2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro SUV (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 8-speed Automatic)
Driven On 5/6/2014
The sporty Q5 accomplishes everything that other luxury crossover SUVs do in tems of interior refinement, convenience and feature content, while costing less than its BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals. But with its enthusiast intentions comes a ride that's too stiff for some, and max cargo capacity is on the small side.
PerformanceWith 220 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque from the base 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, there's plenty of power to get the Q5 up to speed with confidence. Handling is sporty for a crossover SUV and braking is good for the class. It's an SUV for those who enjoy a little performance.
In our testing the Q5 reached 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is comparable to other SUVs in this class. Shifts are smooth and quick from the 8-speed automatic transmission, while traction from the Quattro AWD system is plentiful.
In panic braking from 60 mph, the Q5 only needed 114 feet to come to a stop (best in class) and distances remained consistent. Nosedive is minimal and the vehicle was composed and controllable. Around-town modulation was normal.
The Q5's heavier steering effort is appropriate for its sport-themed intentions. We wish for a bit more steering feedback, but overall it's precise and turn-in is intuitive. It lightens up nicely at low speeds for effortless parking.
Get the Q5 on a twisty mountain pass and you'll experience one of the few SUVs that's entertaining to drive hard. Confident balance and all-wheel-drive provide impressive traction. Body roll is prevalent but far from excessive.
Other than its stiff ride, the Q5 is easy to live with on a daily basis, whether you're backing into a tight parking spot, driving aggressively in the canyons or anything in between.
ComfortIn most areas the Q5 delivers high levels of comfort. This is especially true in terms of the seats and the quiet cabin. The one drawback is the suspension's inability to soak up bumps like competitors. Otherwise, it is just as luxurious as competing SUVs.
The standard 8-way power-adjustable leather seats provide appropriate support for a variety of body types. The sliding and reclining rear seats (cool feature) are also quite comfortable for adults, even on long trips.
While we wouldn't quantify the Q5's ride as harsh, it is stiffer than rivals. The bumps aren't intrusive, but occupants will get jostled around more so than in competing SUVs.
Road and wind noise are barely detectable and engine noise is noticeable only under hard acceleration. Overall the cabin is as pleasantly calm and quiet as any other luxury SUV.
InteriorThe Q5's interior follows Audi's austere yet tasteful design. The cabin has a more modern look and feel than most in the compact luxury SUV class. Features are plentiful and the quality of materials is superb.
Controls are well placed, and all display and gauges are easy to read at a quick glance. Like competing systems, the MMI infotainment interface takes some getting used to, but becomes simple and intuitive after a short time.
Front- and rear-seat access is easy, even in tight spaces, thanks to short doors that open wide. Ride height isn't overly high, so entry doesn't require much more effort than with a typical sedan.
There's no shortage of front headroom or legroom. Sliding/reclining rear seats offer more legroom than rivals, accommodating adult passengers even on all-day adventures.
Forward visibility is mostly unobstructed, but the rear view is somewhat hampered by thick roof pillars. Still, backing into a parking spot is relatively easy, especially with the optional rearview camera and parking sensors.
Trunk capacity is a best-in-class 29.1 cu-ft., though the rear-seats-folded/max capacity space of 57.3 cu-ft is just average. Remote releases simplify seat folding. Interior bins and cupholders are adequate but not particularly generous.
ValueWith a base price of $38,195, the Audi Q5 costs about $2,000 less than the all-wheel-drive BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLK 4Matic. It also gains an advantage by having more standard features, and it maintains that savings as you check off options on the order sheet.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Interior surfaces have nice textures for an upscale look and feel. Every knob and switch has a distinct heft and click, this car feels sturdy and extremely well built.
The base Q5 comes with all-wheel drive, leather upholstery and tri-zone climate control, most of which are are options on rivals. Even as options are added, its price advantage remains strong against its chief competitors.
With the Premium Plus and navigation options added, the Q5's as-tested price climbs to $45,645. A similarly equipped all-wheel-drive BMW X3 will cost about $1,500 more and a Mercedes GLK runs about $5,000 more.
EPA estimates for the Q5 are 23 mpg Combined (20 City/28 Highway), comparable numbers to others in the class. On our highway-heavy evaluation loop we attained 26.2 mpg. Its overall average came to just 20.0 mpg, though.
Audi's 4-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranties are similar to the competition. So is an extended warranty, at additional cost.
Four years of roadside assistance, plus the first scheduled maintenance is free. BMW includes 4 years of free maintenance, which is the most generous in the class. Audi and Mercedes both offer a prepaid maintenance program.
Fun To DriveThe Audi Q5 is actually quite fun to toss around on a curvy road. With standard all-wheel drive, there's a considerable amount of grip, which further instills confidence. Even with the base 4-cylinder turbo engine, it should exceed expectations for most drivers.
Whether you're road tripping, commuting or enjoying its potential for performance, the Q5 does it all with ease and confidence. As with many SUVs in this class, it drives much like the smaller sedan upon which it's based.
The Q5 is unmistakably Audi in its execution, which is to say understated in style and more focused on driver engagement, while embracing cutting-edge technology.
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