Full 2014 Audi Q5 Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Audi Q5 lineup sees the addition of a powerful yet fuel-efficient turbodiesel model, and the base 2.0T gets a power increase to 220 horsepower. Otherwise, updates are limited to equipment changes across the various trim levels.
Audi argues that the Q5 has the interior of a luxury car, the handling of a sport sedan and the ground clearance of a crossover SUV. Though automotive marketing often tends toward hyperbole, we'd largely have to agree here, as the 2014 Audi Q5 is one of our favorites in the compact luxury crossover SUV class.
For 2014, the company would be justified in adding "the appetite of an economy car" to that list of attributes, as the Q5 TDI model joins the lineup. The TDI sports a powerful diesel-fueled engine that earns a combined city/highway fuel economy estimate of 27 mpg. And don't forget there's also the Q5 Hybrid model, introduced last year, which is similarly frugal. In keeping with this "cover all the bases" powertrain philosophy, Audi also offers the new high-performance SQ5 variant, which is covered in a separate review.
Even without such a buffet of power choices, the 2014 Audi Q5 has a lot going for it. Performance and practicality, two traits that are typically opposing forces when you're talking about an SUV, are both here in ample supply. Along with its snappy acceleration and buttoned-down handling, the sensibly sized Q5 offers plenty of passenger room within its well-trimmed cabin. Cargo capacity isn't as generous as some rivals, but it's still about quadruple what you'd get in a midsize sedan's trunk. All things considered, it's easy to see why the Q5 is a top pick for active single people and small families alike.
Of course, there are other good choices in the premium compact crossover segment. The Volvo XC60 provides an even roomier interior and a few more family-friendly features. If performance is a priority, the BMW X3 largely matches the Q5 in terms of performance and handling. If style is your thing, Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque is the most dynamic-looking of the bunch. And if mpg is what motivates you, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class also has an available diesel engine: It isn't as powerful or quick as the Q5 TDI, but it earns slightly higher fuel economy ratings. If you want to narrow your list of candidates to a single luxury crossover SUV that does everything well, though, the 2014 Audi Q5 is an ideal choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Audi Q5 is a compact luxury crossover available in four trim levels that correspond to engine: 2.0T Premium, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0 TDI Premium Plus and 2.0T Hybrid Prestige.
Standard equipment on the 2.0T Premium includes 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, roof rails, eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB input, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.
To all that, you can add the 2.0T Premium Plus package, which includes xenon headlights, LED running lights, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, heated front seats and an auto-dimming interior mirror.
The 3.0T Premium Plus includes all the above and adds a supercharged V6 engine, 19-inch wheels and special exterior trim. The available Prestige package adds adaptive headlights, blind-spot monitoring, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a heated/cooled cupholder, rear door sunshades and the Audi MMI Navigation Plus package (navigation system, digital music storage, voice controls, rear park assist, rearview camera, HD radio and center-console-mounted MMI controller).
The 3.0T Premium Plus can also be equipped with the Driver Assist package, which includes Audi Drive Select (four settings alter throttle response, transmission shift points and steering assist), adaptive cruise control and dynamic steering. Also available is the Comfort package (upgraded leather seating, additional leather cabin trim, ventilated front seats and power passenger lumbar adjustment), a Sport Interior package (front sport seats and a sport steering wheel) and the S Line Plus package (20-inch alloy wheels/summer tires, matte black roof rails, brushed aluminum cabin accents, flat-bottomed sport steering wheel, adaptive suspension system and Audi Drive Select controls). Rear-seat side airbags and a rear-seat entertainment system with twin display screens are also available.
The 3.0 TDI Premium Plus is equipped like the 3.0T Premium Plus, except it doesn't come with the 3.0T's sporty exterior trim pieces and headlight washers. You can get these items in an expanded version of the S Line Plus package. Otherwise, option packages for the 3.0 TDI are the same as for the 3.0T.
The 2.0T Hybrid Prestige includes all the features of the 2.0T Premium Plus, as well as 19-inch wheels, adaptive lighting, the Bang & Olufsen sound system, the heated/cooled cupholder, rear door sunshades and the Audi MMI Navigation Plus package. The Comfort and Sport Interior packages described above are optional on the 2.0T Hybrid.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T comes standard with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine good for 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 city/28 highway and 23 mpg combined. In Edmunds testing, a Q5 2.0T accelerated to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, a performance on par with the Audi's peers.
The Audi Q5 3.0T gets a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is standard, as is an automatic stop-start system that saves fuel by shutting off the engine when the car comes to a halt. In Edmunds testing, the 3.0T engine brought the Q5 from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds, a very quick time for this class of vehicle. Fuel economy estimates stand at 18/26/21.
The Q5 3.0 TDI features a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 with 240 hp and a massive 428 lb-ft of torque. The automatic stop-start system is standard. Audi claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.5 seconds while fuel economy estimates stand at 24/31/27.
The Q5 Hybrid pairs the 2.0T's engine with an electric motor and battery pack to provide a total output of 245 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates its 0-60 time at 6.8 seconds, while EPA fuel mileage estimates stand at 24/30/26.
Standard safety equipment for the 2014 Audi Q5 includes stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are optional on all models, as is blind-spot monitoring (standard on the Hybrid). The optional Audi MMI Navigation package includes rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
In Edmunds braking testing, the Q5 2.0T came to a stop in 114 feet, a very strong result. Yet a 3.0T with the Prestige package stopped even shorter in 109 feet, which is very impressive for any vehicle, let alone an SUV with all-season tires.
In government crash tests the Q5 received four (out of five) stars overall, with four stars for frontal and five stars for side crash categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Q5 was awarded the highest rating of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
As we've come to expect from all Audi models, the Q5 benefits from classy interior design and top-notch construction. The center stack controls are canted toward the driver, although the layout depends on whether you opt for the navigation system. Without navigation, the knob and buttons for the MMI system reside somewhat inconveniently on the center stack. With navigation, the controls are placed between the armrest and shift lever, where they're easier to reach. Navigation-equipped models also get the latest MMI system with more intuitive menus, enhanced Google Maps satellite imagery and an additional joystick button for enhanced control.
Despite its compact size, the Q5 manages to feel roomy whether you're seated in the front or rear. The rear seats slide fore and aft, which is a rarity in this segment of luxury crossovers, and the seats also recline for greater comfort. Folding the rear seats down creates 57 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, which is a little below average for this segment.
Regardless of which powertrain you choose, the 2014 Audi Q5 delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, and the eight-speed automatic is also refined and responsive. Both the 2.0T and 3.0T gas engines match their respective rivals in terms of acceleration and fuel economy, while the diesel and hybrid versions of the Q5 offer even higher fuel-efficiency while still delivering plenty of power. The 3.0T and 3.0 TDI's automatic stop-start system also helps efficiency, but it doesn't keep the engine off very long at traffic lights. Such random refiring can get annoying.
The Q5's ride quality is firmer than the norm for this class of vehicle, but we've never found it to be harsh. Handling is excellent, and we consider the 2014 Q5 is one of the sportiest crossovers on the market. The steering is similarly quick and responsive, though it has a rather artificial feel.