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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- Feels very well-built
- Lots of space for four
- Comfortable and quiet
What's not so good
- Dull to drive
- Costly optional extras
- Only two engine choices
Audi Q5: what would you like to read next?
If you’re looking for a practical, well-built SUV that’s comfortable to drive and comes with lots of equipment, the Audi Q5 is well worth a look. It comes with a decent selection of tech and its roomy cabin feels more solid than the likes of the Mercedes GLC.
It can’t quite match the elegant Mercedes in the style stakes, though. Sure, the Audi Q5’s smart exterior looks clean, minimalist and modern, but its boxy body feels a bit bland compared with the more heavily sculpted GLC and the sportier BMW X3.
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 7-inch touchscreen is much easier to use than the display you get in the Mercedes GLC, though. And, you can upgrade the Audi Q5 with a huge digital screen in place of conventional instruments 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 190hp diesel engine or more punchy 245hp petrol. It’s also pretty easy to drive in town thanks to its relatively large windows and raised seating position.
It’s 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 to stretch out. The boot isn’t the biggest you’ll find in an SUV, but it’s still pretty large
The Q5’s interior provides a perfect blend of passenger, storage and boot space
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.
The Q5’s one of the most relaxing SUVs to cruise around in – it’s so much quieter than a Jaguar F-Pace, but also nowhere near as fun
It prioritises comfort over cornering, but in a practical family SUV that’s no bad thing
You can get the Audi Q5 with one petrol and one diesel engine. Both models come with quattro four-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
The 2.0-litre petrol 45 TFSI model is worth considering if you spend most time pootling around town. It’ll only return around 30mpg but it’s a tad quieter on the move than the less-powerful diesel model and slightly smoother, too.
It’s more than quick enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic and it even comes with launch control – just like a supercar. Stick its automatic gearbox in sports mode, floor the throttle and release the brake and it’ll sprint from 0-60mph in a little over six seconds. The kids will love you for it.
The 190hp 2.0-litre diesel in 40 TDI cars will be a better bet if you spend more time on the motorway. It’s very nearly as smooth as the petrol on the move but will return a more wallet-friendly 40mpg in normal driving. It’s not quite as quick, but around town or on the school run you’ll hardly notice the difference.
Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system comes fitted as standard to all Q5s and helps it offer excellent grip, even in slippery conditions. It’ll happily cope with the odd wintry spell but isn’t quite as capable of heading off the beaten track as a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The Audi Q5’s raised driving position offers a great view of the road ahead and its slim door pillars don’t produce any awkward blind spots. Checking over your shoulder for overtaking traffic on the motorway is easy and the rear windscreen gives you a good view behind, too.
It can feel a little on the large side around town but front and rear parking sensors come fitted to all models as standard to help you nose into tight spaces without breaking a sweat. Pick the optional parking assistance pack for even greater peace of mind – it comes with a 360-degree camera and a self-parking feature that’ll steer you into parallel and bay spaces automatically.
The Audi Q5’s standard suspension soaks up bumps and potholes reasonably well but the no-cost option sports suspension offered on S line models makes it feel a little too firm. Adaptive dampers – that let you choose between sporty or more comfortable setups – are available but they’re expensive and can’t match the exceptional air suspension system. It isn’t cheap, but it makes the Audi Q5 drive more like a limousine – even on poorly maintained roads.
The standard quattro four-wheel-drive system offers plenty of grip in the corners and its tall body doesn’t lean excessively in tight bends but you can’t exactly call the Audi Q5 sporty. You’ll her barely any wind or tyre noise at speed so it’s an excellent motorway cruiser.
Automatic emergency braking comes as standard on all models but you can pay an extra for an advanced cruise control system that’ll brake, accelerate and even steer slightly for you on the motorway – provided you keep your hands on the wheel.
Everything in the Q5’s roomy cabin looks great and feels solid. It’s a shame the fantastic Virtual Cockpit display doesn’t come as standard, however
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