Audi, Toyota Ready Subcompact SUVs


The unofficial car of Seattle is the Audi Q5.

Driving through the Emerald City is like navigating an Audi showroom, as it seems every third car on Interstate 5 sports the 4-ringed logo up front.

It’s grown so common that my family now plays the “Q5 game,” where the first person to spot a Q5 gets to punch someone in the shoulder. It’s a lot like an updated version of the old “slug bug” game involving the Volkswagen Beetle.

This weekend my wife punched my arm, then quickly had to retract it when she noticed the passing car was a Q3, a smaller sibling to the Q5 that we had both forgotten existed.

The Q3 competes against the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, some of the smallest SUVs on the market, but Audi is now going even smaller with the upcoming Q2.

How small can SUVs get?

The base Audi Q2 will forgo a standard quattro all-wheel-drive system in favor of front-wheel drive, though quattro will be an option for upper trims. It’ll come, at least in Europe, with a 114-hp 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine and pack 14.2 cubic feet of luggage space into a body that’s almost 8 inches shorter than a Q3. A U.S. version is likely.

Toyota is going smaller too with its subcompact C-HR. CNET says,

Based on the same global platform that underpins the latest generation Prius, the C-HR will be available in Europe as a 1.8-liter hybrid, putting out 120 horsepower, or a 1.2-liter turbo, knocking out 133 horses. Those folks opting for the turbo will get the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or Toyota’s continuously variable transmission.

The U.S. should get the C-HR in the spring of 2017. Alas we’ll more than likely get a 2.0-liter engine with the CVT and no option for a manual.

The C-HR, once bound for the U.S. as a Scion, will now slot beneath the RAV4 as Toyota’s smallest SUV.

Both the C-HR and the Q2 are aimed at a younger target market, presumably buyers who want something small and efficient but don’t want a sedan or hatchback.

The Fiat 500X and MINI Countryman have whetted our appetite for ultra-small SUVs and it’s safe to say that we’ll see even more once the Q2 and C-HR rack up some sales.

While the popularity of subcompact SUVs will likely grow, it’s certainly hard to imagine them getting any smaller.

Would one of the new subcompact crossover SUVs fit your lifestyle?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used Audi Q5
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