AUDI Q5 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Family Wagon/SUV
Fuel Economy (claimed): 7.5l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.4l/100km
When Audi, Volkswagen or Skoda bring out a new bodystyle, you can place a sure bet that it will pop up elsewhere across the group.
But why pay more for the four-ringed badge? Read on.
Quality: Though there are hidden hard plastics below the beltline, the Q5 is as well put-together as any in the Audi stable.
But while quite nicely appointed and with a distinct premium feel, its somewhat basic feature list (for a premium purchase, that is) encourages optional box-ticking.
Comfort: ‘Pleather’ in the entry-level models isn’t so hot, but the top-shelf TDI features luxurious cowhide and a wide range of seat adjustment to match its command driving position. Rear seating is also comfortable and well-shaped.
Equipment: Six-stack 10-speaker stereo, Bluetooth and auxiliaries, 18-inch alloys, and roof rails for racks are standard fare. Safety, of course, is typically Audi and excellent.
Unfortunately, in common with its German counterparts, the options list for the Q5 is as long as it is expensive – up-spec it heavily, and you may as well buy an entry-level Q7.
Storage: The cargo area is the best in its class at 530 litres/1560 litres, but comes at the expense of a full-size spare – a huge oversight in a capable off-roader, particularly in Australia.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Q5 sits on the latest A4 sedan chassis, and inherits its stiffness and adept handling.
It also inherits the overly firm ride, though it’s cushioned a little by the SUV suspension.
It houses a choice of typically stunning drivetrains, but the weight of the luxury fit-out (maxing-out at 1865kg) makes the six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel the pick.
If your budget can handle it, take this one over the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel (even if its nose is a touch harder to turn in, thanks to the bigger diesel’s weight penalty).
Its figures are as good as its figure, with 176kW and a glorious 500Nm of torque clocking 0-100km/h in just 6.5secs.
The Q5 is actually quite capable off-road and well-up to the family excursion some way off the beaten track, provided you don’t go too far.
Refinement: Disguised under layers of sound deadening and sophisticated injection technology, off idle, you would be hard-pressed to pick the V6 as a diesel.
Combined with the company’s lush seven-speed dual clutch and paddle-shifters (V6 only), this is one civilised sometime off-roader.
Suspension: An extra 200mm of ground clearance (from the A4), soft-roader suspension calibration and electronic diff-locking allow for the odd off-road adventure without compromising on-road dynamics.
Braking: Wet, dry or on gravel, the Q5 brakes strongly and securely thanks to its sophisticated ABS and traction control systems (with hill-descent control and stability control tuned for loose surfaces).
ANCAP rating: Five stars
Safety features: Front, side and curtain airbags, front load limiter/pretensioner seatbelts, rear pretensioner seatbelts, front active headrests, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, off-road tuned electronic stability control, hill-descent control, reverse parking sensors
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3yr with roadside assist
Service costs: N/A
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
BMW X3 ($62,200 – $71,900): While it’s arguably prettier than the boxy X3, the Q5 cannot match the Beemer in handling and steering feedback, which is a far more effortless conversation.
However, there are only two drivetrains, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel or a 3.0-litre inline six petrol, and the latter is lower in torque and higher in fuel consumption than the top-line Q5 (190kW/310Nm, 9.0l/100km). (see X3 reviews)
Volkswagen Tiguan ($33,990 – $39,190): With 2.0-litre turbo petrol or diesel engines to choose from, an affordable price, comfortable interior (but with a tiny boot), the Tiguan is a sharply-priced alternative. (see Tiguan reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Where some wagon and SUV variations built on a common chassis feel like a sedan on stilts, the Q5 is different.
It manages to keep its ties to the A4 quite firmly knotted, particularly the very well-sorted and communicative handling. If anything, the longer travel suspension of the Q5 is the more appealing.
Audi’s 3.0 litre TDI is pricey, but potent, and very easy on the eye. If your wallet can stretch that far, it’s well worth a look.