2018 Audi Q5

2018 Audi Q5 Review

The lines are crisper and tighter, but these subtleties mask deeper changes under the sheet metal.
7.9 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Eight years is a long time to go without a major overhaul, especially for a luxury crossover in a class that's constantly evolving with new designs and competitors. But Audi's Q5, first launched in 2009, sold so successfully that it eventually became the company's best-selling vehicle in America. When it comes to tinkering with that kind of success, you tread cautiously. Which makes the 2018 Audi Q5 a measured, if overdue, arrival.

The new Q5 isn't a stylistic departure from its predecessor. The lines are bit crisper, tighter, narrower. The sheet metal now looks more spun from the larger Q7 crossover. But these subtle evolutions mask deeper changes under the metal. The Q5 now rides atop an all-new chassis based on the latest A4 sedan. It's longer, wider and taller, not by much, but enough to open up more room in the cabin for rear passengers and cargo loads. More significantly, the new chassis yields a far smoother ride than before, addressing a frequent complaint leveled against the outgoing model.

The standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine carries over, but it now offers more power. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system for which Audi is renowned also receives a major overhaul in the Q5, now transformed into a primarily front-wheel-drive system that can engage the rear wheels in less than a half-second when traction is required.

Significant changes also come with technology and driver-assistance features; the lack of the latter was also a knock on the previous Q5. This new model remedies the situation with available features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and city-oriented automatic emergency braking at speeds up to 52 mph.

All of which makes the 2018 Audi Q5 worth the wait if you're looking for a premium crossover that can mix it up as equally on dry roads as those covered in snow or dirt. In this space increasingly crowded with alternatives from BMW, Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, the Audi Q5 remains a standout.



What's new for 2018

Entering its second-generation, the 2018 Audi Q5 is all-new. It now offers more power from the standard engine, a revised all-wheel-drive system, more available technology features and crisp, new styling.

We recommend

A Premium Plus model with the Navigation package will hit the sweet spot for most buyers. That includes most luxury features buyers expect (panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and heated leather front seats) while satisfying tech and safety needs, with in-car Wi-Fi, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic emergency braking.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Audi Q5 is available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. All trims come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (252 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque) joined to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.

Standard equipment on Premium trims includes 18-inch wheels, roof rails, a rear spoiler, automatic xenon headlights with LED running lights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors and a power liftgate. Inside you'll find push-button ignition, cruise control, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), auto-dimming rearview mirror, transmission shift paddles, a 40/20/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connection, and an infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Automatic emergency braking for vehicles and pedestrians at speeds up to 52 mph (called Pre Sense City) is also standard.

Premium Plus models add a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, auto-dimming side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, heated front seats with driver-seat memory settings, satellite radio, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Prestige models combine the features listed above with 20-inch wheels, noise-insulated side windows, a head-up display, ambient cabin lighting, a bird's-eye view parking camera, a Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, a touchscreen navigation system, a Wi-Fi connection and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display.

Premium trims can add the Convenience Package (eight-way power seats, keyless entry, heated side mirrors and satellite radio); the Navigation and Telematics package (touchscreen navigation, Wi-Fi and digital gauge cluster); or a handful of stand-alone options including 19-inch wheels, heated front seats, panoramic sunroof and rear side airbags. Models produced later in the year offer a Technology Value package, which is simply the Convenience and Navigation and Telematics packages combined at a discounted price.

Options for Premium Plus trims include 19- or 20-inch wheels, touchscreen navigation, ventilated sport front seats, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel, the upgraded audio system, Wi-Fi and rear side airbags.

Heated rear seats and steering wheel and ventilated sport seats are also available on Prestige models, as are the rear airbags, aluminum or ash wood trim inlays, and an adaptive damping suspension. A fixed roof can also replace the standard panoramic sunroof on Premium Plus and Prestige trims.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Audi Q5 Premium Plus Quattro (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.9 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration7.0 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering8.0 / 10
Handling6.0 / 10
Drivability9.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control8.0 / 10

Interior

8.5 / 10

Ease of use9.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess9.0 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality9.0 / 10

Utility

7.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space7.0 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation9.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.0 / 10
Driver aids6.0 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving7.5

Overall, the Audi Q5 gets strong scores for performance. Were it not for the overly intrusive stability control, this score would be a bit higher. For the typical driver, however, this drawback will probably never arise. Otherwise, we consider it one of the best in the class.

Acceleration7.0

With a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.2 seconds, the Q5 is no slouch, but it is marginally slower than some of its rivals. It's certainly quicker than what we would've expected from a four-cylinder engine a few years ago. In everyday driving, it gets off the line smoothly with confident power.

Braking8.0

Stopping from 60 mph required 114 feet, which is shorter than its competition. In normal conditions, the pedal is moderately firm, though we did feel some odd ABS resets and clicks. Even when driven hard, though, we had all the confidence in the brakes.

Steering8.0

The steering is appropriately weighted in Comfort and Dynamic modes. On a winding road, it's precise, although there's not a lot of feedback for the driver. In tight confines, whipping the wheel around is effortless.

