Review

Audi Q5 SUV

Price  £31,370 - £44,715

Audi Q5 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Car-like to drive
  • Excellent build quality
  • Strong resale values
Cons
  • Firm suspension
  • High price tag
  • Not very good off-road

At a glance

"The compact Audi Q5 is easy to drive and has a practical interior. However, the firm suspension and high price dent its overall appeal."

The Audi Q5 was designed as a rival for models such as the Volvo XC60, BMW X3 and Land Rover Freelander. The upmarket mid-sized SUV has classy looks, a smart and spacious interior and is well built.

It's not as fun to drive as the X3 or as good off-road as the Freelander, but the Q5 strikes a good balance between the two. As with most Audis, the Q5 has firm suspension that some might find uncomfortable, but it also comes with a good range of engines. The best is the 2.0-litre diesel thanks to its blend of fuel economy and performance.

A spacious interior makes it perfect for families, while four-wheel drive means that the Q5 also doubles as a tow car.

The Audi is available in four trim levels, basic SE, S line, S line Plus, and the top-of-the-range performance orientated SQ5. All models come with climate control, DAB radio, 6.5-inch colour screen, automatic headlights and wipers, plus rear parking sensors.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.6 / 5

Audi Q5 2.0-litre diesel is cheap to run

For the best balance of performance and economy we would recommend the 2.0-litre diesel Audi Q5. It is available with either 148bhp or 175bhp, but both engines return fuel economy of 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 154g/km for road tax of £180. The 3.0-litre diesel drops fuel economy to 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions rise to 169g/km for road tax of £205 annually. The fastest SQ5 diesel can manage 41.5mpg.

There are also two 2.0-litre petrol engines to choose from with either 178bhp or 222bhp. They return identical fuel economy figures of 37.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 174g/km for road of £205 a year.

The Audi is not a cheap car to run, although the company does offer fixed-price services that start from £159. All models of Q5 sit in group 33 for insurance, aside from the SQ5 that is rated in group 41. All Audis come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

Audi Q5 SEs offer the most comfortable suspension

The engine that offers the best mix of performance and economy is the 173bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which can get the Q5 from 0-62mph in 9 seconds. The 148bhp version of the same engine takes a couple of seconds longer to reach 62mph, but has identical running costs.

The 3.0-litre diesel comes fitted with Audi’s seven-speed automatic gearbox, and also ups performance to get from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds. Fastest model of all is the SQ5, which is also powered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine and gets from 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds.

The 2.0-litre petrol engines offer decent pace – the 178bhp and 222bhp version getting from 0-60mph in 8.5 and 7.4 seconds, respectively – however, you’ll be paying the price for their performance with poor fuel economy.

Some Q5 models do suffer from a firm ride, but choosing the SE’s suspension should solve that problem to leave a car with reasuring handling and accurate steering. Audi also offers the Q5 with Drive Select (£220), which allows you to setup the car for more comfortable or sporty driving.

The Audi Q5 might not be as an accomplished off-roader as the Land Rover Freelander, but clever electronics and four-wheel drive mean it can deal with muddy fields and tracks.

Interior & comfort

3.2 / 5

High-quality materials used throughout Audi Q5 interior

The Audi Q5 may be an expensive car, but it has a classy interior to match the price tag. Audi uses a 6.5-inch colour display to cut down on the number of buttons needed on the dashboard to make it look smart and uncluttered. It feels good too, thanks to soft-touch plastics, leather upholstery, and metal trim.

The range of adjustment for both the driver’s seat and the steering wheel means it is also easy to find a comfortable driving position. The car’s high seating position and huge wing mirrors also guarantee excellent visibility, while the controls are light and easy to operate.

The most comfortable suspension setup can be found on the basic SE models. S line and S line Plus models come with bigger wheels and firmer sports suspension, although you can opt for the SE’s softer suspension at no extra cost. The SQ5 gets the stiffest suspension of all and isn’t very relaxing on a bumpy road.

Wind noise can be noticed at speed, but it never becomes intrusive – models with bigger wheels suffer from more road noise. 

Practicality & boot space

3.3 / 5

Audi Q5 has decent-sized boot and classy interior

With all the seats in place, the Audi Q5 has 540 litres of boot space, which is more than you get in the Volvo XC60 and just marginally behind the BMW X3. Fold the rear seats down and maximum capacity comes out at 1,560 litres. There’s barely any boot lip to have to lift heavy items over and the back seats also lock down almost completely flat. Buyers can choose useful options such as a reversible boot floor with a wipe-clean side (£70) or underfloor storage (£145).

There should be plenty of room in the front and back for passengers, and there’s extra space in the back for the middle seat passenger’s feet.

In the front there is a sizeable glove compartment, a large central storage cubby and big door bins. Audi will even fit a cupholder (for £100) that can cool and heat drinks. 

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

The Audi Q5 is well built and safe

In our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey the Audi Q5 came 44th out of 150 cars. It finished top for build quality, and owners also liked its in-car tech, practicality and ease of driving. Surprisingly, it was marked down for poor reliability, while high running costs are perhaps less surprising.

The Q5 got the maximum five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP and it comes fitted with electronic stability control, six airbags, and a system that warns the driver if they need to take a rest.

If you want to make your Q5 even safer there is a long list of extras that will do just that including automatic-dipping headlights (£110), lane assist (£370) that can steer the car in lane, and side assist. The latter warns of approaching vehicles in your blind spot. 

Price, value for money & options

2.8 / 5

Well-equipped Audi Q5 can be specced with pricy options

Even the basic Audi Q5 comes well equipped with items such as cruise control, climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a leather interior. S line models get larger 19-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, and an S line body kit, while S line Plus models add 20-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, an electric tailgate, and a visual parking aid. At the top of the range is the SQ5 model, which has even sportier looks, more expensive leather trim and a sports exhaust.

Audi offers a range of optional extras covering everything from sat-nav (£1,695) to Dynamic Steer (£375), which adjusts the steering to suit the road conditions. Choosing optional equipment such as sat-nav and Drive Select will make the Audi easier to sell when you come to trade it in.

Although expensive, Audis have strong second-hand values and the Q5 should outperform the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Freelander. The model that will hold is value best is the 2.0-litre diesel SE.

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
Excellent road manners show where the Q5 is designed to work best. With positive steering and tight body control the Audi has the kind of car-like precision that its prestige rivals can’t match from behind the wheel. Ride comfort is firm but well judged damping deals with bumps effectively.
10 / 20
Decent small SUV that can threaten the larger Q7 price-wise if you start getting jiggy with the options.
4 / 5
Audi has set its sights high with the Q5 - and it's managed to score a direct hit thanks to its 4x4's superb comfort, space and quality. If only the cars with the semi-automatic gearbox were a little smoother when taking off from a standstill.
4.5 / 5
With sharp styling, a comfortable cabin and the best handling of any off-roader, the Q5 is a superb all-round 4x4.
Last updated 
23 Jul 2014

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