Baby SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3 are quickly becoming some of the more popular models on the market. With that in mind, Volkswagen is looking to capitalize. The VW Group will start churning out a few different versions of essentially the same car, from Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda. The Audi Q1 will lead the pack as the top dog of them all, and possibly the segment, which will ultimately set the bar, and price tag, for all other baby SUVs.
The Audi Q1 will be built on the same MQB platform that underpins the VW Golf and Audi A3. This means a very short wheelbase, which will cut into cargo space, and either front or all-wheel drive. Standard models will be front-wheel drive and will probably be the volume seller. As it should be, honestly, because all-wheel drive on a hatchback the size of an iPhone is simply useless. Powering all four wheels is only going to add weight and worsen fuel economy, as there’s no off-road utility to be gained in such a small vehicle with no ground clearance. But, as this will be an Audi, Quattro all-wheel drive will be an option.
Engines will range from 1.0 to 2.0 liters and all will be turbocharged. Expect the common 1.4 liter turbo four-cylinder as the base engine, with the 2.0 liter being on option. The 1.4 will probably do just fine, as it’s enough to power cars like the Audi A1 without issue and will be the more fuel efficient engine. transmission options will be either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Opt for the manual, as a car with such little power would be more fun with a manual and the dual-clutch unit will just add extra weight. A manual could turn the Q1 into a big fun hatchback. Expect Volkswagen’s and Audi’s versions to get some sort of plug-in hybrid powertrain, similar to the e-Golf and A3 e-tron.
We still don’t know for sure whether or not the Audi Q1 will make it to the North American market, though we’ve heard it’s a good possibility. I would imagine that it will, because Nissan is having great success with the Juke here and the Mazda CX-3 is already starting to excite. Americans love small
hatchbacks SUVS, especially ones with premium badges on them, so it would most likely sell quite well ‘Stateside. Plus this would open the door to the younger market Audi so desperately wants to reach. Young, twenty-somethings would buy the Q1, then a Q3 after it, possibly a Q5 after that big promotion and a Q7 when the family comes along. That’s Audi’s idea, anyway.