specification, a vehicle that won’t depreciate quickly, and a versatile and more than competent performer that looks good on your drive. The Q2 deserves to do well.

Motoring Reviews are bought to you courtesy of Midlands Business News and its Motoring Editor Ian Strachan of Ian Strachan Communications