Audi Q5 Review
The Audi Q5 is a practical family SUV that’ll eat up the miles quietly and comfortably – just don’t expect it to be all that exciting to drive.
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If you’re the sort who wants an SUV that will take you places with the minimum of fuss, while looking decent, then the Audi Q5 could be your thing. It comes with plenty of high-tech kit and feels so well built that you’ll never give it a second thought.
It’s pretty subtle though, and while other cars such as the Mercedes GLC and Jaguar E-Pace look a bit showy, then Audi is much more bland and unobtrusive. Basically, if you’re Batman, then Audi Q5 is Alfred the butler – always there with what he needs and some calming advice.
Step inside and the Audi Q5’s cabin does little to liven the mood. Everything’s laid out sensibly and all the controls are intuitive to use, but it could do with a splash of colour or a few tactile materials like you get in the Mercedes to spruce things up a bit.
The standard 10-inch touchscreen is much easier to use than the display you get in the Mercedes GLC, though. And, you get the Audi Q5 with a huge digital screen in place of conventional instruments as standard which looks absolutely fantastic.
Thankfully, none of these gizmos eats into the Audi Q5’s cabin space. There are loads of handy cubby holes for you to store family bits and bobs and there’s ample space in the front and rear seats for tall adults to get comfy. There’s more space for carrying three abreast than you get in the BMW X3 and more than enough room in the boot for a baby buggy and some large suitcases or a set of golf clubs.
The Audi Q5 is one of the best SUV all-rounders available – it’ll do everything you ask of it, albeit in a slightly characterless way.
If you plan on venturing further afield than the local golf course, you’ll be pleased to know that every Audi Q5 comes with four-wheel drive as standard. It’s no Land Rover Discovery Sport, but it’ll take the occasional muddy field in its stride. Having said that, the Audi Q5 is much more at home cruising along the motorway – especially if you pay extra for the optional air suspension.
Even without this, the Q5’s pretty comfortable and very quiet – whether you go for the 204hp or 286hp diesel engines or the 265hp petrol. It’s also pretty easy to drive in town thanks to its relatively large windows and raised seating position.
If you plan to run a Q5 as a company car or like the idea of pure-electric driving, there are also two plug-in hybrid models available, which will do around 26 miles on electricity before switching back to petrol.
The Q5 nowhere near as fun to drive on a twisting country road as the BMW X3 or Jaguar F-Pace, but it’s more relaxing to travel in for long periods – especially with the optional Tour Pack fitted which lets the car accelerate, brake and steer for you on motorways and in traffic jams.
Sadly, this feature, along with some of the Audi Q5’s other party-pieces, costs extra – but don’t let that put you off. If you’re happy to pay a little more for a few options, the Audi Q5 makes an excellent family SUV.
The Q5’s seats are firm but supportive on long drives and there’s space for four tall adults. The boot isn’t the biggest you’ll find in an SUV, but it’s still pretty large
The Audi Q5’s front seats are hugely comfortable and come with plenty of adjustment to help you feel at home even if you’re way over six-foot tall. Sport models and above come with four-way electric lumbar support as standard to help reduce backache on long journeys.
There’s plenty of head and legroom in the back seats so even your tallest friends will be reasonably comfortable. The seats themselves are more heavily sculpted than those in a Jaguar F-Pace or Mercedes GLC, too, which helps make long journeys very relaxing.
Sliding and reclining rear seats are a fairly affordable optional extra that’ll make your passengers more comfortable on long drives. These seats let you carry 20% more luggage in the Audi Q5’s boot in their rearmost position, too.
Shoulder room is a little tight if you’re carrying three adults abreast, but it’s nowhere near as cramped as in a Jaguar F-Pace. The central seat is quite raised, however, and there’s a tall lump in the floor which makes it difficult for your middle passenger to slide into their seat. Thankfully, there’s a reasonable amount of headroom, even with the optional panoramic glass roof fitted.
The Audi Q5’s rear doors open fairly wide and its tall roofline helps make it pretty easy to lift in a child seat. The Isofix anchor points on the two outer rear seats are clearly marked but those on the front passenger seat are, rather annoyingly, hidden away. The Audi Q5’s raised ride height means you won’t have to stoop down to strap in a child, though – even if you’re very tall.
The Audi Q5’s front and rear door bins are big enough to hold a one-litre bottle and its glovebox is fairly large, too. There’s a generous storage tray in the centre console with two USB ports and enough space to hide your phone or a few valuables.
Pick the optional Technology Pack and you’ll get a sliding tray under the armrest that’ll both wirelessly charge your phone and keep it hidden out of sight – good for security but also to minimise distractions when you’re driving. There’s a second small slot beside the start button that’s too small for a phone but it’s the perfect place to pop the key fob. Rather annoyingly, there’s nowhere handy to store your designer shades.
You get an armrest for the rear seats as standard but you’ll have to fork out for a set of rear cupholders. You also get a lockable glovebox, a luggage net and a set of seat-back storage pockets as part of this optional Storage Pack, but the cupholders themselves look about as rugged as an origami swan.
The Audi Q5 has 550 litres of boot space. That’s identical to the Mercedes GLC and BMW X3 but lags behind the 650-litre Jaguar F-Pace. A baby buggy and a few large soft bags will fit with room to spare and the boot’s square shape means a set of golf clubs will slide in happily, too.
You’ll have to lift your luggage over a slight load lip in the Audi Q5 – unlike in the Mercedes GLC where the floor’s completely flat. There’s nowhere to store the Audi’s load cover, either, and you can’t adjust the boot floor height.
Levers in the boot make it easy to fold the rear seats down in a 60:40 split but you’ll have to give them a shove before they’ll sit completely flat. The boot grows to a roomy 1,550 litres with them pushed out of the way – that’s big enough to carry a bike without removing its wheels. Both the GLC and X3 have bigger 1,600-litre boots, however, while the F-Pace leads the field with its 1,740-litre load bay.
Audi offers a more practical 40:20:40 split rear seat bench for a few hundred pounds which lets you carry long luggage, such as skis, and two rear passengers at the same time.
There’s a huge array of efficient engines available, but none of them is able to make the Q5 feel very exciting to drive.
The Audi Q5 comes with a choice of two 2.0-litre diesel engines (one of which has mild-hybrid assistance), a 3.0-litre V6 diesel and a 265hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol.
The entry-level diesel generates 163hp, which is enough for performance that’s best described as ‘unhurried’. The 2.0-litre mild-hybrid motor generates 204hp and is much more purposeful about how it gets from where you are to where you want to be. It’ll do an official average of 53.3mpg, too, which isn’t to be sniffed at from a m86id-sized SUV.
Then there’s a 286hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, which can hustle the Q5 from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and go on to 149mph.
Finally, there a 265hp 2.0-litre petrol, which can get the Q5 to 62mph in 6.1 seconds. However, it’s going to be thirstier than the diesels, so would better suit those whose motoring lives consists mainly of inner-city schleps.
Audi also plans to reintroduce its plug-in hybrid Q5 models, which both feature a 2.0-litre petrol engine linked to an electric motor. These have official economy figures of up to 141.2mpg, but of course you won’t get near than in the real world. Still, keep them charged up so you use the electric motor most of the time and you’ll see pretty healthy fuel returns.
Everything in the Q5’s roomy cabin looks great and feels solid. You won’t want to be the middle passenger in the rear though, because it’s uncomfy.