Handling6.0

The Q5 feels very capable on twisting mountain roads, but the stability control intervenes far too early and aggressively to fully explore its potential. For the average driver, this is a nonissue, but it could be alarming in evasive maneuvers.

Drivability9.0

The Q5 has a great balance of performance and drivability. Its seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic shifts quick and smoothly, and it feels well-tuned for the engine. And because of its relative compact size, it's easy to squeeze into small parking spots.

Comfort8.0

In every comfort metric, the Audi Q5 does well. It has a good balance of compliance and road-hugging reassurance. Like most of the cars in the class, it's easy to drive for many hours at a time with little to no fatigue.

Seat comfort8.0

The seats are firm but well-shaped for hours of comfortable touring. The leather upholstery breathes reasonably well, but on hot days, ventilated seats would be a nice addition. Problem is, it's only available on the top trim. The rear seats may lack a little thigh support for the average adult.

Ride comfort8.0

The Q5 feels sure-footed on the road without sacrificing ride quality. You feel most of the imperfections in the surface, but it's never transmitted into the cabin as a harsh jolt. This base suspension is so good, we question whether it's worth it to upgrade to the adaptive system.

Noise & vibration8.0

Road noise is muted to barely noticeable levels, and wind noise is essentially absent at highway speeds. The engine is also appropriately quiet, but it doesn't sound that great under hard acceleration.

Climate control8.0

Once the dual-zone automatic climate control is set, you rarely have to adjust it. It cools down a hot cabin quickly, and the vents disperse the airflow without any cold spots or gaps.

Interior8.5

Audi's interior design continues to impress us. The design is minimal and tidy, and the smart use of multipurpose switches and knobs reduces the clutter of buttons suffered by rivals. Materials quality is excellent regardless of trim level and contributes to the way it makes you feel special.

Ease of use9.0

The world would be a better place if all cars were as easy to operate as the Q5. Primary and secondary controls are placed right where you want, and even though there is an abundance of features, finding and using them is intuitive.

Getting in/getting out8.0

The door openings are tall in height and relatively short in terms of length. This makes getting in and out easy in tight parking spots, and the elevated ride height won't require any undue effort for shorter passengers.

Driving position8.0

The driver's seat has all the adjustments needed to accommodate occupants of varying heights and builds. The range of adjustments are also wide enough to allow taller drivers to find an optimal position.

Roominess9.0

Even though the Q5 isn't a big car, it feels big inside. In the front and back, headroom, shoulder room and hiproom are generous, and there's plenty of legroom for adults in the rear seats.

Visibility8.0

The roof pillars allow for decent outward visibility. The placement of the infotainment screen is excellent, right in the driver's line of sight. The same holds true for the easy-to-read virtual instrument panel. Rear visibility is good enough not to rely on the rearview camera.

Quality9.0

As with other Audi vehicles, the Q5 benefits from sturdy assembly and impeccable materials at all trim levels. The consistent weight and click of all switchgear stand as a great example of attention to detail. Everything about it screams premium.

Utility7.0

The Q5 will easily hold all of your items, whether it's cargo in the back or your personal effects up front. Cargo capacity is about average for the class and includes plenty of smart features to keep things in place. The rear seats don't fold flat with the cargo floor but are easy to push past.

Small-item storage7.0

The door pockets and the center armrest bin are adequately sized for personal items, and a handy narrow slot keeps your phone secure. The cupholders are placed in front of the armrest, which may impede use of the infotainment system.

Cargo space7.0

With 26.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and a maximum of 60.4 cubic feet, the Q5's capacity is typical for the class. There are plenty of hooks and nets to keep smaller objects in place, and a track-based anchor system handles bigger items. A power liftgate comes standard.

Child safety seat accommodation7.0

LATCH anchors are easily found and accessed behind clearly marked plastic covers.

Technology8.0

Not only does Audi have a lot of tech features built in, but the automaker makes them easy to use. The doubling up of functions for switches, buttons and knobs keeps the cabin from getting cluttered with controls. We were surprised the stability control was overly sensitive, unusual for an Audi.

Audio & navigation9.0

The MMI infotainment system remains one of the best in the industry thanks to a simple layout and intuitive menus. Controlling the audio via the steering wheel is pleasantly convenient, and it's easy to enter destinations for the navigation on the center console trace pad.

Smartphone integration8.0

With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included, you get the best smartphone integration implemented so far. These systems are more intuitive with a touchscreen than with the Q5's MMI dial controller, but shifting the dial allows for quick scrolling and selections.

Driver aids6.0

The Q5's stability control was unusually sensitive. If driven with vigor, the system will kick in very aggressively when cornering by activating the brakes at specific wheels. Most drivers will never corner with this kind of speed, but it could occur in emergency swerves.

Voice control8.0

Audi's MMI system accurately deciphers voice commands for standard functions, such as navigation and phone calls, but Apple CarPlay recognizes more natural speech and provides access to the audio system.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.